This year has been a difficult one for the freight industry, with North America’s largest brokerage C.H. Robinson experiencing a 62% decline in earnings per share, 94-year-old Yellow Freight ceasing operations, and Convoy shutting down despite raising over $1 billion in venture capital funding.
Some have labelled worldwide stagnancy across the sector a “global freight recession” that may continue through next year.
Based in Vancouver, transportation innovator Freightera is injecting new energy into Canada’s struggling freight industry.
“We have a similar mission of digitizing freight, but a very different approach than Convoy,” explains Freightera cofounder Eric Beckwitt.
Freightera provides an online platform to access and book shipping services with competitive pricing from a broad network of national and local trucking and rail companies, specializing in domestic Canadian and cross-border shipments.
With Freightera, trucking companies set their own rates, “and small to mid-sized businesses use our large inventory of fixed-cost rates to find the best price, and lowest emission option, for each unique shipping destination,” says Beckwitt, who serves as chief executive of the BC-born startup.
“We have a win-win model,” the CEO believes.
This is reflected in the firm’s financials: Freightera’s core digital division recently posted a quarterly profit growth of 140% year-over-year—a marked contrast to some industry rivals.
“We also have a unique approach to improving air quality and reducing CO2 emissions,” Beckwitt continued. “We label each carrier with its net emissions reduction versus fleet averages and let each shipper decide what is important to them.”
Because fuel cost is a major component of freight rates, and lower fuel consumption is associated with lower emissions, the lowest cost carrier is often also a lower-emission option, the executive noted.
“Selecting mostly based on price, over 130 firms reduced net CO2e emissions 50% [or more] in the most recent year tracked just by using Freightera,” Beckwitt said.
As of today, more than 22,000 manufacturers, importers, exporters, wholesalers, and retailers throughout Canada and the US use Freightera.
The Vancouver company was British Columbia’s third fastest-growing firm in 2019, according to Business in Vancouver, and among the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Award in 2020, 2021, and 2022.