Founder and CEO Eric Beckwitt of Freightera joins the show to not only talk about his company but the bigger picture of how electrification in the freight industry will lower emissions. If you ever worked in logistics you know the process of organizing commercial shipping is finding the best rates (based on your required shipping schedule) and after multiple inquiries, choosing the best carrier… time consuming and expensive. If you are environmentally conscience you know transportation and specifically freight makes up a large percentage of global emissions. The issue becomes a network of carriers with high emissions trying to compete against each other but ending up with about 30% of their loads empty. In many ways it was only a matter of time before someone tackled both issues and through an online platform Freightera has in a big way!
Freightera describes themselves as the ‘Expedia of Freight” by providing an automated online B2B marketplace for commercial shippers providing instant all-inclusive freight rates from hundreds of carriers and 100% online booking. To give you an idea of the capacity their platform has over 7,000 manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and importers have signed up over 10,000 loads booked. This includes LTL (less than load) and FTL (full truck load) across North America and even the world.
It is no secret that rail is the most economic solution to shipping large amounts of freight but Freightera is taking it a step further by developing an online system that integrates rail with trucking so LTL loads are still taking advantage of trains and trucks are not required to travel over unnecessary distances. Woven through Freightera systems is priority given to low-emission freight options and technologies. However what makes booking through their online portal so interesting is not that Freightera gives priority based on the emission levels carries have but that companies closer to zero-emissions often simply are more competitive.
Like many of our guests money and business is not Eric’s only priority. He discusses moving his family because of his sons asthma and the impact it had on his view of air pollution. He tells of a childhood built around a love of birds that lead to him founding the Sierra Biodiversity Institute. At an even larger scale he talked about the need for peace to move transportation technology forward including a globally connected railway that already has the majority of its infrastructure developed but needs the full cooperation of Russia, USA, and Canada.
Perhaps more than anything (in some ways even more than the internet) transportation truly links together multiple industries, countries, and cultures. It gives us so much of what developed countries can take for granted and delivers what can shape developing countries around the world. Companies like DHL are already producing electric freight trucks such as their StreetScooter. Train systems are commonly becoming electric powered and companies like Freightera are ensuring engines that do produce emissions are being used more efficiently. Is it possible that we can grow our economy, develop countries that desperately need it, and even use transportation as a platform for peace between nations? That is a future no one can predict but with the influence of business being a key factor, saving them millions by utilizing low-emissions transportation (never mind the time savings) seems like it could be a great motivator.
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