In the last few years and since the COVID-19 pandemic, companies within the trucking industry found themselves pivoting and, in some cases, scrambling to combat challenges in staffing, management and delivery.
While some companies are embracing the pivot, others are still using more traditional methods of conducting business and remaining isolated within their own silos. This has created a highly fragmented logistics industry.
Amid these fragments and silos, Singapore-based Haulio is looking to transform the industry through innovative digital solutions that connect the industry, specifically in Southeast Asia.
Haulio is a digital hauler that provides a platform to connect shippers, freight forwarders and logistics companies to a community of container haulers in order to move their freight smoothly and seamlessly on land. Alvin Ea and Sebastian Shen founded Haulio in 2017 after seeing the potential of using technology to transform and power the highly fragmented container haulage ecosystem.
Backed by major investors such as PSA unboXed, Heliconia, ComfortDelGro and 500 Startups, Haulio is Singapore’s largest and Southeast Asia’s fastest growing container haulage platform. The company is expanding beyond Singapore to Thailand and Indonesia and plans to move into the rest of Southeast Asia in the near future with the goal to connect global trade to local first-mile transportation.
“We strongly believe in uplifting the industry by empowering our ecosystem of users — be it customers or haulers— with our technology,” Ea said. “Through the optimization of resources, Haulio aims to revolutionize international freight logistics toward a collaborative and sustainable future.”
Haulio is the leading first-mile player in container logistics and, according to both Ea and Shen, one of the few digital trucking platforms connected to port and customer solutions in Southeast Asia and sports the largest network coverage of over 10,000 haulers across the region.
“With our unique advantage and strength in this container haulage space, we aim to standardize first-mile container logistics in the various hyper-localized setting that is unique to the [Southeast Asia] region and set world-class standards that are currently lacking though technology,” Shen said. “Haulio’s value proposition also lies in our end-to-end customized managed service, achieving fulfillment promise to customers and committing to haulers’ growth in a reliable, efficient and cost-competitive manner.”
According to Ea, 80% of the world’s goods are moved by containers and more than 80% of haulers own less than 10 trucks. Haulio’s goal is to simplify and streamline processes while increasing haulers’ opportunities through technology.
“There is a need for the industry to consolidate resources and have more efficient management of jobs and asset allocations,” he said.
Haulio’s digital solutions address supply chain unpredictability and uncertainties that cause order fulfillment gaps and stress on the first mile logistics sector.
For container trucking companies, Haulio helps haulers work more efficiently by improving productivity, providing scale that helps increase revenue and lower costs, and streamlining management of business operations. Its Haulio Connectivity System (HCS) helps trucking operations easily schedule jobs, track their fleet and drivers, and chat with their drivers all in one platform seamlessly.
It also betters cash flows through the Haulio Payments Portal (HPP) — an integrated e-billing and payments platform that complements haulers’ operations that improves visibility of the various job and payment statuses that makes billing and cash flow management easy for them.
Haulio also aggregates first-mile logistics demands and intelligently fulfills them with its supply of digitally empowered haulers through its Haulage Operations Platform (HOP).
Ea said Haulio helps drive stability, reliability and predictability for its customers — businesses, procurers, shippers and logistics companies — by providing visibility and control over their supply chain to better manage and predict the peaks and troughs of those demands. This also enables a company to make wise and data-supported business decisions about asset management at any juncture.
Haulio also assists shippers by taking away the tedious task of truck management so they can focus on growing their business and increasing profits.
One of Haulio’s long-term goals is having no empty miles in the near future. According to Ea, many assets are underutilized since roughly 50% of hauls are empty trips.
“With visible information, a platform like Haulio can manage these movements,” Ea said. “Besides the Haulio platform, we have built to aggregate both demand and supply and efficiently balance and manage these movements in such a way that every container truck will be optimized on the road. We are working with relevant agencies and parties in Singapore to make the zero empty miles vision more visible. Achieving zero empty miles will help the industry and nation to be greener as it progresses toward the 2030 green plan.
“With better managed haulage, there’s easier trade movements, and when that happens, that helps Singapore to continue securing its competitiveness as a world-class global logistics hub,” Shen added.
Both Shen and Ea agree that another long-term goal is for haulage in Southeast Asia to be fully digital, electric, autonomous and connected — and the hope is for it to be powered by Haulio.
“We hope that by then, all containers moving in and out of the entire [region] will also be transacted and moved via the Haulio platform,” Shen said. “And Haulio will be the largest digital container hauler in [Southeast Asia], where we can fulfill any container in and out anytime, anywhere and reliably for anyone.”
Given that most of Southeast Asia’s container logistics is still very much operated using paper and cash, Haulio has further ambition to transform all nodes of this ecosystem from offline to online. An example would be to integrate gate terminal and container depot systems with future solutions such as digital passes and cashless payments across the region.
Shen and Ea also acknowledge that not every emerging technology is relevant for all businesses.
“It is important to adopt technologies that are not only right and relevant for the business but that are more forward-looking, such as ESG [environmental, social and governance] enablers that lean toward helping climate issues — optimizing operations, yet supports going green,” Ea said. “Haulio is not only relevant but prioritizes climate issues.”