A wise thinker has rightly said that “Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine.” This century is rapidly going through a digital transformation. Every small, medium, and big business is successfully digitizing its business to smooth run its operations as well as to give the quickest and the best possible services to its clients.
Giving a major boost to this industrial digitization wave is SeaRates. Founded in 2005, it is identified as the world’s most trusted digital platform for shipping goods from one location to another.
SeaRates is best known for creating an online platform to book a ship for goods shipping as easily as booking on Booking.com. In addition, the company provides client support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
In an interview with Insights Success, Sergey Dzhashitov, Head of SeaRates Operations, spoke about the company’s journey in becoming a reliable logistics solution provider and the plans.
Below are the excerpts from the interview:
Please brief our audience about your company, its USPs, and how it is currently positioned as a reliable logistics solution provider.
Our target audience includes shippers, exporters, importers, logistics businesses, and foreign trade players that perform international trade.
SeaRates is a one-stop-shop for all of your logistics requirements. SeaRates is a logistics platform that provides businesses with digital solutions and logistics services. It is, in other words, a digital forwarder.
We make booking a ship and shipping your goods as simple as buying the ticket or booking accommodation on Booking.com. We help our clients in digitizing and simplifying their businesses by using our web tools.
Shed some light on your services and offerings and how they impact the industry and your clients.
Earlier, trade companies had a logistics department; now, the head of the business can control the supply chain personally. What makes it possible? This is made possible by SeaRates’ digital solutions, which set the company besides other shipping providers.
Logistics providers include freight forwarders, shipping lines, and any business that owns or leases a ship or other assets and can assist customers in moving cargo from point A to point B. This is exactly the task that SeaRates carries out. It simply moves the cargo from point A to point B, regardless of its complexity.
We can begin by stuffing containers or trucks, and even before the customer begins planning his shipping dates, he can begin saving money immediately by utilizing the SeaRates Load Calculator. With this application, he can find the optimal plan and, with the help of smart algorithms and mathematical models developed using machine learning and analyzing hundreds of thousands of possible ways to load containers; this application immediately assists in loading more cargo into a container or truck. It will also assist in loading other modes of transport in the future.
With the assistance of Ship Schedules, the customer can plan even before checking the rates. A month in advance, he can determine the dates of any shipping line’s sailings to the desired destination.
Additionally, the client can determine which shipping line is better and operates in his region by utilizing the SeaLine Explorer application; he can monitor it online and at any time of day on his own, very quickly and with an intuitive user interface.
Logistics Explorer is a tool that even a visitor who is not yet a client of SeaRates for transportation services can use it. Hundreds of thousands of visitors use the SeaRates website. They are already our clients because SeaRates enables them to analyze a massive amount of data, benchmark, compare, and frequently find a cheaper rate on our website and then reduce their costs with their existing freight forwarder.
Following that, clients will notice a variety of rates, as the computer analyzes hundreds of thousands of possible modes of transport for the delivery of goods, as we receive and collect data from hundreds of shipping lines. Working through SeaRates is profitable and convenient as the client sees all transportation conditions in their entirety and understands what and how he interacts.
He books the rate, and then the magic begins, which is no longer the twentieth-century forwarding but is already a modern form of transportation. Once a client creates a booking through Logistics Explorer, he logs on to his account, where he has complete tracking of all the goods he transports with us and receives daily updates. His manager communicates with him daily and also provides 24/7 support.
Tracking System, SeaRates is now the world’s leading container tracking site, tracking more than 20 million containers each month. No shipping company, not even Maersk, can offer such a volume of containers. This is feasible since we support over 130 shipping lines, making it the most convenient container tracking solution available. We offer features such as container sorting by folders, shipments, date, or any other criterion, daily email notifications, and the option to share a specific list of selected containers with anyone via a link without sending SMS or needing registration.
Being an experienced leader, share your opinion on how the adoption of modern technologies has impacted the logistics industry and how your company is riding the technology wave.
Carbon emissions, cloud computing, quantum computers, artificial intelligence, machine learning, autonomous freight delivery, voice control, blockchain, and phenomena such as hyperloop – supersonic cargo delivery are all on the horizon for 2022. SeaRates has a research and development team that monitors and discusses all these trends.
Additionally, with the assistance of our principal and a huge team of experts within DP World, we are able to forecast what will happen next. One of the most critical existing products in the development of SeaRates is the Freight Index, which will assist in predicting global freight trends. This product, which is based on the above said technologies, will probably be one of the most progressive and important tools for shippers and transport companies.
Because a team of scientists develops and evaluates the GLEC methodology for calculating WTW emissions, we integrated this research into our Logistics Explorer. This enables customers to estimate the amount of emissions associated with each shipment.
