International Finance
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Start-up of the Week: BLK Global revolutionises raw material trade

IFM_BLK Global
Through a digital business model, BLK Global has brought elements like openness and transparency in the commodities market, where businesses are paying real value for the goods they want to buy

Glasgow-based “BLK Global” has established itself as the “Amazon of Raw Materials.” The venture, formed in 2018, believes that everyone, regardless of the size of their businesses, should pay the real value for the goods they need.

Thus remaining true to this value, the venture leveraged the power of the internet and the well consolidated approach of e-commerce and then applied it to the trading of commodities, raw materials and industrial supplies. The result has been an astounding one, with over USD 5.6 billion commodities being traded on BLK Global’s digital marketplace so far. The venture, apart from currently registering a 270% quarterly growth, had a revenue flow of USD 4.6 million revenue flow in 2023.

In today’s episode of the “Start-up of the Week,” International Finance will talk about the venture in detail.

Knowing The Company

BLK Global has established itself as an “Online Spot Market” for the commodities, as millions of buyers, sellers and shippers around the world are getting to access and supply their products at spot market prices. Through this approach, the venture is addressing a clear gap that exists in the commodities market: the absence of direct access by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to worldwide producers of raw materials, commodities and industrial supplies.

Every year, over 9 billion tons of raw materials are purchased and shipped around the world. However, the process gets plagued by price inflation.

“Only a few parties have access to upstream supply chains: mainly banks, traders, and brokers. Raw materials pass from hand to hand before reaching their final stage of distribution, with their price continuing to grow until they finally reach the retail shelf. At BLK, we want to fix this. And we are doing it using the power of the internet, using the well-established approach of e-commerce and applying it to the sale, purchase and shipping of raw materials,” the venture stated further.

“If you are a manufacturing business, a wholesaler, a retailer looking to optimise your supply chain or if you are a producer or a seller of raw materials or industrial supplies, BLK is the platform for you. You can search, filter and choose the materials you need, at their actual market price,” it continued.

Through a digital business model, BLK Global has brought elements like openness and transparency in the commodities market, where businesses are paying real value for the goods they want to buy. In the coming days, BLK Global wants to see the online spot market operating in a way where SMEs will connect and compete with themselves, thereby unlocking endless opportunities and re-distributing wealth around the world.

“We are doing this (fulfilling the above goal) through BLK Marketplace, our secure, efficient and reliable platform that enables buyers to connect with sellers and shippers anywhere in the world, buy with a click of a button or with a single tap on their phones,” the venture noted.

BLK Global’s mission is to deliver value at every level of supply chains. Be it a business looking to procure goods and pay their true market price, a commodity seller looking to grow and expand his/her customer base or a shipper looking for new opportunities, BLK has solutions for everyone. All it takes for these parties is to register themselves with the venture’s online portal in less than 30 seconds. The process is also a free one. For the sellers/shippers, they just need to pay a commission as low as 1.19% only for the goods they sell/ship.

Knowing The Key Solutions

For commodity buyers, BLK Global provides instant access to the online spot market, where they can search and buy the products they need, that too at the actual value. If the buyers are looking to acquire commodities in large quantities, they can request quotations for the products directly from the seller and get the most competitive price for it. Through the venture’s “Integrated Dashboard,” the commodity buyers can keep close track of their orders, RFQs (Request for Quotation) and manage their shipping activities.

“All the tools you need to source and get the products you need quickly and seamlessly are in one place, easily accessible,” the venture stated further.

BLK Global’s smart system automatically generates and sends purchase orders and matching invoices, which get delivered to commodity buyers instantly. The start-up also takes card payments, making the purchasing process fast and easy. Thanks to this, buyers can spend less time sorting their invoices, preparing purchase orders and making payments.

For commodity sellers, instant access to the online spot market means that they can sell their products to access millions of customers worldwide, keep an eye on what their competitors are doing and make sure that their price is always right.

BLK Global’s accurate categorisation ensures that the sellers’ products are always relevant to specific customers, which means driving hot leads to their web pages with a 90% increased likelihood of converting into sales. The sellers can also keep close track of their sales, and RFQs and manage their orders.

The categorisation provides the commodity sellers with all the tools they need for their businesses in one place, easily accessible. They can also select, create and download customised reports to keep track of their sales performance. BLK Global’s “Automatic Invoicing and PO Creation” automatically generates and sends purchase orders and matching invoices, which are delivered to buyers instantly. The tool ensures improved resource management, decreasing the sellers’ staff workload whilst ensuring that all of their invoices get delivered and paid on time.

Excellence in Shipping and Supply Chain Games

Before establishing “BLK Global” in 2018, the venture’s leadership already possessed nearly 50 years of collective experience in commercial shipping. Now, it is using this experience to rebuild the shipping infrastructure competitively and efficiently, especially when it comes to commodity trading. “BLK Shipping” leverages its fleet of time-chartered vessels to offer flexible voyage solutions across all bulk segments.

Using the solution, commodity traders can ship their cargo at the most competitive freight rates. The venture’s dedicated marine operations team takes over the vessels’ commercial operations, ensuring that the traders don’t have to allocate their internal resources to supervise the shipping, and liaise with ports, agents, vessels, etc.

“BLK Shipping” also builds dedicated shipping routes for commodity traders, allocating vessels on a liner service wherever possible, and aggregating cargoes from other shippers to ensure two-way laden legs and minimum freight rates. The venture also helps the commodity traders to reduce their carbon footprints by sourcing from local suppliers, or by pooling several commodity volumes together, apart from shipping the goods in the most eco-friendly way and reducing the overall carbon footprint from the supply chain.

Availing of BLK Shipping’s services also means that commodity traders can earn from the carbon footprint reduction by trading their carbon allowances on the European Carbon Exchange.

Let’s conclude our article by highlighting BLK’s expertise in supply chain, category, commercial and project management. They help make the operations of commodity sector’s players leaner, effective, and profitable.

What are the ways to achieve the above goals? By pooling the purchasing volume of companies with that of other buyers all over the United Kingdom and Italy, using the aggregated purchasing power in the process to negotiate better deals with suppliers the BLK scouts.

The venture also vets and negotiates with suppliers on the client company’s behalf, organising the logistics and delivering an end-to-end category management solution to keep fixed costs as lean as possible while cutting the commodity sales costs.

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