Cartage - Autonomous freight operations

Optimizing Freight with AI: Cartage's Innovative Approach

What is Cartage?

Cartage, established in 2023, represents a groundbreaking innovation in the domain of autonomous freight operations. This start-up, headquartered in Toronto, Canada, is revolutionizing the trucking industry by automating routine and repetitive tasks. The ultimate goal is to allow freight brokers and 3PLs (third-party logistics providers) to focus on more critical, value-added activities. With a compact yet dynamic team of two, Cartage leverages advanced machine learning and AI technologies to streamline operations, thereby enhancing efficiency and productivity in the trucking sector.

Cartage is the brainchild of Abdul Basharat and Josh Lampen, two visionary founders who bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the table. Together, they are steering the company toward redefining operational efficiency in the freight industry. This article delves into the various facets of Cartage, exploring its origins, the problems it addresses, its innovative solutions, and the profound impact it is poised to make on the trucking industry.

Who are the Founders of Cartage?

The founders of Cartage, Abdul Basharat and Josh Lampen, are not just entrepreneurs but also industry veterans with extensive backgrounds in both technology and trucking. Abdul Basharat, the CEO of Cartage, began his professional journey as a military pilot. His transition into the tech industry saw him taking on significant roles, such as the product lead at Rose Rocket, where he spearheaded the development of various network and product-led growth (PLG) initiatives. Abdul also played a pivotal role in launching Pathstream's B2B platform, guiding it from inception to a fully operational stage. His diverse experience in management consulting further bolsters his strategic acumen, making him an adept leader for Cartage.

Josh Lampen, the CTO of Cartage, complements Abdul’s expertise with his profound technical knowledge and engineering skills. At Rose Rocket, Josh was a founding engineer on the Platform team, where he led the development of the company’s first workflow engine. His technical prowess is also highlighted by his stint at Together, another YC-backed company. Josh’s unique background as a former water polo player for Canada’s National Team adds an element of discipline and team spirit to his professional demeanor. Together, Abdul and Josh form a formidable leadership team that drives Cartage’s vision of transforming freight operations through automation.

What Problem Does Cartage Address?

The trucking industry in North America is beset with several critical challenges that impede operational efficiency and profitability. One of the most pressing issues is the substantial amount of time and resources spent on operational tasks that can be automated. Trucking companies and shippers spend approximately $41 billion annually on these operational tasks, which are performed by over 2.2 million employees. These tasks include processing bills, updating orders, and responding to emails, which are not only time-consuming but also prone to human error.

Moreover, the industry struggles with tight margins, making it difficult for companies to sustain profitability. The challenge of finding and retaining talent further exacerbates the problem, as skilled employees are often in short supply. Repetitive tasks clog up operations teams, stretching them thin and preventing them from focusing on more strategic and critical activities. These issues collectively create a bottleneck that hampers the growth and efficiency of trucking companies.

How Does Cartage Provide a Solution?

Cartage offers a cutting-edge solution to the aforementioned problems through its innovative automation platform. This platform operates seamlessly in the background, utilizing machine learning and AI to transform documents and emails into actionable data. The system is designed to update other systems automatically, thereby reducing the need for manual intervention.

For instance, if an email confirms an order pickup, Cartage’s system will automatically update the status in the transportation management system (TMS). In cases where an estimated time of arrival (ETA) is missing, the platform will send an automated email request and update the TMS once a response is received. Additionally, if a bill is received via email, Cartage will process it and update the relevant systems accordingly. This automation not only improves accuracy but also significantly reduces the time and effort required to perform these tasks.

Cartage’s automations are designed to enhance operational efficiency by improving margins, allowing teams to scale without increasing headcount, and freeing up employees to focus on more critical tasks. The platform’s workflow engine is highly customizable, enabling it to meet the unique operational needs of each customer. This flexibility ensures that Cartage can provide tailored solutions that maximize efficiency and productivity for its clients.

What Benefits Does Cartage Offer?

The benefits of Cartage’s automation platform are extensive and impactful. One of the most significant advantages is the improvement in operational margins. By automating routine tasks, Cartage reduces the need for additional headcount, allowing companies to scale efficiently without incurring extra labor costs. This improvement in scalability is crucial for trucking companies that operate on tight margins and need to maximize their resources.

