There is no doubt that the transportation industry in the United States is in the midst of a digital revolution. From autonomous vehicles to electric trucks to blockchain technology, the industry is on the precipice of unprecedented change.
However, with all the exciting advances taking place here in the US it is easy to forget that not all parts of the world are up to the same level of technological advancement as we are here. If fact, many parts of the developing world still do not have the infrastructure to support reliable and productive transportation systems.
Now some industry participants in these less developed areas are attempting to use new technologies to bridge those gaps.
Companies like Heavyweight Group in South Africa are bringing advanced technologies into less developed markets in order to revolutionize transportation in their parts of the world. For the past 24 years Heavyweight has been South Africa’s largest transportation broker in the bulk commodities space. With its view from the top of the industry, the company recognized the need for digital migration across the logistics market in Africa, and therefore embarked on developing the continent’s first digital exchange which they are calling LoadX.
LoadX is what in the United States trucking industry would be called a load board. Heavyweight Group’s director, Neil Orleow, states that, “Through LoadX, we are educating the market on the benefits of digital migration from both an efficiency and a corporate governance viewpoint. The shippers using our exchange are international trading houses and mining groups, and have been systematic in assisting with our Africa wide growth plan.”
But the load board is only the first step for LoadX. The company has recently joined the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA) and hopes to help spread technologies like blockchain and other advances to Africa. According to Orleow, “The brokering market in Africa is a totally unregulated, opaque industry, and this has created an atmosphere of distrust between shippers, brokers, and transporters. We believe that creating an Africa wide industry standard, built on blockchain infrastructure, will go a long way towards alleviating this toxic atmosphere.”
Heavyweight Group, as well as other companies from around the world who are forward-looking and aim to stay in the forefront of their industries, see the importance of early adoption of game-changing technologies. “To maintain our position at the top, we need to be at the forefront of the evolution of logistics in Africa,” says Orleow. “Navigating the usual challenges of inefficiencies in a fragmented market in Africa comes with some uniquely African nuances. But it is a market we understand and have thrived in.”
Due to considerable international interest from companies like Heavyweight, BiTA has announced plans to expand to London and Singapore. The organization will be actively searching for offices and an employee base in both cities in 2018. International expansion will allow companies around the world better access to blockchain technology and will enable those who choose to participate in new technologies better access to mature markets.
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