Shiply.com, ‘the UK's leading online transport marketplace’ has expanded its business into four more European countries.
For those who don’t know (and I didn’t until recently) Shiply works by providing its customers with a cost effective way to move goods using vehicles already running on appropriate routes. Since couriers and transport firms often run vehicles empty on their way to a pick-up or from a delivery, the idea is to fill the empty vehicles, making the delivery firms more fuel efficient.
Shiply.com is the hub of the operation. Users simply list the item they want moving, and the 17,500 haulage and delivery companies linked to the site bid for the work in a reverse auction. Shiply boasts over 170,000 registered users.
The business, which was set up in 2008, launched its site in Germany towards the end of last year and following its success, has recently gone live in France, Italy, Spain and Holland.
Founder Robert Matthams; “When I initially researched the concept for the business – filling under-utilised vehicles – figures revealed that 25% of trucks were running empty and 50% part full. This horrified me. Not only from an environmental point of view but a business one too.
“Further research before the European launch highlighted the issue is one common to most countries. For hauliers and consumers it's a win-win. Haulier's fill their vehicles and generate additional income – hugely beneficial with a hike in fuel duty on it's way – and consumers make big cost savings without having the hassle of calling numerous companies to get the best deal. Shiply does all of that for them with minimal effort required.”
I’m ashamed to say I wasn’t aware of Shiply, but this is a great idea. It’s a wonderful demonstration of ICT as a low-carbon enabler – without a central, online IT system at the heart of the operation it just wouldn’t happen and emissions could not be saved. And what’s really clever is that the company has integrated it’s system with eBay – input the eBay item number and user ID and the system will import the item's pickup location post code, description and pictures.