Earlier this week, Chicago-based project44, technology services provider offering standardized, secure Web service API (application programming interfaces) integrations enabling 3PLs and shippers to connect with carriers in real time, announced it has acquired Rostock, Germany-based Ocean Insights, a provider of ocean freight intelligence services.
A purchase price for the transaction was not disclosed.
Established in 2012, Ocean Insights established a blueprint for ocean freight visibility by meshing carrier data, live vessel tracking and sailing schedule data in a singular data-rich platform, according to project44. The company tracks 35,000 containers on a daily basis and provides track and trace functionality for the majority of ocean container shipping lines, 700 ports and more than 5,000 vessels, while also handling more than 5 million sailing schedule changes on a daily basis.
Ocean Insights serves a wide range of shipper and logistics services customers, including: International Food Group (Sysco), Pernod Ricard, FourKites and companies in other sectors like automotive, manufacturing, food & beverage, commodity trading, chemical and freight forwarding. What’s more, project44 observed that some companies are ahead of the game in that they are already leveraging both Ocean Insights and project44 such as DB Schenker, Hellmann Worldwide Logistics, Kuehne + Nagel, Lenovo, and Mondi Group.
Vernon O’Donnell, project44 Chief Product and Services Officer, said this transaction was in the works for about six months, leading up to this week’s announcement that it was a done deal.
In terms of how this deal will benefit project44’s shipper customers, O’Donnell observed that beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) and shippers are getting squeezed at the ports and are desperate for relief.
“There is more freight coming into ports than they can handle, creating a record number of vessels waiting to get unloaded,” he said. “project44 and Ocean Insights provide relief for freight on the water and freight at origin. Ocean Insights’ advanced algorithms are integrated with hyper-accurate vessel sailing schedules and detailed cargo rolling data to help shippers select the best possible carrier and vessel booking to avoid the worst of the port congestion.
He also noted that Ocean Insights also tracks all commercial vessels down to the berthing slots at each terminal in the ports.
“Its AI-powered algorithms process massive amounts of data for the most accurate predictions of when those containers can be picked up,” he said. “This can be paired with project44’s top-quality over-the-road data to tell shippers when their freight will make it to the warehouse. Unfortunately, ports are going to be a mess for a while since there’s so much imbalance in the system. The best thing shippers and BCOs can do is invest in supply chain digitalization and real-time visibility.”
As for what drove the need for project44 to acquire Ocean Insights, O’Donnell said that project44 already had strong ocean capabilities and was planning a major ocean-focused release in the first quarter, but big enterprise shippers were pushing project44 to quickly evolve its ocean capabilities.
“This acquisition accelerates project44’s ocean capabilities by about 18 months,” he said. “Ocean Insights expands on project44’s solutions by adding the broadest container tracking capabilities in the market, as well as one-of-a-kind sailing schedule and ocean analytics products. project44 now has an unrivaled set of multi-modal solutions for end-to-end supply chain visibility.”
When asked what the biggest competitive advantages of this deal are from a project44 perspective, O’Donnell said that unlike most visibility providers who depend on third parties for ocean tracking data, Ocean Insights built native integrations with shipping lines to ingest data directly from the source, giving customers the richest visibility across global ocean container shipments.
“Ocean Insights is also unique in its data analytics offering, providing customers advanced insight into unforeseen events and overall shipping trends,” he said. “project44 already leads the industry in over-the-road, rail, and air visibility solutions, and the acquisition expands ocean visibility capabilities to offer the most complete, end-to-end, global and multi-modal supply chain visibility solution. Ocean Insights has been a partner to other key players in project44’s space, so this acquisition positions project44 further as the leader in the visibility market and opened avenues for new customers.”
About the Author
Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman