International freight forwarder Shifl announced Thursday it is releasing a fintech solution, shifl.capital, to enable the sending and receiving of instant and free digital payments.
Founder and CEO Shabsie Levy told FreightWaves that providing this service will help eliminate another obstacle that challenges global shipping, as many payment processes can take up to five days to be processed for freight to be released.
“Our industry revolves around payments,” said Levy. “Sometimes they get an ETA notification a month early and you end up paying early or you can have containers sitting for days waiting for a last-minute payment because the traditional banking process can take days to clear. … Combining our visibility technology with a sophisticated fintech product will allow companies to make their payments around real-time updates.”
Levy explained that while Shifl was working with its bank to build this product to streamline the company’s own payment processes, it quickly realized that with the proper integrations, the technology could be combined with its visibility solutions to modernize others’ supply chain operations.
This solution can then help avoid demurrage, storage or charge-back penalties that come with paying too late or cash flow issues from paying too early, he said.
“That’s what we ended up doing. A day later our programmers have already created a free API and now we are able to process these payments and allow this ability to any essentially any company out there instantly, with a five-minute sign-up process,” said Levy.
While some companies have credit facilities available to handle these payments, a large portion of the global supply chain does not have access to credit to make freight forwarding-related payments.
“There are a ton of forwarders out there that are handling agents that don’t have credit lines with freight forwarders and that has been a huge hassle for them. With our platform, fund transfers can happen instantly and they don’t have to worry about having credit to get shipments released,” Levy explained.
Currently, shifl.capital is in beta and is available to Shifl users, with the solution soon to become available to global supply chain stakeholders.
Levy also plans to add an instant release feature so as soon as payments are made, containers will immediately be released to customers.
“We are working on our instant release partnerships as we continue building shifl.capital and working on some interesting additional credit and financing options that usually come along with any finished financial technology product,” he said.