Freight industries across the world share a lot of characteristics with each other that wouldn’t be out of place in the U.S. For instance, trucking industries are usually very fragmented, and the market dominated by small fleets, owning fewer than six trucks in total. The industry also suffers from the lack of widespread technology penetration, with certain market players resisting change.
The situation in Turkey mirrors the problems of the U.S. market to some extent, and thus, the possibilities are equally as sound. TIRPORT, a startup from Istanbul, understands the market potential and believes it can bring change to a system that urgently needs a revamp to stay ahead of times.
“TIRPORT provides booking and matching services for freight owners and carriers on a real-time and location-based digital platform,” says Burak Çağlar, the business development specialist at TIRPORT. “Other than the platform, we also allow companies to perform instant monitorization, management, and reporting during the logistics shipment process.”
In Turkey, 92% of all the logistics operations are through road freight, with two thousand logistics firms and 900,000 trucks involved in hauling shipments every day. “9 out of 10 trucks in here belong to individuals. This makes it hard for them to find returning loads with a lot of them returning with an empty truck. We wanted to solve this problem first,” says Alemdar Kadioglu, the business development manager at the company.
“With TIRPORT, they can easily find return loads even before they deliver their initial loads in the said city.”
Apart from being a mainstream digital freight marketplace, TIRPORT helps companies with tracking shipments between loading and unloading points. Also, the startup noticed that a lot of firms and truckers had the problem of losing vital shipment documents which were integral to transactions. Since the industry still works conventionally, losing such documents could have disastrous consequences.
“We once had a trucker who had lost his invoice. And in Turkey, if someone loses his proof of delivery, he would not get paid,” says Ersin Demircioglu, key account manager at TIRPORT. “But on our platform, we have the option to click a photo of the invoice and upload it for easy reference. Since the trucker was using our platform and had uploaded an image of the invoice, he used it to get paid.”
TIRPORT is a startup which had done its due diligence with market validation and in product development before launching publicly. “We are the first of our kind in the Turkish market. Though there are a couple of digital platforms like us, they are primarily logistics companies and don’t offer ERP services as we do,” adds Kadioglu.
Though the startup started out by being a digital freight marketplace, it soon realized that the logistics companies also struggle with finding ERP solutions that suit their needs. “Larger companies could use SAP or Oracle, but the smaller firms can’t since these softwares are not flexible. But we always could develop something based on what the companies needed, thus making our solution more attractive,” notes Kadioglu.
Concerning the trucking industry demographics, Kadioglu sees a divide in perception. “The logistics companies in Turkey are largely old-school. The younger generation is excited about the internet, web services, and applications but the older managers are averse to new platforms and are used to the traditional way of calling up truckers,” says Kadioglu.
“This is our hardest challenge. We try educating them that the future lies in the digital world and that there are startups like us all around the world which are working on improving the freight industry through technology.”
TIRPORT now works with nearly 30 firms and around a thousand truckers at the moment but is in a robust scaling up phase. “We have 1.5 million truckers in Turkey, and we aim to get all of them into our system,” concludes Kadioglu.
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