ECargo drives towards profitability

Online freight e-commerce business eCargo expects to achieve profitability within three months, says general manager Nicola Hunter, who is based in Auckland's International Centre for Entrepreneurship.

Online freight e-commerce business eCargo expects to achieve profitability within three months, says general manager Nicola Hunter, who is based in Auckland's International Centre for Entrepreneurship (see Icehouse is hot stuff for IT).

“We are not at break-even yet but we are meeting financial targets. I expect profitability in three months but every cent I get will be reinvested in the company,” Hunter says.

Hunter made the comments as the company, which has three permanent staff, one contractor and four directors, launched the second version of its eCargo application. ECargo is a web-based tool that enables freight businesses to analyse processes such as where deliveries are being made, by whom, at what time and what is being delivered.

The company, owned by Carter Holt Harvey, which invested $600,000 in the venture, Wellington e-commerce specialist eCentric Ventures and Direct Capital Private Equity, was formed in October 2000 as an e-marketplace. But it refocused its operations last March when it realised there was little money to be made in a bidding system for the freight industry, which is largely under contract and where margins are slim. Instead the online processing of transactions offered savings for businesses, up to $1 million for CHH alone, eCargo says.

Hunter claims 111 site users as well as 85 carrier users, spread across 101 different local site. Clients pay between $300 and $21,000 a month, depending on their size.

She says the company is “opening up” the supply chain. “A truck driver can use it on his WAP phone.”

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