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Road freight facing disruptor?

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Following the lead of tech innovators in the taxi industry, SA’s road freight sector is set for a similar shake-up as Linebooker has launched an online-bidding platform that connects transport customers and trucking companies to offer transparent pricing.

Following the lead of tech innovators in the taxi industry, South Africa’s road freight sector is set for a similar shake-up. According the latest Logistics Barometer (published by Stellenbosch University), transport remains the most significant portion of logistics costs (57% of the total in 2014)* — an opportunity that is being seized upon by Cape Town-based start-up Linebooker.  A spinoff from the innovation arm of CCS Logistics (part of the Oceana Group), the company has launched an online-bidding platform that connects bulk business transport customers and trucking companies to offer transparent pricing, as well as end-to-end delivery facilitation services.

“It’s time for South Africa’s road freight industry to join the 21st century,” says Naudé Rademan, MD of CCS Logistics and Linebooker. “Technology exposes the imbalanced relation between buyers and sellers, and with our online tools and a single point of service, customers can enjoy more control and insights over the transport of various goods and products.”

Operating nationally, Linebooker is challenging an industry plagued by opaque pricing and antiquated systems. With its online bidding platform, transport customers can quickly submit load requests online to alert multiple transporters that are given a two-hour window in which to provide the best bid, often competing up to the last second. For transport customers, the offering features:

  • A single creditor (a set fee is charged per transaction based on the value of a load)
  • Vetted transporters and truck availability; and
  • Facilitation of the entire delivery process.

Average savings: 13% per load 

Naude Rademan, a respected professional in South Africa’s logistics and road transport industry, is MD of CCS Logistics, which owns and operates some of the most advanced and largest cold storage facilities in southern Africa. With a handful of colleagues — possessing almost 50 years of experience in the sector between them — they developed Linebooker in mid 2016. Since then, the company has facilitated the delivery of more than 1000 loads, saving customers an average of 13% per load. Linebooker currently has more than 60 transporters with over 1300 trucks on its system — an amount increasing weekly — and serves some of the country’s most respected brands, including Lucky Star, Shoprite and Heinz.

Reformed transport brokers

Composed of several former transport brokers, the company emphasises that it is not — nor does it want to be — a transport brokerage.  And while it does not own any transport trucks, Linebooker uses its technology, combined with the team’s knowledge of the industry (including some time as brokers), to ensure that trust and fairness are part of every transaction.

“Today, each transport request made online is like a mini RFP,” concludes Nick Hoffman, Linebooker Manager. “With our system we are improving the efficiency of the industry, connecting customers with more transporters (and vice versa), and ensuring transparent pricing. In some cases, customers are saving up to 18% per load.”

Levelling the playing field for transporters

For transporters — challenged with cash flow issues due to payment terms averaging 40 days in the industry — Linebooker offers:

  • Access to more customers;
  • A single debtor (with no broker mark-up);
  • Payment within 15 days; and
  • Improved ‘lane balancing’ (deliveries loaded in two directions).

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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