Air Cargo Management

ACE23: CharterSync sets sights on growth and investing in people and tech

UK-based air cargo booking platform CargoSync is poised to build on growth that has seen its business double over the last 12 months.

The firm, which is based in Croydon, south London, says it has been profitable every year since launch in 2019, despite the significant investment required to build its digital platform.

And having just completed its latest financial year, it says it is seeing continued strong growth with financial performance doubling compared to the previous 12 months.

As part of plans to spur further grow, CharterSync hopes to be able to establish an office in the US where it already has customers but no presence on the ground.

Ed Gillett, director and co-founder, told Airline Cargo Management at last week’s Air Cargo Europe trade show in Europe, said he also intends to bring IT development in-house.

“We have been very careful,” he said. “There are advantages and disadvantages to growing organically which is, by its nature, slower.

“There are companies out there that go and raise huge sums of money and want to grow as quickly as possible and don’t mind having losses for three or four years. But we decided that, actually, there’s a different way to do this.”

CharterSync was founded four years ago with initial outside investment, but 18 months ago Gillett and his co-founder Simon Watson completed a full management buy-out.

“To hit our plans, we will probably need to change the strategy,” said Gillett, “we will invest in growth, and we will invest in technology and people.

A key plank of the firm’s people strategy is to bring its IT development in-house. The firm currently employs 16 people in Croydon and outsources its tech team overseas.

But Gillett said he wants the firm to be more agile and to develop software more quickly, and he believes having the team physically in the office will allow CharterSync to do that.

“It’s going to be a challenge finding the right people both on the product side and on software and sales. It’s about finding a balance between cost and response.”

Gillett suggested there was “potential” for a traditional cargo spike in Q4 but he said: “how big, we do not know.”

“This year has definitely been subdued because of inflation and a shift back to sea freight and road,” he added.

“We are not seeing a drop off in the number of requests, but the conversion rate is what is being impacted.”

E-Commerce continues to be a big factor in the long-term charter market with demand from operators to lock in 12 to 24-month deals to provide certainty, reliability and control.

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