How This Logistics Startup Pushed for Digitalisation in a Traditional Industry

Written by
Zachary Pestana
Last Modified on
December 19, 2023

The logistic industry is one of the most important driving forces in our economy today, especially in a thriving business hub like Singapore. As an established global logistics hub, the local logistics industry needs reliable solutions that don’t just enhance current workflows, but also moves with the times. That’s where Haulio comes in.

Founded in 2017, Haulio is a Singapore based, SouthEast Asia focused start-up that connects hauliers and shippers, to better streamline their fleet management and trucking services in real-time. Haulio’s mission is to take that step even further by building technological solutions for the industry  to keep abreast of technological advancements despite the evolving digital climate. Today, more than 90% of hauliers in the country are connected to its platform with 50% of them active on a monthly basis.

With their consistent revenue figures and developed track record, they were able to seal pre-series A funding to optimise their user base and product offerings even further. On top of that, they’ve also landed a new investor, Supply Chain Angels, the corporate arm of YCH Group and one of Singapore’s largest supply chain companies with a strong regional presence in Southeast Asia.

We speak to Alvin Ea, Co-Founder and CEO of Haulio to learn how Haulio has grown from a humble logistics tech firm to Singapore’s largest container haulage platform today.

Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your company.

I am Alvin Ea, the co-founder and CEO of Haulio and I’ve been in the logistics industry for close to 10 years now. Our vision is to digitize Southeast Asia Container Logistics with 100% coverage across the region, with our mission to uplift the millions of hauliers lives by empowering them with our technology. Our role is to bring an efficient and intelligent haulage community together through a range of collaborative digital tools, that connect global trade to local first-mile transportation across Southeast Asia. Today, Haulio is Singapore’s largest digital container haulage network, with a fast-growing presence in Thailand and Indonesia.

How did the idea for Haulio first come about? What problem were you trying to solve?

My co-founder, Sebastian Shen, was working as a tech consultant—helping clients marry the latest in mobile and web technologies to overcome business challenges. One of his projects was in the container trucking industry, and that’s where he realized the many inefficiencies in the industry. Meanwhile, I was a second-generation 3PL business owner, founding my family business’ container trucking business unit.  As such, I knew firsthand the pain points of the industry, while Sebastian was the “tech” guy. We were introduced to each other via a mutual friend, and the rest was history.

Haulio team photo

What has been the highlight of your journey in building Haulio to date?

The highlight is being able to make a difference in the lives of our hauliers. With technology, we can transform the work of haulage drivers and help hauliers with their cash flow and working capital. I am very proud of what Haulio is doing today in rethinking how Container Trucking should be done and we will continue to do for the industry across the region.

What was the toughest challenge you faced on your journey in building Haulio, and how did you overcome it?

The biggest obstacle for our business is the same for most if not all B2B businesses: longer conversion cycles and widespread change in traditional business workflows, which usually take a long time to amend and implement. The mindset shift for the generally “older” business owners are still not as immediate.
Businesses take time to implement changes. With supply chain companies being made up of various stakeholders and departments that have differing KPIs, the challenge is getting these companies to fully adapt to the changes and move towards a digital platform for the booking and execution of their daily container haulage requirements.

How has covid affected your business and what has changed as a result?

Being in the logistics business, Haulio was not as impacted as other industries, thankfully. In fact, we saw positive revenue and GP growth despite COVID-19. However, one notable change is the shifting of many operations online, and the greater adoption of digital solutions in the industry.

Haulio team photo

What made you decide to use Aspire?

Haulio founder Alvin Ea talks about his positive review using Aspire Business Account

Aspire is regional and the process of setting up an account is very easy. On top of that, we save a lot on the foreign exchange prices when paying our employees overseas as well.

What’s your favourite feature of Aspire?

It would have to be the favourable FX rates when making overseas payments.

As a founder, what is the best piece of advice you’ve received?

You need to be very passionate and committed to your cause, as you will always be doubted and tested in terms of your vision for what you want to do.

What advice do you have for other founders who are starting on their journeys?

Be the change you wish to see in this world. There’s no problem too big to solve, even in a highly fragmented industry like ours where you require all the various stakeholders to say “yes”. The least you can do is to try. There will be many walls and obstacles that will come your way,  but you just need to learn to deal with them one at a time.

What’s next for Haulio?

Apart from continually building our product for our users, we are currently building a suite of ancillary services for our partners. We’re also excited for new developments outside of Singapore, so stay tuned!

While traditional workflows have worked long before the rise of business technologies, embracing digital transformation is essential for staying afloat in this day and age and to enable businesses to move forward and get ahead. For the case of Haulio, this has worked tremendously for them.

Regardless of your industry, Aspire provides financial services that save your firm valuable time and money, which is better invested into your core business. By providing  an all in one finance platform and an intuitive digital experiences through our all-in-one business account, businesses like Haulio use Aspire to eliminate unnecessary spend, reduce time away from the core business, and bring peace of mind to founders, business owners, and finance teams.

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About the author
Zachary Pestana
is a seasoned writer in market trends and business thought leadership. With a writing history at Incorp Global, MOQdigital, and AIESEC Australia, Zachary leverages his broad range of experiences to stimulate industry conversations and engage audiences.
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