Global Freight Exchange was formed in November 1998, but it must feel like more than three years to Todd Morgan, co-chief executive of the Internet-based marketplace. Morgan regularly puts in 18 hours a day, and he's probably spent the equivalent of at least a year's normal work time at airports or in planes since he and co-chief executive David Ravech launched GF-X, which they describe as a neutral trading platform for airlines and
forwarders.Unlike most other dot-coms formed in the Internet frenzy of the late 1990s, GF-X is still standing, thanks to the support of 17 leading airlines and freight forwarders. Several, including Lufthansa German Airlines, Danzas AEI,
American Airlines and British Airways, have invested in the service, designed to replace the countless faxes and phone calls that characterize the traditional airfreight booking process. Other investors include Morgan Stanley, Consolidated Press Holdings and Deutsche Post World Net.
The recession and the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 slowed the progress of GF-X this year. 'We recognize the need to be flexible with our clients and potential clients,' says Morgan, 36, an American who now calls London his home. 'We have great aspirations for 2002.'
One disappointment has been the failure to retain any Asian airlines or forwarders as clients despite Morgan's numerous trips to Asia. Taiwan-based China Airlines and Japan-based Yusen Air & Sea Forwarders both worked with GF-X, but decided not to stay with the service.
Asian carriers were especially hard hit by the slowdown in technology exports that began late last year. Nonetheless, Morgan says, 'we're strongly committed to Asia and driving transactions in Asia.'