GPU Logistics aims to fill empty trailers

By: Rob McKay

Former Toll manager moves from personal transport to small fleets and owner-drivers

GPU Logistics aims to fill empty trailers
Daniel Rombouts is bringing experience to bear on a new service.


While parcel disruptors have garnered Australian headlines recently, those looking to shake up interstate haulage and metro-distribution are less common.

Enter GPU Logistics, which founder and CEO Daniel Rombouts says is looking to use a technology proven in personal transport to tackle, initially, full trailer load east coast line-haul movements and local Sydney Metro deliveries.

The service will focus on work opportunities for tow operators, singles and B-doubles.

"GPU Logistics is a disruptive transport business using technology to aggregate owner drivers and small fleet operators Australia-wide providing them with access to extra loads, whilst at the same time servicing clients with a fully compliant operator network and the ability to reduce transport costs through the use of technology," Rombouts says.

"The GPU Logistics platform automates most processes traditionally performed by people within a transport business, from online booking through to allocation and order tracking, and is able to deliver clients a more competitively priced service as a result."

While parcel delivery disruptors are making waves and garnering the interest of financiers, Rombouts’ focus is elsewhere.

"It is a similar model however there is extremely high driver turnover and low-skilled workers along with a very small transaction size. 

"I preferred to focus GPU Logistics on heavy trucking initially as owner drivers are generally in the industry long term, and have made significant investment into their operation with the cost of capital and are more skilled operators who are more motivated towards safety and service.

"Whilst technology is providing benefits in the parcel delivery space, in my view the yield from that technology is relatively low in comparison to applying our platform to solve the inefficiencies within heavy transport.

"Roughly between 35 and 37 per cent of heavy vehicles travel empty at any time which represents a large opportunity to provide fleet optimisation solutions in this space."

GPU currently has a small team of employees but is currently fully owned by Rombouts.

This will change once the funding round closes and investors are brought onboard.

The targets are mid-tier clients seeking economic and compliant transport and fleet operators able to offload excess bookings onto its platform at discretionary prices allowing them to leverage off operators on its network travelling empty in a particular direction.

"For drivers it is free to join, and we earn money by taking a commission from each load we provide," Rombouts says.

His target sectors reflect somewhat his background as business manager and operations manager for Woolworths Sydney basin with Toll and before that with time at small northern Sydney firm Delivery and Assembly Solutions.

The latter firm operated as a partnership working the Sydney metropolitan area completing delivery and assembly work along with high end furniture deliveries, using seven vans and small pantechs.

It was formed when part time distribution work led to well-paid supervisor’s position.

During his stint at Toll, ideas he had about freight transport crystallised.

"After a number of years, I was looking for a new challenge and wanted to move into the management aspect of transport and thought this would be achieved best via aggregation technology," Rombouts says.

The technology platform and apps were initially developed through offshore programmers through online freelance IT work site Upwork, previously Odesk.

"Initially there were a large number of false starts with programmers until I could find a team who understood the requirements and had the capability to deliver.

"During the start of the business it was a slow process to gain traction in the personal/taxi transport.

"During that time I got a job at Toll initially as a supervisor but had the opportunity to progress through the business extremely quickly to business manager role.

"During my two and a half years at Toll, I realised the much larger application of the platform to the wider road transport market and broadened the scope of the platform to move into this area."

The time at Toll underlined the crucial aspect compliance assurance and pointed to how it could be made a pillar of the enterprise

"Compliance documents requirements are similar to what a larger business like Toll would require," he says.

"All documentation is uploaded online, however this is manually checked and verified by GPU staff.

"Once the expiry date on a document is reached, operators are automatically prevented from accessing further work opportunities via GPU until new documents are uploaded and verified."



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