Murray talks about innovation and building fast growing Calogi with
great enthusiasm and hope.
Murray is no stranger to IT having been
involved with various systems from British Airways to IATA to Mercator.
But as we learned during a conversation
in Dubai recently, Calogi is building from the ground up for the world
air cargo community.
Amidst a growing number of IT companies
Dubai-based Calogi is rising quickly offering a secure internet service
portal “that offers a one-stop platform for a range of air cargo
businesses from around the world to negotiate and sell products and
“Calogi is 24/7 business-to-business
and business-to-consumer cargo logistics network that was developed
jointly by Calogi and Mercator, the IT division of Emirates Group.
“Calogi offers a multitude of services,
including flight schedules and space availability, shipment tracking
and stock and rate management.
“Calogi also provides an instant
link to customs authorities, via the airlines, meaning the time spent
processing import, export and transit shipments can be reduced considerably.
“Since its Dubai launch in July
2008, the number of Calogi subscribers and transactions have experienced
phenomenal growth,” Patrick Murray says.
are starting an international rollout plan for Calogi – tell us
reached a level of maturity in Dubai where we feel we are now ready
to engage the international community, so we put up a full import/export
package for the forwarders, but of course while we are selling in Dubai,
we are already making use of the Dubai-based functionality.
So a Dubai forwarder can now do business
with international partners, and we now want to leverage on that. What
we’ve been doing is looking at some communities where we feel
Calogi would really make a difference.
For the moment, recently we visited Bangladesh,
which is ripe for automation – there’s not much there at
We met with the Freight Forwarder’s
Association, Bangladesh GSAs and we met with a few of the big airlines.
There was very positive feedback –
they know they have to do something, they all want to enter into the
e-freight arena – they just don’t have the capability.
So here we’ve come along and we’re
offering a pilot program in Bangladesh. “We’ve got two GSAs
and about half a dozen forwarders, and we are underway with a program
study that eventually can benefit the rest of the communities.
long will that go on? How long does a test period take?
it’s very quick to start up a community – we can have a
community up and running within a couple of weeks. The training for
a forwarder is three days; for a GSA and GHA, it’s one day. So
it’s five days worth of training and then they’re ready
The pilot itself takes about two months,
and then we use those studies to engage the entire community.
We would want to do a proper roadshow
where we can talk about experiences, what we can offer, and really,
how we raise the bar.
do you actually put in to their operation – i.e., what technology
or hardware do you bring? How do you impact their operations?
of the larger forwarders have their own systems, but there are 400 forwarders
in Bangladesh currently and probably about 360 of them have nothing
at the moment.
So we go in there and we’re fresh,
we’re inexpensive, we help them compete with Dubai.
They do a lot of trade with Dubai as well,
so it’s good to have that type of partnership going between the
forwarders here and the forwarders there. And it works.
We’ve had previous success with
Dubai, and we feel confident we can roll it out to other communities
The other communities we’re looking
at are in the GCC, Sri Lanka, Malaysia Indonesia and the Philippines.
These are very up-and-coming, forward-thinking
communities that would like to do something in the e-freight arena,
and what better solution than Calogi?
did you come upon this change and decision to expand? Do you think it’s
a natural progression from where you have been?
had always planned to roll out international – we’d always
built for the international community. We wanted to get a working model
up and running in Dubai, as a reference site. One of the things we do
is we invited people to come and look at the operation in Dubai to see
what we’ve done with it. We’ve got nothing to hide. We’re
more than happy to talk to the forwarders and the airlines to really
see how we made a difference.
should a company use Calogi and where is it available right now? How
do you implement putting someone new into your system?
think first of all, you can exchange information. Secondly, you can
share documents. We offer full compliance; we offer full messaging with
the airlines, so you can do online bookings, FWB exchange – many
of the airlines now give discounts to forwarders who can do automated
business with them.
There are a number of instances where
they are trying to get the information for EU and American customs,
and they’ll offer an incentive for the forwarders to get that.
So there can be financial incentives when you use Calogi.
It also simplifies the business; for instance,
our credit control engine in Dubai handles all manner of financial matters.
We want to exploit that model and we’re not sure if we can offer
every feature in every community, but we can certainly do it for the
import and export forwarder.
is Calogi right now?
have communities in Amman, Muscat, Sharjah and we’re about to
start a community in Abu Dhabi.
did you come up with the name Calogi?
came from Cargo Logistics International.
do you say to people that say there you have a monopoly on the data
exchange in Dubai?
improved the data flow in Dubai, and we linked all the partners so they
can exchange data through one system.
