Sean O'Malley, CEO
Digitalization is an ongoing process that’s proving consequential in nearly every industry, and freight is no different. With the advent of modern technologies, carriers and shippers are drastically improving how products are transported around the world. However, when it comes to ocean freight shipping, not all carriers have been able to successfully embrace the digitalization trend. Leading carriers like Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd, have been able to embark on a technology-driven path by offering e-booking along with integrated trade services, such as financing, insurance, customs management, and tracking to shippers. This is due in part to the capital they have invested in adding the right technology solutions. However, many smaller carriers are trailing behind the digitalization curve due to the lack of resources in the ocean freight market.
Data shows that over the last 20 years, the average return on invested capital for carriers has been 2.6 percent. With such thin profit margins, it has become incredibly challenging for carriers to digitalize their business with limited options and improve overall service to shippers. This is where companies like BlueX make a difference.
The Link between Shippers, Carriers, and Trade Service Providers
Driven by a mission to revolutionize shipping with modern FreighTech, BlueX allows carriers to offer e-booking along with integrated trade services to shippers in a more robust, holistic way with advanced technology at the helm. Through its carrier-based services, BlueX is empowering shippers and freight forwarders with digital services to gain a competitive edge in the market. Sean O’Malley, CEO of BlueX, explains, “Carriers are being driven to differentiate through digitalization as shippers demand more transparency and reliability from their freight partners. BlueX enables carriers to offer a streamlined, world-class digital booking service along with an exclusive network of trade services. We are equipping carriers to better serve shippers of all sizes.”
Expanding on the company’s mission, Vivian Chiang, COO of BlueX, shares, “If we look at the travel industry, it has transformed digitally to connect customers directly with airlines, hotels, and other travel services through the latest technology that creates more efficient and fast booking. In ocean shipping, we are doing something very similar to allow carriers to digitally connect with shippers along with providing integrated services as a value-add.” When booking travel online, consumers have the ability to find and book a hotel while also paying for a rental car or breakfast during their stay—all through an integrated experience. Similarly, BlueX brings connected valued-added services to the table to allow carriers to provide shippers with everything they need, be it insurance, customs, tracking, and warehousing.
Vivian Chiang, COO
BlueX is an asset-light technology platform, which means a substantial amount of capital is not necessary to implement it and move toward a digitized business model. Carriers that do not have the capacity or balance sheet to deploy an asset-heavy solution, can lean on the expertise and digital platform of BlueX. The white-label SaaS platform offered by BlueX allows carriers to monetize containers quickly and efficiently.
With e-booking and the trade service marketplace combined, carriers can move beyond offering just freight as a service
Additionally, BlueX’s best-in-class trade services marketplace brings more value to shippers. Consider a shipping container traveling from Shanghai to Long Beach, California. The shipper will need to work with multiple vendors (i.e. insurance, trucking, customs) to move the goods. It’s a paper-intensive and timeconsuming process. All of the vendors require much of the same information that is captured during the carrier booking process. BlueX’s open freight marketplace allows carriers to provide these integrated services directly to shippers to help create more efficiency and transparency in the process. O’Malley expands, “With e-booking and the trade services combined, carriers can move beyond offering just freight as a service. This solution creates additional revenue sources for carriers without having to invest heavily in digitalization.”
"We recognize that many carriers do not have digitalization in their playbook. Their expertise is in shipping, so we fill in that gap without a significant investment of capital"
The company has built relationships with prominent partners in the industry, as well as coordinated the integration of added services and digitalization to create a visible workf low for the shippers through a digital website. O’Malley states, “We are the only player in the industry that provides a carrier-based Open Freight Marketplace. BlueX is a first-mover in this space because of our significant industry relationships and deep knowledge of carriers’ needs.”
A Rich Source of Knowledge and Expertise
BlueX is able to offer such valuable, asset-light solutions to carriers around the world because of its understanding of the freight market as a whole. Vivian shares, “We recognize that many carriers do not have digitalization in their playbook. Their expertise is in shipping, so we fill in that gap without a significant investment of capital.” BlueX has been able to deliver its leading-edge solution based on rich experience across its leadership team. Not only do executives at the company have extensive experience in building brands, and software products successfully, but freight expertise is also a significant part of the mix. A co-founder of BlueX, Lance Lin has a background of more than 20 years in freight forwarding and shipping, and that knowledge combined with technology expertise lays the foundation for success in connecting carriers and shippers in a digital way.
With each carrier working with the white label solution for e-booking from BlueX, the company’s team spends substantial time with the carriers to determine what it will take to move toward a fully digitized business. For shippers, BlueX is concerned with what will make their lives easier across the board. Vivian shares an example, stating, “The average ocean shipment booking takes almost 12 to 48 hours, with eight phone calls, hundreds of pages of paperwork, and several e-mails back and forth.” BlueX is helping to drastically shorten this time frame, down to three minutes in many cases, to help monetize freight quicker and more efficiently. The company is constantly working on new developments to improve its services for carriers and shippers, from adding templates to creating solutions for tracking containers effectively.
BlueX has the ability to solve each of these real-world carrier and shipper problems by attracting world-class partners in the trade services network. With a substantial volume of shipping on the company’s side, thanks to partnerships with top carriers that comprise 7 to 10 percent of all ocean trade, BlueX’s customers can partake in the next generation of services to embrace an integrated business model. With headquarters in Taipei City, the company is strategically located in close proximity to Asian carriers, which is a core advantage to customers around the world. The team at BlueX has a strong pipeline of additional carriers on the platform that will be launched in the near future, as well as new and expanding freight services to be added to the open freight marketplace in the upcoming months. O’Malley expects that by integrating more partners into the trade services network, carriers can receive the help they need to monetize containers quickly without the need to invest in an asset-heavy digitalization solution.