Loadsmart Raises $19 Million For Major Drayage Initiative With Maersk And Ports America

By Amit Chowdhry ● September 10, 2019
  • Digital freight technology company Loadsmart announced it raised $19 million to set up an initiative to improve the flow of freight through American ports

Digital freight technology company Loadsmart recently announced it raised $19 million to set up a new initiative to improve the flow of freight through American ports. Ports America — the largest terminal operator and stevedore in the U.S. — is joining the investment arm of the world’s largest container ship and supply vessel operator Maersk Growth as an investor. Including this round of funding, Loadsmart has raised $53.4 million since being founded.

This investment will be leveraged for Loadsmart’s new Smart Drayage initiative thus helping industry participants rethink the flow of shipping containers through marine terminals and develop a free-flow model to accelerate the transit of goods through the largest ports in America.

“The free-flow model moves the industry from container-specific to container-agnostic. It means that truck drivers will be given the best container available when they arrive at the port, having pre-agreed with a specific mileage band trip” said Loadsmart CEO and co-founder Ricardo Salgado. “As a result, we project that truck drivers will be able to reduce their time to get in and out of the port by at least 25%. At the same time, we estimate that port operators will be able to reduce container shuffles by at least 50%, which is a huge efficiency gain.”

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According to FreightWaves research, there are more than 60 million drayage movements each year in North America, which represents a $50 billion plus market with ports contributing 26% to the U.S. gross domestic product. But due to lack of efficiency and transparency, 15 million man-hours and 2.3 billion gallons of fuel are wasted due to trucker congestion at ports.

“At Maersk Growth we want to define the future of trade,” added Maersk Growth’s Head of Growth Sune Stilling. “From the onset, we recognized the synergies between Maersk and Loadsmart and our joint opportunity to drive change through technology. Our partnership will increase inland business opportunities to add value to our clients.”

Maersk alone moves about 13 million containers a year (about 15% of the world’s container market). And Ports America operates 33 port terminals in 22 cities in the U.S. and moves around 6.7 million containers in and out of the country.

With the new drayage initiative, Loadsmart will leverage the data, expertise and industry knowledge of major industry players.

“As the only tri-coastal terminal operator, we are focused on providing value to supply chains through transparent and efficient terminal operations and in our pursuit to provide our customers with best-in-class service, we need to rethink how goods are moved more efficiently. Streamlining the drayage movement benefits our trucking community with faster turn times while providing cargo owners with better visibility and more efficient container retrievals,” explained Ports America president and CEO Mark Montgomery.

This announcement is also coinciding with the release of Loadsmart Drayage Instant Booking. And the new service is available via Loadsmart’s website and enables small and medium-sized shippers to book a drayage truck in seconds. And Loadsmart offers an API integrated solution for enterprise accounts.

“The addition of drayage to our established expertise in truckload services allows Loadsmart to provide integrated logistics services through technology. Our goal is to offer shippers of all sizes access to a fully integrated, seamless multi-modal end-to-end experience,” commented Loadsmart co-founder and chief product officer Felipe Capella.

Along with Ports America and Maersk Growth, Chromo Invest and Connor Capital SB (who also participated in the firm’s Series A funding last October) also participated in this intermodal-focused investment bringing the total investment in Loadsmart to date to $51.7 million.

“Chromo is here for the long haul. We are fully supportive of Loadsmart’s executive team in their technology-first approach, which will now become the standard for drayage as well,” noted Chromo Invest managing partner Marcelo Ferreira.

Loadsmart is also known for enabling shippers book a truck in seconds and provide instant and targeted loads to carriers.

“Logistics is a trillion-dollar industry worldwide which requires more technology and efficiency. We believe Loadsmart will be the technology platform bringing different players together in a scalable and integrated way,” Connor Capital SB managing partner Josh Connor pointed out.