We’ve reduced the need for expensive
messaging costs and if we are being criticized for being a monopoly
by improving the way communities do business, then we are guilty as
trade shows a boost to your business? Do they help you?
it’s amazing; we’ve found that most people in the industry
have actually heard of us, even though we haven’t done much on
the international front in terms of marketing. I think because this
has never been tried before, there’s an incredible amount of interest
that’s being generated – much of it by word-of-mouth. We
have 90 airlines represented on the portal, and we’ve dealt mostly
with their head offices in terms of signing the contracts, so they know
who we are. We’ve been very close to IATA in terms of developing
the e-airway bill, so they know who we are. We’ve got most of
the large forwarders on board in Dubai, so they know we are. So it’s
kind of a viral network, and it’s spreading. When we go in to
a community, we find that people know who we are.
do you hope to take Calogi in the future? Do you see it in the U.S.,
throughout Europe – are you head to head with the big IT providers,
not actually head to head with the big providers – in fact, CHAMP
would be a great partner for us. We don’t
compete with CHAMP, TRAXON – we built a solution for the small
community, forwarder and airline. That was our primary target, and nothing
really existed for that before us. We’re finding the niche of
working with the smaller guy, and figuring out how we can bring them
up to compete with the larger guy.
does Calogi see itself in the future?
Calogi hopes to be global. We hope to be in the United States, Europe,
Asia and South America.
resistance do you face?
As with anything, the resistance is change – bringing the air
cargo industry into the 21st century.
is your background in the business?
I started my airline life in British Caledonian, moved to British Airways,
Galileo, Mercator and then IATA. I have been in Cargo for most of my
do you identify a new market?
that is low on automation. They have to have a good internet connection,
a willingness for change and they have to be on the map for e-freight.
We score it based on a set of criteria – will this be a good market
for us? Who are our competitors? Are they ready for change? If we feel
after evaluations that it’s right, we will approach the Air Forwarders
Association, the Airline Operators Committee, and some of the big players,
like the largest GSAs, and we will set up meetings with them. We will
then explain what Calogi is, maybe show a little demo, and gauge their
interest. What we’ve found is whenever we go in to a market, they
say we definitely expected this or something like this because at the
moment, we have nothing! We can’t do e-freight, we can’t
do many functions that we know are important to our industry: please;
many companies do the communities involve?
the communities can be as small as one GSA and one forwarder, or it
can be as large as Dubai, which encompasses the entire forwarding and
do you tell a new location like Bangladesh in terms of what they will
be able to do with Calogi?
of all, they will be able to do business with import and export forwarders.
The stock and rates will be available online – all of that is
automated, and they’ll have access to the airline’s stock.
They have full control; from the moment they execute an airway bill,
the information appears on the airline’s sales report, which is
visible to both – there’s no dispute.
You can share documents with your import
forwarder, your shipper, etc and can also see what the status is in
the dashboard through the status messages received from the airline.
the Calogi system have a friendly user interface for those who have
not yet caught up with the 21st century?
you can type an airway bill, you can use Calogi.
With a subscription, you get full training
on the system, and the system is quite intuitive and user friendly;
it’s quite difficult to make a mistake. Certainly on the ratings
side, if the airlines set up their rates correctly, once you hit the
execute button, it’s all calculated automatically.
One interesting challenge is in the way
the airlines do business. In many of these communities, they are still
issuing the big boxes of manual stock, and they are actually giving
those boxes to the forwarder, and the forwarder is taking them, putting
them in his typewriter and typing quite happily, and then delivering
it to the airline.
As example one of the things they asked
for in Bangladesh was the ability to get rid of the manual stock, and
we said, well, who is demanding the manual stock?
The forwarder says it is the airline;
the airline says it is Customs and Customs says it is the banks.
basically we’re drowning in paperwork and as the well-worn story
says air cargo can fill eighty 747s a year with all this paperwork.
we’re working with the community in Bangladesh to remove the need
for manual stock – it’s a huge cost. We want to move to
the A4 airway bill, that way you can just print the airway bill and
get rid of all this stock.
are your more immediate plans for Calogi?
We’d certainly like three reference sites in each of the major
continents: three in America, three in South America, three in Europe
and three in Asia.
would you go in America?
We’d have to look at that. There are some large airports there
that are looking to compete with their neighbors.
that Calogi has a rewards program
We designed a loyalty program so it can be run by anyone on the portal.
Currently, Calogi is running it’s own loyalty program and we’re
basing that on transactions – we give the forwarders points for
every transaction that they commit to Calogi.
Dnata started a loyalty program as of
April 1st, and they will be basing that on revenue.
The program is flexible enough that it
can be based on tonnage, revenue, transactions – it’s entirely
up to you. What we’re now doing is we’re going to be marketing
this to airlines. For instance, an airline will be able to offer loyalty
points and target specific customers with those points; it can set up
a loyalty program for everyone on the portal, or specific targeted agents.
And it can do it based on rates, revenue,
transactions, routing – we built that flexibility in.
are the points good for?
Well, you can either get a credit to your account, or you can ask for
a cash voucher.
pay you to do business with us! When did the loyalty program start?
Our loyalty program started February 27th, so we had a big function
in Dubai to celebrate.
can Calogi do to help make air cargo ‘greener?’
we’ve got an online CCA, all the invoices are online, the statement
of accounts is online, the airline sales report is online, the stock
reports are online, absolutely everything is online.
So if you get a Calogi subscription everything
is made available to you online.
There’s no need to print anything
you ever estimated how much of the environment is being saved using
the online system in terms of paper and a carbon footprint?
Calogi estimates that on a yearly basis, if no one prints the documents,
we save 22-acres of rainforest in Dubai alone.