Uber for the oceans

Flexport
21 September 2015

A new industry first in freight shipping is gaining popularity. With rising anticipation of a global emissions tax, land and air-based freight operations could be hit with increased operating costs in the coming years. A startup is changing the future of shipping by removing hassle and improving its connectivity to customers to drum up more business in future.

Flexport describes itself as the world’s first licensed customs brokerage built around an app – and its mission is to change the process of freight transport for importers in the way that Uber has revolutionised road transport. Software provides customers with information about tariffs, customs, and other logistics to allow for comparison between variables, such as port location, shipping dates, container vessel type and cost between different transport businesses. In digitising the ordering process, it allows informed and resourceful international shipping choices, reduces paperwork and research effort, and connects several transport companies directly with customers – much like a price-comparison website.

In modernising the shipping market system, it may become a preferred method of freight transport, as compared to airplane, train or road freight. A shift in transport type may alleviate build-up of greenhouse gases, as lorry freight can produce six times more CO2 than shipping. Air freight is 40 times less carbon-efficient than sea.

Adapted from a piece by Gillian Phair for the Futures Centre.

Submitted by

Lisa Goldapple, Editor, Atlas of the Future

Project leader

Ryan Petersen, Chief Executive Officer

Location

USA (San Francisco)

Creative Commons License

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