Considering the current pandemic, what initial challenges did you face, and how did you drive the companies to sustain operations while ensuring the safety of your employees at the same time?
Everyone shifted to remote work during the pandemic. Factories, warehouses, and other offices began to close en masse. Someone’s telephone infrastructure was cut off, even corporate communications were cut off, and they were unable to communicate effectively with one another. People were unable to meet, which was critical in logistics because critical supply issues were discussed in personal meetings where you plan and write down all the details.
SeaRates and other online industries such as online shopping, purchasing, and logistics have all shifted to the Internet. And when users expanded their time spent online, SeaRates was in the right location at the right time. SeaRates is always driving the company forward in order to sustain operations.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the logistics space?
Today, launching an online logistics start-up or Internet business from scratch is not as simple as it once was. Today, this is a highly risky proposition. It was profitable in 2000 when the Internet was still in its development. An online company takes a significant investment of money, millions of dollars in marketing, just to come near to and into the top 500,000 companies on Alexa.
Today, this is an unbearable burden. Business owners without a budget should not have the illusion that they can simply buy everything and have it work; you need to invest a significant amount of money in content and functionality, and to create functionality, you need an IT team, which is expensive.
Simply put, it is unlikely that anyone will be able to replicate SeaRates’ success now. Companies that have followed this path, such as Flexport and Freightos, were able to do so due to investments ranging from $300 million to one and a half-billion dollars.
We work with freight forwarders and transportation companies of various levels and sizes, and we understand how difficult it is for them, which is why we have a dedicated team that strives to help and engage these businesses in the Community in the most effective manner possible.
The development approach entails integrating applications that have already completed a multi-stage process into an established business and existing sites. You do not need to design anything; all you need to do is purchase a ready-made solution that can be integrated into your website in less than a day and immediately impact your business.
Customers have grown accustomed to the ease of engagement in which millions of dollars have been invested. And, unlike competitors, SeaRates assists start-ups by offering ready-made solutions and sharing them with other businesses.
Each year, an increasing number of users abandon the desktop User Experience in favor of the mobile User Experience, and estimates indicate that the average person looks at their phone 150-200 times per day. People are more willing to conduct business activities online, including logistics.
Entrepreneurs in logistics do not need to invest in developing their mobile applications because SeaRates has developed pre-built solutions that enable you to create a mobile application for businesses that includes all of the above, including rate search and booking, cargo tracking, and optimization. Thus, businesses can retain customers precisely by sacrificing value-added services, convenience, and satisfaction.
How do you envision scaling your company’s operations and offerings in 2022 and beyond?
As previously mentioned, we will prioritize innovative developments, and by 2022, we will have a mobile application that will include all of the functionalities accessible on the SeaRates website.
Additionally, we are developing our analytics solutions, such as the Freight Index, as well as other applications that have the potential to make a huge impact on the market.
We also plan basic improvements to our existing applications since a separate team works on each of them. We monitor the market, collect feedback from customers, specifically what features they would like to see in existing applications, and constantly improve them.
Additionally, in 2022, the Logistics Maps application will enable users to monitor transport warehouses on a map and book trucks from anywhere in the world.
Please give us a few testimonials of your clients/customers and a list of awards/recognitions that accurately highlight your organization’s position in the market.
Forbes, Google, and other well-known media outlets have published articles about us. Additionally, in 2021, we earned an award in Ukraine for being the largest job-creating IT business in Odessa.
About The Founder
Sergey Dzhashitov started his career as an Odessa-based sailor, progressed to captain, and then decided to “go home” for a lower salary to pursue his dream of digitizing logistics.
It all began in a one-room apartment in Odessa, where the first office and two programmers were located. Then the first application was launched, Request a Quote. When a wave of transportation requests began to appear on this application, not just from Ukraine, but from all over the world, people began to sign up, as it was the first of its kind on the Internet in 2004.
When a wave of shipping leads and requests began to pour in, the site developed it into SeaRates in 2005. SeaRates added container tracking, a load calculator, distance and time calculators. The website then began to be updated with new solutions yearly, and a database of ports was created, which quickly gained popularity.
When a team was formed that raised the company and critical competencies developed, new people were hired, including the leadership of the Stefan Rogovsky team, it was possible to raise the project to a new level.
DP World acquired SeaRates in 2019. DP World is one of the major port operators in the world. Today, SeaRates, as part of DP World, is a company of a whole different class, with entirely new volumes. Growth was 700 percent in 2020, 1700 percent by the end of 2021, and the company continues to grow rapidly in 2022.