Martin Lew, Founder, and CEO
Full steam ahead. As 2022 revs up, Commtrex maintains a focus on Simplifying Freight by Rail.
Traditionally, rail shippers have heavily depended upon off line methods to gauge overall viability or perform the successful execution of a new commercial opportunity. Relying upon phone calls and emails as a main form of communication, rail shippers have painstakingly moved from one provider to the next in an attempt to procure the assets and services needed to finalize a deal.
Martin Lew founded Commtrex to create one centralized network capable of seamlessly connecting rail shippers to suitable rail service providers. The platform allows shippers to quickly connect to transload operators, storage facilities, lessors, and a wide range of additional service providers. Initially, the company provided a technology platform solely as a self-serve business. But recently, the firm has integrated a full-service model and created a new rail logistics component that now provides end-to-end rail shipment management services and advanced data and analytics offerings. “Moving freight by rail can be one of the most effective and economical modes of transportation. However, managing the lifecycle of a rail shipment can be complicated, and doing it well requires a considerable amount of time, expertise, and technology,” said Lew.
Commtrex encompasses six components consisting of four unique railcar marketplaces (transload, lease, buy/sell, and storage), a comprehensive rail resources section, and a supplemental rail services directory. The company’s platform hosts more than 800 shippers and 1600 transloaders across the US, Canada, and Mexico. As trucking costs continue to skyrocket and reliability waivers, Commtrex has proven to be the number one go-to firm poised to provide customers with rail-centric transloading alternatives that are both environmentally friendly and lower in overall cost.
Historically, the rail logistics component of shipping was carried out in-house but the market has witnessed a shift toward outsourcing the rail components.
Seeing opportunity, Commtrex now initiates assistance with procuring rail cars, finding transloading services, or locating warehouses as a part of its service offerings. As part of the onboarding process, Commtrex educates shippers on the different components of moving freight by rail.
For instance, a shipper who traditionally had not moved any freight by rail approached Commtrex when they could not find the trucking capacity to move their load. The client had never contracted a railroad, transloader, or warehouse, and needed to move the product within three weeks. Commtrex created a strategic plan for moving the load on railroads with short notice by researching and securing rail rates and routing, identifying a transload facility within close proximity to the client’s location, and coordinating the freight move from origin to destination. Commtrex’s logistics team ended up achieving about 15-18 percent savings for the client while ensuring flexibility and reliability.
Commtrex’s primary distinction is that they provide the largest database of rail-served supply side companies, including transloaders, warehouses, terminals, ports, short line railroads, and many others. “We have everything in our system and a shipper can connect directly with these providers through our platform,” states Lew.
Shippers fill out a simple form based on their transload request, and the software algorithm matches them with transloaders, warehouses, or terminal ports. Commtrex has significantly shortened the time it takes for shippers to connect with any provider they need. Moreover, the Commtrex customer service team provides direct visibility to overall operations acting as an extension of the shipper’s logistics team and as the primary point of contact for all entities involved in the end-to-end rail logistics.
Forging ahead, Commtrex is focused on developing new tools for shippers to manage their freight movement more efficiently. They are working on both a delivered cost calculator and a carbon footprint calculator so that shippers can analyze the prices and carbon footprint for their moving requirements on the platform itself. The company will further enhance warehousing options on their website to provide increased visibility into available product storage capacity.
They are also developing tools that will allow for shippers to access containers needed for intermodal movements. In addition, Commtrex is continually focused on adding educational materials and new training videos so that both new and experienced shippers can leverage the content and learn more about the rail industry. As rail continues to grow its footprint as the most sustainable and cost-effective mode of transportation, Commtrex has positioned itself as the go-to-platform for rail shippers to facilitate and manage their rail movements across North America.