The Asian logistics start-up scene

The logistics start-up community is alive and well in Asia and much like the US and Europe, an increasing number of these businesses are challenging the traditional means of doing business.

Among these challenges includes the need for last mile delivery solutions. Increasing internet connectivity, rapid acceptance of mobile and the growth of e-commerce are opening up a new world to a rising middle-class population in terms of selection of goods. However, with this discovery comes the need for fast and efficient last mile delivery services for some locations that may not even have postal codes or structured courier services.

Many logistics providers have already introduced last mile delivery options such as alternative location delivery, in-store pickup and lockers. However, several start-ups are looking to push the envelope further and add additional value to this sector. Among these new businesses is Ninja Logistics. This start-up is based in Singapore and according to the publication, Tech in Asia, specializes in next-day deliveries for e-commerce companies. Ninja Logistics further notes that its technology is a key differentiator thanks to its cloud-based platform. It utilizes data it receives to optimize vehicle routes and provides real time track and trace. Its recently secured funding of S$3.5m (US$2.5m) will be used for cross-border expansion and product development.

China’s Beequick began operations in 2014 and specializes in the delivery of convenient items as snacks, produce and cigarettes to consumers within 30 to 60 minutes after orders are placed. According to the company, it has more than 10,000 convenience stores within its network and delivers more than 30,000 orders daily. In March, it received an additional US$20m in funding and according to Beequick, the company is now valued at US$200m.

EasyShip is another interesting logistics start-up. Based in Hong Kong and reminiscent of US-based Shyp, customers place an order and within two hours, EasyShip will arrive to pack whatever is to be shipped, label it and, based on algorithms, determine the best shipping company. Tracking is also available.

All three of these start-ups are among the many popping up not only in Asia but around the world. In many cases, these companies are addressing a pain point not solved by the traditional logistics providers or they have found a less costly and simply better way of doing business. Furthermore they are taking advantage of technology advances such as cloud computing and the increasing role e/ m-commerce is having on society to adapt to the changing needs of consumers – quicker in most cases than traditional logistics providers.

Each month Ti’s Global Logistics Monitor highlights regional start-ups and other innovations within the context of the global supply chain market. It is available to subscribers of Ti’s GSCI portal. For more information please contact Michael Clover.