Digital freight forwarder Twill celebrates first anniversary of making shipping simple

Maersk  start-up is now live in over 10 countries in just 12 months

The Hague, NL – 17 April 2018 – This week, Twill is celebrating its first anniversary following a year of rapid technology development for the digital freight forwarding platform. The company now operates in more than 10 countries, with ambitions to add 15 more countries to the platform in 2018.

Launched in April 2017, the idea behind Twill was to disrupt the freight forwarding industry, using the expertise and global footprint of partner company Damco (part of A.P. Moller – Maersk).

Troels Stovring, CEO of Twill commented: “When we started Twill, we were very excited about the opportunity of building a product from scratch. The platform exists to allow our customers to focus on their core business and leave us to handle their shipments, and we are striving to change the face of freight forwarding and make shipping simple in the digital world in which we live.”

Vincent Clerc, Chief Commercial Officer at Maersk commented: “With Twill, we are making shipping simple for our customers. We are unleashing a new-normal in an industry which is hungry for technological change and our reason for setting up Twill last year was down to the fact that digitalization is at the core of our vision to become the global integrator of container logistics, connecting and simplifying our customers’ supply chains – and that’s truly taking shape thanks to initiatives like Twill.”

Twill’s product journey so far

The original aim of the Twill platform was to allow customers to:

  • Place a booking instantly – 80% of bookings are completed within 3 minutes, and 30% within 1 minute
  • Create a central repository for storing all shipping paperwork – avoiding significant financial loss for customers through the process if documents are incorrect or missing
  • Receive instant notifications regarding the process of their shipment – minimizing the impact of exceptions

Historically, customers had to build up a relationship with multiple freight forwarders and actively follow up with them to get quotations and learn the progress of their shipment. The goal of Twill is to innovate this industry and improve the cumbersome process to ultimately make shipping simple.

“We have achieved a lot in the last 12 months, but the journey of Twill is far from finished – our ambitions are still high,” concluded Stovring. “In the coming months we are, for example, looking into enabling instant signup for new customers, undertaking deeper learning to further automate our operations, and exposing the Twill platform via web services so that other 3rd parties can integrate with Twill. There’s a lot of innovation still to come!”

Notes to editors:

So how does Twill work?

Once a customer has decided to use Twill for shipping their goods and has created a booking (the term used within Twill to indicate a shipment from source to destination), the counter-party will be requested to acknowledge the booking.

Once confirmed, the booking will be sent to the most appropriate carrier. From that moment on the freight forwarder, under the supervision of Twill, is responsible for delivering the goods to the destination.

In order to keep the customer well informed throughout the shipment, its progress is tracked via integration between the Twill system and that of the freight forwarder. Due to this coupling, Twill can notify the customer about the progress but also warn when action is required.

Such action could be, for example, confirming documents or uploading mandatory documents. By uploading all booking-related documents into the Twill system, tracking the notifications, conversations and acknowledgements, Twill implicitly builds up an audit trail that can be later consulted if there are any disputes regarding the shipment.

Tech features

And there are a number of specific features which set Twill apart from its competition:

  • Cloud-based solution – as Twill continues to expand into more and more countries around the globe, the platform must be able to sustain the load required on its performance. To guarantee this delivery, the platform consists of multiple distributed services, all deployed within the cloud. That means that Twill can scale dynamically when the need arises.
  • Data integration – in order to provide the best price and vessel schedules for its customers, Twill has to integrate a huge amount of data from a number of different sources. To manage this process, the Twill platform is constantly retrieving the prices and vessel schedules from different carriers and solving inconsistencies automatically without ‘manual’ intervention.
  • Avoiding bugs – like any complex software, unforeseen situations and bugs can be expected. To address this and minimize changes, all code that is written by Twill’s developers is verified by automated tests during the platform’s development cycles. If, even after all these pre-cautions, a bug occurs the development team is able to release fixes in just a couple of hours due to the fully-automated building and releasing of the platform.