Flexport comes to Germany: What will be the industry’s response?
Robert Sieg

There has always been competition in business. As a result of globalised markets, competition became less limited to regional scope. Since the internet has entered the game we find accelerated communication, commoditised information, and fewer gatekeepers. The importance of accessibility and price of goods has grown. Nevertheless, what matters in every competitive landscape is an impeccable service or product that continues to deliver value to customers and a strong brand that goes with it.

But what happens when you find yourself competing with an opponent that has grown three-fold year over year since its foundation, opened 7 offices globally in 4 years, and aims to establish a 100-men strong team in your area in the next 36 months? What do you do when the competition is backed by over $100 million dollars in funding and operates on technology programs across the supply chain that they have built themselves?

Flexport, the older US brother of FreightHub, has now announced to open their first office in the DACH region. The “Digital ones” are making their move in 2018. Whereas European logistics has made plenty of acquisitions, new freight networks and asset investments, the response from the market on a digital dimension has fallen short.

Yet, without a strategy for digital transformation the growing online segment is simply left to the ones that weren’t complacent but innovated early enough – not the ones that had the best brand reputation and quality of logistical service. There has to be a comeback from the establishment!

This response should not be one that attempts to follow the tech start-ups. No 100% IT-driven organisation wins the race of digitalisation. Instead it must be a response that is driven by decades of experience, by strong ties to global agent networks, and – most importantly – by knowing your customer best. The answer to the wave of digital transformation is an authentic one. The local forwarding expert can have a better solution for his customers than anyone else and so can the medium-sized warehouse specialist for his respective clientele. Each player has to respond in his own way and scrutinise how he can bring his expertise and his network to the web.

Why does everyone have to do that? Because in the long run, price wars in a platform and transparency-driven internet age are inevitable and brands have to be strong to withstand it.

Shaping the future of logistics by understanding it.