Transpost addressing market with unique services for customs brokers, SME freight forwarders
Transpost is a digital platform managed by Nebiar Technologies and Solutions, specifically made to be an operating system for licensed customs brokers & small & medium freight forwarders. Transpost is co-founded by Neelam Choudhary and Satyaue Paul. Neelam Choudhary in conversation with Jyothi Shankaran.
February 1, 2022: Transpost is a digital platform managed by Nebiar Technologies and Solutions, specifically made to be an operating system for licensed customs brokers & small & medium freight forwarders. Transpost is co-founded by Neelam Choudhary and Satyaue Paul. Neelam Choudhary in conversation with Jyothi Shankaran. Edited excerpts:
How does it work?
What, according to you, are the market gaps Transpost is addressing through its services?
The idea of Transpost was born to address the key pain points of customs brokers and SME forwarders as a part of our digital journey. Small forwarders & custom brokers are unable to scale up businesses due to lack of adequate resources, broken/ manual processes, lack of revolving credit & very high cost of technology. SME forwarders and customs brokers also struggle to get the right attention from the shipping lines as they are highly fragmented.
Transpost addresses these key issues through its products, which includes technology-driven rate procurement & booking management service, cargo insurance and trade & freight finance for its members.
Being a technology platform, we have no boundaries or limitations - currently our services can be availed by our members at a pan-India level.
With tech as the differentiator, what are the disruptions you intend to create in the marketplace?
There are a lot of tech players in the platform space that address pain areas of shippers/ large enterprises but there are only very few or none for customs brokers & small forwarders. Transpost, being the neutral body, has created the interest among the relevant target audience in their products and services.
The Transpost platform essentially functions as a managed service and not a pure self-service technology option as small 3PLs tend to lack the ability to fully utilise logistics enablement systems.
Our core differentiating factor is the perfect blend of technology & human touch. Our on-boarding team works closely with our member offices to onboard them on our platform and ensure our customers are able to take advantage of each & every feature on our platform. Some of these onboardings go on for weeks to ensure smooth adoption. Our ability to work with a focused target audience, bring the technology to the doorstep of our customer and handhold in the change management process makes us unique from other technology platforms.
What is your addressable market? Growth potential?
Logistics has gone through a sea change in the past 24 months in adoption of digital technologies and applications. India is an export market of 8 million TEUS, which carries exports worth $200 billion. This industry sits at the bottom in digital innovation which opens up a big canvas of opportunities for start-ups in the sector.
Shipping lines have recently made new inroads in offering digital options to their customers, which paves way for cargo aggregators to also benefit from these moves. The market today is basically working on analogous process applications without end-to-end visibility. The SME segment is undeserved by service providers such as shipping lines, banks and insurance companies, which therefore opens up opportunities for disruption of the existing scenario.
In addition to this, there is also lack of transparency on cost of logistics and information on the shipment of cargo. India’s market is poised for sustained growth with the government focused on export-led economy and the Make-In India initiative.
You also talk about trade finance for your customers' clients? What are the products proposed by Transpost?
Trade finance is a shipper-based product where we act as a sales channel for established trade finance companies. These are new age fintech companies which offer a variety of products such as non-recourse loans to exporters selling to buyers in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and the Asia Pacific. Based on the eligibility criteria, exporters can avail credit facility to not just fulfil more buyer orders but also pay for inventory, raw materials, employees or other short-term needs.
With freight rates skyrocketing and no relief in sight, do you think freight financing is going to be your revenue driver for the next couple of years?
The idea of freight finance emerged from the need expressed by freight forwarders as their growth was being curtailed due to lack of funding. We are still in the POC stage and working on risk analysis for providing such a credit facility.
Why do you feel cargo insurance can be your key differentiator? Are insurance tie-ups in place?
Our core product is booking management; however all our ancillary products are independent of each other. Cargo insurance is not a key differentiator but an add-on service to provide ease of doing business. It adds to the bouquet of services we want to offer to our clients when they come on our platform.
Are you charging a fee from CHAs/SME forwarders for registration? Is there an annual fee for renewal?
Our members may not want to invest in high-cost technology but are extremely open to renting the technology on usage level. The role of our logistic platform is to create visibility & transparency for our members and simplify their logistic needs. There is no cost involved for our members for using the platform but there is a booking management fee for the cargo booked through our platform (only for materialised bookings).
Is Transpost limited to India? What are the expansion plans?
Being a technology platform, we have no boundaries or limitations. Currently our services can be availed by our members across India. We had a good start in 2021, and our expansion plan is to grow the customer base exponentially in India and internationally.
Our current focus involves FCL ocean exports, which is currently offered to our international customers as well. Our ambition is to extend our footprints to LCL/imports/air in the mediumto- long term both in the domestic & International market.
We will continue to explore technology-based products to be offered by Transpost. This will be implemented based on market trends and needs of our customers in the next phase of our journey.
This interview was originally published in Indian Transport & Logistics News' January - February 2022 issue.