There’s been a lot of buzz in the past year about digital freight-booking companies. It continues with the massive container shipping company, A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S and Ports America, the single biggest terminal operator in the U.S., putting their money into a new digital freight-scheduling service geared toward improving the flow of cargo through maritime gateways.
It’s true, Maersk’s venture-capital component spearheaded a $19 million funding round for Loadsmart Inc. to help foster a new service for the port division of the trucking market. Just last years other investors, Connor Capital SB and Chromo Invest, also participated in a $21.6 million round for Loadsmart. The logistics company has now raised $53.4 million since it was born just five years ago.
According to company officials, they are not classifying this a Series B funding round due to the fact that the money is directed at a particular product and not offered as general support for the company.
Loadsmart intends to utilize the new backing to employ additional engineers, data scientists and product managers while it unveils its load-matching product. The goal of this service is to trim container-terminal bottlenecks at port terminals.
This particular segment of the business, called drayage, is a specific but crucial aspect in supply chains. Here, trucks transport containers between ports and distribution hubs. These trips tend to be less than 50 miles long.
Unfortunately, this process can be frustrating in its incredible inefficiency. The reason for this is that trucks are often backed up at the big ports during active shipping times. Terminal companies are often slow at sorting through thousands of boxes that are scheduled to be shipped.
This new Loadsmart service links truck drivers with the optimum available container based on current appointments, wait time, travel distance as well as other factors. Basically, the platform gets in tune with terminal’s operating system in order to track containers. Then it lets carriers know when containers matching their preferences are taken off vessels.
“You already know what length of haul he operates and you are able to give him not the container he is looking for, but the one that sits on top of the stack and requires no shuffling,” said Loadsmart Chief Executive and co-founder Ricardo Salgado. “So we are wired in to the truckers, and wired into the port.”
What do you all think? Will this improve efficiency at the ports?