By Jack Glenn Oct 9 2019 / FREIGHT WAVES
When it comes to moving freight across borders, especially between the United States and Mexico, calling it challenging would be an understatement. Forager Logistics CEO and co-founder Matt Silver has made it his mission to bring calm to the chaos involved in cross-border shipping.
Silver explains how he solves shippers’ problems with FreightWaves CEO Craig Fuller as part of the FreightWavesTV show “Fuller Speed Ahead.”
“Forager is a cross-border and drayage-focused platform that’s building technology to try to automate as much as possible within the entire supply-chain ecosystem,” Silver said.
Forager is a cross-border freight brokerage based in Chicago. The company is primarily focused on the cross-border trucking market between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. According to Silver, it’s a $20 billion industry.
While the headlines are focused on trade wars between the U.S. and China, Fuller noted, it’s easy to forget that the United States’ largest trading partners are its neighbors, Canada and Mexico.
Although geographically connected to the U.S., carriers can face many barriers when hauling goods north and south of the border, not including the border wall.
“With Mexico specifically, there are anywhere between five and eight different parties involved in a single shipment,” said Silver. “You’ve got the U.S. and Mexico trucking companies, the border transfer guy, a warehouse potentially where you’re going to cross-dock it, a U.S.-Mexico customs broker, plus the shipper and receiver on top of it and two different languages. Putting all that stuff together takes a whole village to move a load across the border.”
Silver wants to automate the entire process to ensure businesses their freight gets from A to B on time with no worries. But on top of the regulatory pressures that come from cross-border shipping, one can’t help but worry about the safety of the cargo. Areas south of the border are notorious for cargo theft, but Silver noted that his company is no stranger to the risk and said Forager provides the proper security requirements for its customers’ loads.
“We have insurance for all the freight in Mexico, which most people don’t have, so we’re adding that separate layer on top of the security piece to ensure it even if there is an issue,” Silver said.
Forager Logistics is the result of Silver’s passion for cross-border freight. His fascination with the industry began while building Mexican sales strategies for Coyote Logistics LLC, the freight brokerage founded by his parents, Jeff and Marianne Silver.
Growing up the son of the industry experts, freight wasn’t an interest to Silver at an early age.
“When I was growing up, people always asked me what my parents did for a living, and I always said it was something with trucks. I had no idea what it was. I know I played with toy trucks as a little kid,” said Silver.
But that quickly changed for Silver as he learned the ins and outs of freight brokering from his parents. After a successful tenure with Coyote, Silver decided to take on a new challenge.
“When I left Coyote, my thought was to go work for a technology company that was kind of in the logistics space but not directly involved in it,” Silver said.
He looked for a company that combined technology with freight logistics but was ultimately persuaded to start his own, which he did this year.
“I like to say that we’re a technology company that happens to be phenomenal at moving freight,” Silver said.
Although Forager’s doors just opened, Silver said the company’s leaders have years of experience. His team has collective backgrounds with Coyote Logistics, Amazon, Uber and Apple, just to name a few.
“At the end of the day, we have the logistics DNA,” Silver said. “We’ve lived it and breathed it, we understand how it works. I try to put myself in my customers’ shoes to understand what they need.”
Silver was born into freight logistics and looks to continue his family’s legacy with his cross-border freight brokerage.
“I’m very proud to be a part of the industry, trying to do something a little bit different, but at the same time, there’s not anyone I learned more from than my parents in terms of how to grow a successful business, how to scale it and how to create the right culture,” Silver said.