Furthermore, Cartage’s platform frees up employees to concentrate on more strategic and value-added activities. By eliminating the burden of repetitive tasks, employees can focus on critical functions that drive the company’s growth and profitability. This shift in focus not only enhances productivity but also boosts employee morale and job satisfaction, as they are able to engage in more meaningful work.

The customizable workflow engine of Cartage’s platform is another key benefit. It allows users to tailor the automation processes to their specific operational needs, ensuring that the platform delivers maximum efficiency and effectiveness. This customization capability makes Cartage a versatile tool that can adapt to the diverse requirements of different trucking companies and 3PLs.

What Impact Has Cartage Made So Far?

Despite being a relatively new entrant in the industry, Cartage has already made a significant impact. The company initially focused on automating bill processing and invoicing for 3PLs, achieving remarkable results. Cartage has reduced bill processing time from eight hours per day to just 20 minutes, a testament to the efficiency of its automation platform. Additionally, the company has automated over 5000 invoices at a 97% self-service ratio, highlighting the platform’s ability to operate with minimal manual intervention.

These improvements have translated into substantial operational time savings and enhanced cash flow for Cartage’s clients. By freeing up hundreds of hours previously spent on manual bill processing, Cartage has enabled its clients to reallocate their resources to more strategic activities. The improved cash flow resulting from faster invoicing further underscores the platform’s value proposition, making Cartage an indispensable tool for trucking companies looking to optimize their operations.

What Sets the Cartage Team Apart?

The leadership team at Cartage, comprising Abdul Basharat and Josh Lampen, is distinguished by its unique blend of skills, experience, and vision. Abdul’s background as a military pilot and his subsequent transition into the tech industry exemplify his versatility and strategic thinking. His experience in product development at Rose Rocket and his role in launching Pathstream’s B2B platform demonstrate his ability to lead and innovate in the tech space. Additionally, Abdul’s stint in management consulting has equipped him with the analytical and strategic skills necessary to navigate the complexities of the trucking industry.

Josh Lampen’s technical expertise and engineering prowess are equally impressive. As a founding engineer at Rose Rocket, Josh played a pivotal role in developing the company’s workflow engine and integrations. His technical acumen is complemented by his experience at Together and his athletic discipline as a former national-level water polo player. This combination of technical skills and leadership qualities positions Josh as a key driver of Cartage’s technological innovation and success.

How Does Cartage Use Technology?

Cartage’s use of advanced technology is central to its value proposition. The platform leverages machine learning and AI to transform documents and emails into data, which is then used to update various systems automatically. This technological sophistication enables Cartage to streamline operations, reduce errors, and enhance efficiency. The customizable workflow engine further enhances the platform’s utility, allowing users to tailor the automation processes to their specific needs.

The integration of AI and machine learning into Cartage’s platform ensures that it can continuously improve and adapt to changing operational requirements. This adaptability is crucial in the fast-paced trucking industry, where companies need to respond quickly to evolving market conditions and customer demands. By staying at the forefront of technological innovation, Cartage is well-positioned to lead the industry in autonomous freight operations.

Why is Cartage Important for the Trucking Industry?

Cartage’s importance to the trucking industry cannot be overstated. The platform addresses several fundamental challenges that have long plagued the industry, including tight margins, labor shortages, and the burden of repetitive tasks. By automating these tasks, Cartage not only improves operational efficiency but also enhances the overall profitability and sustainability of trucking companies.

Furthermore, Cartage’s ability to free up employees to focus on more critical tasks has a positive impact on workforce productivity and morale. In an industry where finding and retaining talent is a significant challenge, this shift in focus can help companies attract and retain skilled employees. The platform’s scalability and customization capabilities ensure that it can meet the diverse needs of different companies, making it a versatile and valuable tool for the trucking industry.

What is the Future of Cartage?

The future of Cartage looks exceptionally promising as the company continues to innovate and expand its automation capabilities. With the trucking industry’s ongoing challenges, the demand for efficient, automated solutions like Cartage is likely to grow. As Cartage refines its platform and explores new applications for its technology, it is poised to make even greater strides in transforming freight operations.

In conclusion, Cartage is at the forefront of a significant transformation in the trucking industry. By automating routine tasks and enabling teams to focus on critical work, it offers a much-needed solution to some of the sector's most pressing challenges. With a strong leadership team and cutting-edge technology, Cartage is well-positioned to lead the way in autonomous freight operations. As the company continues to grow and innovate, it is set to redefine the standards of efficiency and productivity in the trucking industry, paving the way for a more sustainable and profitable future.