The whole story started in 2011, when Mr. Julien Chapus, founder and CEO of OKARGO got acquainted with the ocean transport business through his employment with MSC, a leading ocean carrier.
In his line of work, he distributed rates to numerous freight forwarders and noticed they regularly complained about the complexity of the processes involved and the differences in formats between carriers.
When his contract came to an end, he left the company and started investigating possible ways of optimizing rate management on the client’s side. In order to make sure his ideas were fully substantiated and in line with real freight forwarding experience, he gradually took up internships with three independent freight forwarders.
He carefully listened to comments from seasoned sea freight professionals and gathered his own first-hand experience, putting together a complete picture of the needs of the freight forwarding community in the field of rate management. He continuously consulted his father and current President of OKARGO, Mr. Georges Chapus, a long-time sea freight professional with nearly 40 years of experience, and in 2013, they came to the conclusion it was time to put things in motion. OKARGO was born! With their HQ based in Marseille, Mr. Chapus selected the city of Bratislava, Slovakia as a base for the Customer Service Team due to a combination of cost benefits and cultural and geographical/cultural proximity, as well as his previous positive experience with the Slovak business environment. OKARGO thus became a fully EU-based provider of external rate management, which is greatly appreciated by its clients.
The first OKARGO solution was a rather simple database tool based on Microsoft Access, with which OKARGO won its first customers, however, it was clear from the outside that the future lies in online, cloud-based solutions. Such a solution was successfully introduced to the market in 2014 and became the basis for the product OKARGO clients know today.
Close communication with customers and careful evaluation of their feedback remained the key business principle of OKARGO and main source of ideas for further product development. The tool has been gradually enhanced with features requested by customers such as various search options, the multiport feature or the inland module currently being developed. In 2017, a quotation module was implemented, transforming the system from a strictly purchasing tool into a tool for both purchasing & sales.
Another milestone in the company’s history was its expansion from France into several foreign markets with strong sea freight forwarding communities, which took place in 2016. OKARGO is now used by clients in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and Belgium and continues to grow.