02 July 2023 • 22 min read
Cogoport: A Global Trade Platform
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Cogoport leverages technology and caters to enterprises of all sizes. Our solutions improve predictability and enhance human capabilities.
International trade provides promising opportunities for enterprises to access new markets and buyers. This, in turn, can spur employment and economic growth. However, there are several challenges to engaging in international trade, especially for small and medium enterprises – complex regulations, lack of access to adequate and suitable capital, lack of transparency, and a fragmented logistics industry. Cogoport is an established Global Trade Platform that leverages technology to offer innovative solutions to these challenges. This post discusses the impetus for Cogoport’s formation and the value proposition of its services.
Streamlining Global Trade
The slowdown in trade predicts a dire situation for SMEs and MSMEs across the world. Most SME and MSME entrepreneurs worldwide face a gamut of challenges when it comes to cross-border trade - fighting information asymmetry, closing knowledge gaps and navigating through paperwork. A SME exporter Naresh had a similar story to tell. When he decided to expand his business, he set his eyes on the international market. Figuring out how to get his goods to multiple countries across the world, find the correct partners, financing options and ensuring his goods would reach their destination safely was a big challenge in the initial years of his business.
Transporting cargo internationally required road transportation in the origin and destination countries, shipping across oceans, customs clearance at both the port of origin and destination and the final delivery, all of which are undertaken by various players. Until he got to know about Cogoport's Global Trade Platform, Naresh, like most owners of SMEs, relied on a network of brokers and service providers to undertake these operations. These service providers, in turn, relied on telephones, faxes, and tons of paperwork to carry out this intricate coordination. However, this way of operating was fragmented and opaque and did not present an accurate picture of supply and demand. Moreover, it was time-consuming and resource intensive.
Although relationships are the foundation of the logistics industry, technology also plays a role. No firm is large enough to possess all the necessary assets, including trucks, container ships, cargo planes, railways, warehouses and more in every nation on the planet.
In 2016, Cogoport set out to build a one-stop solution for trade - its flagship Global Trade Platform - that streamlined services across a trade journey. “You know you’ve gotten great business partners when they understand that business, at the end of the day, is more about emotions and problem-solving than about profits. The Global Trade Platform that Cogoport has built is not just an excellent integration of services that any entrepreneur needs, but also, the fact that the team understands the mindset of an exporter or importer and keeps in mind the hundreds of things they need to do to get their cargo safely moved. With Cogoport we are already saving between 10-15 per cent of logistics costs and around 40-man hours per booking for export shipments” says Naresh.
Creating a New Category in the Logistics Industry
Cogoport's Global Trade Platform™ aims to streamline trade by leveraging the power and benefits of the digital revolution for the freight and logistics industry. Its one-of-a-kind platform brings together service providers and consumers to create a transparent, level playing field and simplify how enterprises participate in global trade.
At Cogoport, we believe in simplifying the complex to increase efficiency and maximise trade opportunities. With the right mix of problem-solving expertise and technology enablement (Global Trade Platform™), we continually generate innovative solutions to make trade logistics easy. Our team possesses years of industry knowledge and expertise, and we are committed to adapting to your needs as relationships are our priority. By creating extensive value networks, you can rely on us to deliver a seamless trading experience. By integrating technology and expertise, we made trade easier.
The Global Trade Platform leverages technology in several ways: to reduce errors, improve predictability and transparency, replace manual and repetitive tasks, aggregate information, provide real-time updates, as well as enhance human capabilities. It recognizes the importance of building trust with its consumers and its team is trained to advise, troubleshoot, and address the needs of its clients, thus creating a synthesis of human skills and technology.
“We want to do things not just because we want to make a profitable business. We are driven by the pains of our customer and that is the soul of our organization. Our core mission is to decentralize things for efficiency and use available resources in the ecosystem for best use of customers. Majority of our competitors are trying to pick a niche and serve large enterprise clients. We strive to serve the unserved and give a uniform and delightful experience to all our customers,” says the company’s founder Amitabh Shankar.
The company caters to enterprises of all sizes; however, many of its solutions seek to address challenges faced by SMEs. Cogoport provides an array of services that address all aspects of cross-border shipments, from initiation to execution to fulfillment.
Till a few years back, SMEs seeking to export or import goods would approach different brokers and gather quotes from them. They would then compare the quotes and decide how to transport their goods internationally based on the price and service reputation. Cogoport’s freight marketplace connects its customers with its vast network of suppliers on one platform, enabling customers to instantly compare dozens of freight rates based on their personal search criteria. For instance, if a customer requires a time-bound delivery, quotes are customized based on delivery times specified by the customer. Moreover, Cogoport has established relationships with carriers allowing savings, which it passes on to its consumers.
Cogoport offers several solutions to enable consumers to securely engage in international trade and comply with the complex web of trade regulations. Cogoport’s trader eligibility check service verifies the credibility and compliance of potential trade partners, thus reducing the risk of engaging in transactions with entities that may be unreliable or non-compliant with regulations.Cogoport's platform also features a user-friendly duties and taxes calculator that simplifies the process of estimating import duties, taxes, and customs fees. This enables customers to better plan their working capital requirements as well as better estimate landed costs for their buyers. Cogoport’s services also include Harmonised Code Classifications for over 50 countries. This is especially helpful for new importers and exporters – since classifying goods incorrectly can attract penalties. In some cases, goods may even be rejected if the HSN code is incorrect.
Tracking and Visibility
Cogoport's advanced tracking and visibility tools provide real-time shipment updates on shipments, allowing businesses to monitor their goods' journey from origin to destination. This transparency fosters trust and enables proactive decision-making.Cogoport’s tracking services even extend to orders shipped through service providers other than Cogoport. Cogoport has recently launched an AI bot, Cogo, on WhatsApp. The chatbot allows customers to retrieve the status of their shipments without having to log on to Cogoport’s platform. Along with tracking information, the bot also provides information on rates, routes, etc. Cogoport plans to make Cogo available across different communication channels such as email and SMS and popular platforms like WeChat.
Typically, SMEs are constrained by limited cashflows. Moreover, they lack access to suitable trade finance. Even if finance is available, it is usually accompanied by high compliance costs. Cogoport offers two solutions to address SMEs’ need for capital. A Ship Now Pay Later option, which allows SMEs to ship their goods and defer the payment until the shipment reaches its destination. The service provides a paperless application with approvals provided within two days. Once approved, exporters can book logistics up to $500,000 with a deferred payment option. Cogoport also offers an export factoring facility, under which it advances credit against confirmed orders. This enables SMEs to access funds before they are due to receive a final payment from the buyer. Cogoport uses its proprietary Cogoscore to assess an SME’s creditworthiness, based on which they can access different credit levels.
The Future of Trade
As the world becomes increasingly connected, the future of trade lies in solutions that enhance efficiencies, simplify processes, and foster collaboration. Cogoport’s vision of bridging the trade knowledge and execution gap and delivering better trade outcomes through tech-enabled customer-centric solutions is at the forefront of this change. By bringing the convenience and advantages of digitization and technology to trade, Cogoport is enabling SMEs to engage in cross-border trade. It is also enabling businesses to navigate the complexities of trade with ease and paving the way for a more inclusive and seamless global trade ecosystem.
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