US-based digital freight technology startup Loadsmart has announced they have raised $19m to embark on a major initiative to improve the flow of freight through American ports.
The latest round of investment follows Loadsmart’s $21.6m series A funding led by Maersk Growth, the venture capital arm of the Maersk Group, Connor Capital SB and Chromo Invest last year.
Ports America, the largest terminal operator in the US, joins Maersk Growth as an investor in the latest round, which brings total funding for the company to $53.4m.
The latest funding also comes just a month after Loadsmart teamed with San Francisco-based industrial automation provider Starsky Robotics to test a linkage between autonomous freight brokerage and self-driving trucks.
Loadsmart said it plans to use the freshly raised capital to promote its Smart Drayage initiative, which is intended to help 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 Ricardo Salgado, CEO and co-founder of Loadsmart.
“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,” Salgado added.
Maersk alone moves around 13m containers a year, accounting for around 15% of the world’s container market. Ports America operates 33 port terminals in 22 cities in the US and moves around 6.7m containers in and out of the country.
“At Maersk Growth we want to define the future of trade. 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,” said Sune Stilling, head of Maersk Growth.