Russian transport provider Autotechnoimport is in the final stages of testing an information sharing service for car carriers that is designed to reduce lead times and empty mileage as well as maximise loads, helping transport providers achieve better cost efficiency at a time when rates are low and capacity is tight. The online service, called Carex, also aims to provide better control of subcontractors.

Speaking at the recent Automotive Logistics Russia conference held in Moscow, Artem Bakhrakh, key account manager at Autotechnoimport, acknowledged that rates offered by OEMs for transport services were a headache for LSPs.

“When we have cars in various cities without the ability for full loading then costs increase,” he said. “People then try and find remaining cargo to forward and use up the space and fulfil the lead times. However, there is a problem because companies do not use the most efficient means of communicating and there are lots of different ways used.”

According to Bakhrakh the data flow between LSPs is multiformatted, using everything from phonecalls, emails and the exchange of Office based documents. This hampers the overall efficiency of that communication he said.

“We need to structure and unify the communications between these companies because we all work [together] and have similar processes,” said Bakhrakh. “Imagine a unified communications platform that was simple for all to use and provided an exchange of information in the same format to control the transport.”

The Carex exchange, which is based on the principles of an online social network, aims to provide that with a tool that allows transporters to exchange information on residual loads in a unified format that also provides data to the customer about such requirements as proof of delivery and damage rates. Transport providers can post residual loads on the Carex platform giving subcontractors visibility of the available business. The advantage for the OEM customer is the fulfilment of contract obligations with delivery, even to the smaller dealers, met on time.

“With Carex you can load spare stock and make it visible to the specific group or just one selected company,” said Bakhrakh. “You can get a request from subcontractor, confirm it and receive information on the truck and driver.”

The platform allows participating companies to group jobs according to region, price and quality preferences. Registered providers can then share information, accumulate delivery reports and control the process of those deliveries. It also allows users to give feedback on the quality of the cooperation and rate the services provided by subcontractors, something that is important on the Russian market at the moment according to Autotechnoimport’s CEO, Kirill Petrunkin.

He said that when the market recovered from the economic downturn between 2008 and 2010 a lot of new companies came onto the market. The major providers are now faced with major capacity issues and are relying more heavily on subcontractors but the quality of some of those players is dubious.

“We have another downturn now but the problem on the market is the lack of professionalism,” he said. “Carex allows companies to get the right proof of delivery from the company, ensuring compliance with the pickup times and quality standards.”

Importantly, the service does not publicise rate or payment details. The user only makes the loads visible for those partners that it is working with and access to the order is under the user’s control.

Carex is expected to be ready for full application by the autumn of this year.