This article was published in Tankcontainer Magazine, Volume 5 | Issue 2 | June 2018, Page 23-24
Jan van de Nes follows the development of TankContainerFinder.com
Online platform TankContainerFinder.com started up in February 2017. The “matchmaker for tank containers” looks as if it is here to stay, with the number of users increasing by the day. From the early days, when the concept was to find a “match made in heaven”, the website has developed to become a practical reality.
Co-founder Léon De Bruin explains the success story. With partner and co-founder, Arthur Van Der Hoeven, he started plans for a platform in 2012 but the market told them that a digital match-making operation was not needed. Notwithstanding this, they started building their digital future in 2013.
It took until 2016 before they got the market signals that there was demand for a matchmaker and the service was born. The two entrepreneurs found new partners for the development of the platform. As a team they performed their Minimal Viable Product in October 2016, which was followed by testing and upgrading along “Build, Measure and Learn” guidelines. The team launched TankContainerFinder.com on February 2, 2017.
From the start, logistics companies and users of tank containers used the platform to search for tank containers in nearby operational yards. Today over 65 per cent of the global operating fleet is registered at the platform and daily bookings can come from 95 countries.
"We thought we would join 25 supplying parties to the platform as well as 25 potential customers in the first months of 2017", Léon De Bruin says but reality was different.
"The number of new users was immediately larger’" co-founder Arthur Van Der Hoeven confirms. It was obvious that the worldwide demand for a “matchmaker” for tank containers was huge. "Now we have over 600 registered users, among them over 250 parties looking for tank containers for their cargoes".
This rapid growth is probably also driven by interest in the chemical industries. In this sector, the search for suitable tank containers and logistics companies, such as transporters, is substantial. To make sure TankContainerFinder.com could respond to these demands, the team appointed Sales & Customer Success Manager Wilbert De Jong in November 2017. De Jong has his roots in the chemical industry and was therefore familiar with the problems of the sector when it came to searching for tank containers.
Chemical industry advantages
De Jong only sees advantages for the chemical industry when using TankContainerFinder.com. "We offer a more transparent and complete overview of all available empty tank containers for all parties that are involved with tank container cargoes on a regular basis", he says. He also thinks it is a good opportunity for optimizing production planning in chemical companies because of the tracking and tracing possibilities that are now common practice for tank container owners and users. They can link their transportation requirements to their production data and the delivery needs of their customers.
De Jong continues: "For example, a manufacturer of paints, glues or detergents can better plan the delivery dates, meaning that he can offer guarantees to his customers". The platform offers other possibilities. De Jong says it is unique that one platform can link all the available tank containers (and flexitanks) to all the suppliers of “trucking cargo”.
"Now we can support every customer in the chemicals sector in different transport modes in Europe", he says, to include road transport, rail transport and/or inland water transport.
De Jong has already seen that the transparency of the platform, which requires the presentation of all loading documents such as the MSDS, reduces the communication problems between shipper and transporter. He points out that even the purchase of tank containers and flexitanks, as well as the “trucking cargo”, will be simplified by using the TankContainerFinder.com-platform. He thinks that optimizing the use of the tank container fleet can lead to smaller fleets and cost reductions. Another unexpected advantage is, according to De Jong, the fact that "the platform undoubtedly is the best tool for large distributors to present tenders as they reach an enormous group of suppliers". There is a strong connection between TankContainerFinder.com and its platform users, which results in a large international network. Because the users are invited to give feedback, the TankContainerFinder.com team can optimize the performance of the platform.
"The developers take so called short-sprints, which lead to new functionalities and updates every four weeks. This also helps to cut costs, giving better cost management by the users", Arthur Van Der Hoeven explains.
Other things have become possible - using the experience of the past 12 months, and the user's feedback, the team will extend the process of booking a tank container in 2018. The platform is therefore growing from an online matching system to a booking platform.
"The base line for this comes from our experience. We have so far satisfied demand for over 5,000 tank containers, which is the booking equivalent of over 10 million dollars", Léon De Bruin explains.
But to become a full operating booking platform, there is a need for transactions. This will require several changes to the automation processes.
"At the moment, our actions are partly free as it comes to booking. This will change in a couple of months. New users will have a free booking service as a testing model but, when they register for permanent use, we will charge a fee for every booking. On the other hand, we will support every customer in the transition period from match making to booking by Wilbert de Jong".
The purpose of the TankContainerFinder.com-team is to optimise the worldwide tank container supply chain.
"No one needs to put time or effort in the search for a tank container at the right location and just in time", De Jong states. The complete logistics management by TankContainerFinder.com – which effectively unburdens the parties involved - is only possible when all parties participate. "Therefore, we talk with all the companies and experts", De Bruin says. "We will add all kinds of services that we can find to help in the process of unburdening".
In 2017, TankContainerFinder.com received a Green Supply Chain Award and were nominated for the Accenture Innovation Awards in the Circular Economy, as well as Seamless Travel and Transport. This year, the company was nominated for the Accenture Innovation Award in Mobility.
De Bruin is proud of winning the first NT Port Start-Up Award and honored to be nominated for the Supply Chain Startup Award Europe 2018.
He ends the story this way: "These nominations, of course, are an excellent appraisal for all efforts to innovate the tank container supply chain. The positive feedback from our users, as well as from the entire market, is encouraging and we regard it as a validation of our strategy. The liquidity at the platform rises day by day as new users enter and liquidity is increased by parties generating businesses for themselves. We expect this year to satisfy over 1,000 demands for tank containers and will have negotiation of over 10,000 tank containers at the platform. The figures are published on our homepage".
Everyone who is interested in using TankContainerFinder.com can register free-of-charge on the website.
Click on the “Chat” button to have immediate contact to Wilbert De Jong.
Published on 2018-07-13 at 10:00 by Jan van de Nes