CargoTech: 2023 transformation, growth & highlights

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CargoTech reflects on a year of digital changes in 2023, both within the group as well as the air cargo industry.

“Success happens with change,” says Cédric Millet, President of CargoTech. “CargoTech is a one-stop-shop offering the best possible digital solutions for every air cargo business process. The aim of our products and services is to increase efficiency, improve revenues, or decrease costs, and generally to accelerate the digital transformation within the cargo industry. For that, we bring together cargo business and technology experts so that our digital solutions are created by air cargo knowledgeable people for the airfreight industry. Our drive for innovation is endless, and looking back at 2023, CargoTech had many successes and proved the relevance of its model.

A difficult environment

Coming out of the pandemic in 2023, the subsequent swift return to more normal passenger operations has resulted in overcapacity on many routes. The air cargo industry has been going through difficult times: geopolitical upheaval, high inflation, and rapidly sinking rates have put pressure on the financial results. At the same time, the industry is at varying stages of technological maturity and customers are increasingly looking for solutions to decrease costs and increase revenues. That’s precisely where CargoTech comes into play.

Positive digital development

Though facing tough economic climes, the year has also seen much positive movement. “Customers have been increasingly interested in our solutions, as the desire to make better commercial decisions is relevant in every market circumstance.” Ryan Keyrouse, Managing Director of Rotate explains. Even though the Air Cargo market was challenging in 2023; it did not seem to impact the adoption of innovative solutions. Nathanaël de Tarade, CEO of Wiremind Cargo confesses that “we got an increasing number of inquiries about our products, and our customers are more and more knowledgeable on what they want, what can be achieved, and are helping to push the boundaries of what can be done”.

A fifth member joins CargoTech

Having begun the year with four members: Cargo Digital Factory, Wiremind Cargo, CargoAi, and Rotate, 2023 saw a fifth member enter the fold: With the addition of CharterSync, CargoTech extended its capabilities to include the air cargo charter expertise.

“Digitalization within the air cargo charter segment has largely been unexplored to date. It lags behind scheduled air cargo capacity processes, and operations are still highly manual. The addition of CharterSync as the group’s fifth member, offers forwarders and airlines a unique opportunity to bring enhanced value and efficiency to their charter process” say Ed Gillet & Simon Watson, Co-Founders of CharterSync.

Internal collaboration and joint marketing initiatives

“CargoTech fosters collaboration between its member companies on 3 levels: commercial, technical and strategic. We have already been successful in collaborating on commercial strategies, but we want to do more on the technical side where we are working on integration opportunities between some of the solutions that each CargoTech company offers, to optimally leverage the benefits from our CargoTech ecosystem,” Cedric Millet, President of CargoTech illustrates.

In addition to internal collaboration, the CargoTech members also presented a united front during 2023’s cargo events. All members of CargoTech co-located in CargoTech booths at the Air Cargo Europe in Munich in the summer, and more recently, at the first Air Cargo Southeast Asia in Singapore. Cross-sales activities are also becoming common practices, whereby customers of one of the companies can also become customers of other member companies. CargoTech was also nominated for the first time as a group entity for an air cargo industry award, earlier this year. Cédric Millet, President of CargoTech: “From a marketing point of view, 2023 has been an intense year as we work to establish a solid and recognised Brand in the industry.”

Bridging digital gaps

The air cargo industry and its customers are evolving in their digital capabilities and processes, and these uncover digital gaps as well as new ideas and opportunities. One area long in need of a secure, efficient, and user-friendly solution, is the area of digital payment. CargoAi’s CargoWALLET product, launched early on in the year, is the industry’s first comprehensive solution to not only enable swift, unbureaucratic booking payments online, but also addresses other obstacles faced by air cargo customers not previously in possession of an IATA CASS Number, AWB stock, or bank guarantee.

Similarly, Wiremind Cargo launched a Revenue Optimization suite (CargoStack Optimiser) which quickly secured it a multiyear contract with Qatar Airways Cargo, its launch customer.

Establishing a broader industry presence

Rotate’s focus in 2023 was to establish itself in the industry. Co-development projects with Etihad Cargo and Cathay Cargo were significant milestones and served as proof of concept on how to build complex solutions for better commercial decision-making. Rotate also recently launched a Live Capacity product and launched its strategy consulting practice focused on air cargo.

Though new to CargoTech, CharterSync celebrated four years of air cargo charter innovation at ‘Air Cargo Europe’ earlier this year, and became the first air cargo charter company worldwide to offer a fully integrated digital end-to-end booking process and management system for freight forwarders. Its rapid evolution from start-up to an established player in the global charter market, gained it an accolade as one of Britain’s fastest-growing private companies in The Sunday Times 100 for 2023.

What is the outlook for 2024?

The first emerging trend technology wise that comes to mind is the usage of LLMs (large language models), to bridge the gap between what you could call the world of emails and the world of digital solutions. LLMs can help boost the adoption of new solutions by reducing the time spent on filling in data that has already been filled by someone else.

And of course, 2024 will also witness the consolidation of solutions providing more visibility, driven by all sides of the industry, including forwarders, shippers or other technology providers. Thanks to the CargoCONNECT product by CargoAI we believe we are well positioned” say Matt Petot, CEO of CargoAi.

Coordination, collaboration and CargoTech success

For CargoTech’s members, it will be another year of close collaboration to maximise on each other’s expertise and build on synergies between the many different solutions on offer. CharterSync Co-founder, Ed Gilllett explains: “The ability to leverage benefits from the CargoTech ecosystem opens up some significant and unique opportunities to add value to the service, functionality and data available across the companies.”

Cédric Millet, President of CargoTech, summarises the group’s new chapter “For CargoTech, 2023 was the year of the coordination. 2024 will be the year for the synergies: commercial, technical, products. And of course, it will be another year of innovation, but that goes without saying,” he predicts.

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