Who is the next big thing? BVL showcases logistics newcomers

In the logistics sector, digitalization has unleashed a lot of new energy, tapping into potential and generating ideas for business. At the 2017 transport logistic trade fair, Germany’s federal logistics association BVL (Bundesvereinigung Logistik) provided young start-up companies in the logistics field with a showcase for demonstrating their digital business ideas. The selected newcomers presented their activities in the form of a “musical show pitch” on May 11, 2017.

We decided to take a closer look at three of the firms which drew considerable attention at this Logistics Start-Ups’ Early Noon Show, and we have identified several hot digital trends that all focus on the intelligent simplification of logistics services.

Picking and packing as a niche activity

Each start-up had just five minutes to describe itself and its ideas. They were then ranked by a jury and the public. © Bundesvereinigung Logistik

Each start-up had just five minutes to describe itself and its ideas. They were then ranked by a jury and the public. © Bundesvereinigung Logistik
Byrd describes itself as a “deliveries assistant”, an accurate assessment. As yet, this service provider is only active in Berlin and Vienna. A courier collects the item earmarked for sending at the door and brings it to a Byrd base for packaging. The delivery service that represents the most economical option for this particular item is selected, and the parcel starts it journey. For private customers, the Byrd app is the means of communication – they use it to order a courier and track the delivery process. Returned items, today present in large numbers, are the main target business.

However, there is also a version for business customers connected to different shop systems. It is possible to have flexible collection times at 30-minute intervals between 8am and 6pm Monday-Friday. Here again, Byrd will take charge of the picking and packing process, and customers can select bespoke parcel branding options. If an item has to cross a customs border, Byrd will even take care of the necessary formalities. The target group among business customers? Small online shops and all online retailers for whom outsourcing the entire packaging and delivery process makes economic sense.

Digital ocean freight route planner

For the average layperson, the prospect of planning deliveries by ship is like crossing the ocean without a compass. What is the best route? What will transportation cost? How long will the freight be in transit? Aquaplot Explorer is an internet-based application for desktops and cellphones that takes care of these questions. The route planner does not use a network of pre-defined nodes or ports – instead, it lets users select their own points of interest for the trajectory. This map also takes account of special shipping zone such as ECAs.

The makers are current developing addition features, such as estimating the expected time of arrival and the travel costs, both of which are based on past weather data. The developers also plan to make greater use of data derived from regulatory maps such as marine protected areas.

Retail platform for transportation equipment

The need to physically return transportation equipment such as containers and pallets allows for little flexibility and is often impractical. Online platform Swoplo wants to fix these problems. Its underlying idea: People can use the service to trade transportation equipment. Its advantages include the option of transferring money between accounts and having Swoplo generate automatic transfer suggestions. An option for scanning your vicinity helps users identify suitable offers and searches for equipment. This does away with the need to return these items one-to-one, so to speak, and it substantially reduces the time and effort entailed in this physical return process. Loading points no longer have to cope with unnecessary loading and unloading activities, while the equipment “debtors” and “creditors” of can avoid unnecessary transportation costs.

“#Start-ups at the @transport_messe: New ideas stimulate the logistics sector. @BVL_office“

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Start-ups are continuing to make advances in the logistics sector thanks to their innovative ideas. These innovations also offer potential for established companies such as DB Schenker. The firm’s Vertical Start-up Initiative shows that it has recognized how beneficial this development can be.