Issue 7 2020 - Freight Business Journal Logistics platform

acquires European freight audit giant

ControlPay, One of Europe’s longest established freight audit and pay companies, announced in September that it had been acquired by the Transporeon electronic freight payment platform. Transporeon connects over

1,200 shippers and retailers worldwide with over 100,000 logistics service providers in

more than 100 countries in real time through security- certified platforms and offers digital freight benchmarking and sourcing, assignment and shipment execution, tracking, and end-to-end supply chain visibility from its locations in Europe, Russia, Asia and the US.

Acquiring ControlPay

means that Transporeon can offer freight audit and payment billing automation and payment analysis service, while extending its own footprint in Eastern Europe. It described its purchase as

a natural complement to its existing portfolio of market intelligence services, freight procurement, execution and settlement offerings. It says that at the time of acquisition, a third of all ControlPay customers were already part of Transporeon’s client base. Founded in 2002 and serving customers globally

in automotive, industrial, consumer, pharma and healthcare industries, ControlPay says it is the largest company in its segment in Europe, and has offices in with offices in Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and Ukraine, as well as the US, Asia and Brazil. It streamlines the freight

audit and finance process for shippers and carriers. Its platform captures critical data across all transport modes, giving its customers a true view on their logistics operations fully based on a single source of audited and

indisputable data. ControlPay chief executive

Bram Wegh said: “By joining the Transporeon Group, we see huge growth possibilities for our business as well as attractive opportunities for our growing workforce of over 275 people. We are looking forward to joining forces with Europe’s leading Logistics Network for transport logistics.” The company’s founder

Karel Kinds also noted: “The business rationale for the combination with Transporeon is extremely compelling. I’m convinced


that by becoming an integral part of the Transporeon Group, ControlPay and its customers will have a strong basis for continued sustainable growth into the future.” Transporeon chief

executive Stephan Sieber, added: “ControlPay further extends our customer offering to mission-critical areas such as billing automation and payment analysis. It is an ideal complement to our service portfolio in tendering and sourcing, transport execution incl. real-time visibility, market intelligence and settlement.”

Intelligent Audit’s data

If you cannot measure a cost, how can you possibly expect to control it? That is the nub of the service that New Jersey- headquartered Intelligent Audit offers its customers. But why freight costs in

particular, FBJ asked chief operating officer, Hannah Testani. Transportation is one of

the biggest expenses for any company, she explains. There are many different freight charges and it’s very unlikely that a company would be able to audit them satisfactorily itself. Ten different carriers will probably bill in ten different ways for similar services, and even within a single carrier, there will be many different service levels and options. Freight transactions also

tend to be more numerous than, say, those for utilities or premises rentals. “If you don’t know what

data you have, you can’t make effective

decisions,” says

Testani. There are, of course, many

companies that offer freight audit and pay services, particularly

in Intelligent

Audit’s home country, the US. However, what makes Intelligent Audit unique is its custom-written software that can assimilate data from sources such as EDI feeds or Exel sheets, upload it and rapidly and accurate analyse it, Testani explains. “We can help our customers become smarter, to leverage the information they have to make factual decisions.”


This is the main factor Intelligent


rapid year on year growth in its 23 years’ existence, in her opinion. It can analyse freight data across all modes of transport, including express, air freight, sea and truck. This is about much more than simply cutting freight costs. “Our approach is to leverage the data and help customers make changes to their business. And this is something that you cannot do if you don’t have that data.” Most shippers tend to think

that they know their supply chains until they see the data that Intelligent Audit can produce, says Testani. “We make it obvious where their inefficiencies are and we can figure out how to resolve it.

Global growth drives Cass growth

The increase in interest in

freight audit and payment and business intelligence services has continued into 2020, says managing director of the Cass Europe arm of US-based Cass Information Systems, Kees de Jongh. The growth is not so much

related to a specific region or country, he says: “The trend is that corporates want to have global visibility that allows them making better decisions. Also, there is the desire to having consistent or the same processes across regions – for example, North America, South America, Asia-Pacific or Europe, Middle East and Africa.”

adjustment factors by shipping lines and other transport providers. There is no end in sight to the proliferation of accessorial charges. “There is no standardization in that respect,” says de Jongh. Covid had an effect on the


This standardisation though to be achieved in the

face of an ever-increasing number of surcharges and

economy and has also led to reduced transportation volumes, although it has picked up lately and De Jongh sees a continued upward trend. Many transport service providers have imposed Covid surcharges and there has also been a huge increase of spot rates, overriding standard contracted rate agreements. Cass Info introduced a new claims management in

Europe last year, which has been received very well, De Jongh continues. (The product was already available in North America.) “We have invested in

enabling European specifics, more specifically CMR and also country specific legislation. Generally speaking, it appears that claims are not well managed

by shippers. We notice strong interest and subsequently are growing our client base for this type of services as well.” The main drivers are data

to give the user an insight into where and why damage occurs, so that corrective actions can be taken and cost (Cass systematically monitors and follows up on claims including

For example, they may be paying

Many are the times when too much for dead

weight (unused capacity). The customer might have an idea that it is happening, but our data can show exactly where.” Companies might have

some inkling that freight and transport are a significant cost that needs attention but without professional help, few will be able to pinpoint exactly how much, or the cost per shipment, or when and where those costs arise. The freight process is complex; in a typical door to door international shipment, there will be many individual pieces. As well

as its extensive

operations in the US, Intelligent Audit also has offices in the Netherlands, China, Singapore, South Africa and Brazil.

its analysis has uncovered multiple instances of sub- optimal carrier or service selection. Careful analysis of shipment data will often reveal that, all too often, companies have paid for, say, a more expensive guaranteed service when in reality a less- expensive non-guaranteed or slower service would have done the job just as well. Transport

providers, says

Testani, often “under-promise but over-deliver”, prompting shippers

to select a more

expensive option than they really need. Many shippers don’t need rapid service,

a next-day or

though there are of course exceptions, in the medical segment, for example.

can, for example, track the average number of packages picked up per location per day, identify where warehouses or distribution centres can be added or even analyse the optimal locations for new stores. It can also pinpoint where things are going wrong in the supply chain – for example pinpointing locations with missed pickups. Often, it can significantly

decrease costs per shipment, saving perhaps over $100,000 a week while maintaining delivery performance. The Covid crisis has also

led to extreme disruption of freight and shipping. In these uniquely disrupted circumstances, shippers often paid out for ‘guaranteed’ services that were never going to be delivered because of the huge disruption in global freight transport.

collecting money from carriers and/or their insurance brokers.) Cass can now manage carrier

payments in all regions of the world on behalf of its clients and is further extending the suite of working capital solutions in North America to other parts of the world. “It underlines our position as the leading freight payment provider,” De Jongh explains. He adds that Cass is ready for

what – increasingly at the time of writing – looked to be a hard Brexit. “From the perspective of auditing we will see charges coming up as for other non EU countries (customs agency fees, duties and taxes or, changes in VAT.”

Cass continues to invest in

technology and global growth “so that we can provide value and the right services to our growing group of global clients.”

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