Alistair Group was awarded a grant by the Logistics Innovation for Trade (LIFT) Challenge Fund in January 2016 to support the development of its Alistair+ freight exchange service project. The goal of this project is to create an automated service (a smartphone application), which will serve as a tracking and matching platform between client loads and subcontracted small-scale locally-owned transporters (SMEs). As Alistair Group makes use of existing assets in the East African market, it will increase the utilization of idle vehicles and drivers. This application will benefit 100+ SMEs by giving owner operators and small transport businesses access to high-value cargo and ultimately increasing their income. This project will connect Alistair Group to subcontractors which will result in an increase in access to the transportation market for SME transporters and operational efficiencies due to reduced transport time and costs by cutting out unnecessary middle men and improving turnaround times on cargo.
The Alistair+ application will create efficiencies for the road transport industry, a historically low-tech industry in the region. As part of the project the Alistair Group will be improving its existing GPS tracking units to roll out tracking units to enhance security of the cargo carried. The application will efficiently allocate proven, safe drivers and vehicles to available loads as it will contain a database of the safety history of drivers, trips and vehicles. Drivers and vehicles will be preapproved through background checks, guarantees and periodic reviews as well as rigorous in-house training and education at the Alistair Group facility. This will improve turnaround time and ultimately result in cost savings and faster payment processing for drivers and the company. As each driver and vehicle is vetted and tracked by using existing GPS networks to track vehicles, pre-clearance is automated with a centralized documentation system and alerts for loading and offloading. The public can also report any unsafe driver behaviour by phone or SMS. This will be linked to the driver’s profile and overall rating.
The project implementation is structured into 6 milestones:
The Alistair app+ project has the potential to be a transformational innovation in making a real contribution to improved trade. It also has the potential to improve functionality, including support to vehicle fleet maintenance over time.
“Subcontractors enrolled in the Alistair+ project will experience at least a 15% increase in revenue and 15% increase in cargo carried thanks to the efficiencies introduced through the system. Alistair Group is committed to leveraging technological innovation to help catalyse the development and professionalism of small-scale transporters on the Central and Northern Corridors. The application will reduce costs and improve transport times, allowing us to help create efficiencies in the East African market.”
– Clementine James, Business Development Director, Alistair Group.