20/01/2004 - 21:00

Buyers line up for FreeCargo

20/01/2004 - 21:00

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PERTH-BASED company FreeCargo has crafted software developed by academics at the University of Amsterdam into an online freight ordering system that provides real benefits to its users and revenue to the company.

Buyers line up for FreeCargo

PERTH-BASED company FreeCargo has crafted software developed by academics at the University of Amsterdam into an online freight ordering system that provides real benefits to its users and revenue to the company.

After two years’ development, Free Cargo’s online freight system has been adopted by Optus and will be marketed in Australia as Optus Freight Management Service.

New Zealand’s transport association and Vodafone have also signed deals to market the program.

The company is now looking to sign deals with communications companies in South-East Asia, China and South Africa.

FreeCargo was formed to develop the commercial potential of a program brought to Australia by EiR chairman Hans Bertina.

He enlisted engineer and now FreeCargo managing director John Hulme to further the project’s development.

“It was a freight portal and this guy [at Amsterdam University] was giving out the information for free. But that’s why it worked,” said Mr Hulme, who set about devising an e-commerce solution to attract paying customers.

“I basically stripped it bare,” he said.

The result is FreeCargo, an e-commerce application.

“The web site [either on the FreeCargo site or a link on the user’s web site] allows their client to do online bookings, allows the transport company to receive it electronically and put it into the back office software. The information goes straight into the existing software so you have gotten rid of the phone calls, fax, and emails because the client keys in the information,” Mr Hulme said.

“We have linked the program into the transport company’s dispatch program. When they dispatch they send back information and they post it on the website.

“The delivery docket is on the website. It builds up a history that they and the client can look at.

“We’ve developed something that allows them to track and trace. I then extended the model so it can be used on PDAs and the information can get out to the drivers, and the drivers sent the information back.

“This is a communication module that doesn’t require fancy devices like radios. You can use SMS, touch screen PDAs and existing systems.”

He said the system was cost-effective for the majority of transport operators across the globe. An initial set-up fee is charged, followed by monthly website maintenance costs.

“This significantly reduces the transaction costs,” Mr Hulme said.

EiR is an investor in FreeCargo.

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