Nigeria’s OnePort 365 lands $5 million to digitize freight management in Africa – TechCrunch

The global shipping industry oversees the movement and handling of over 800 million containers in various ports around the world. Africa controls about 12% of this volume, with its clearing and transit market amounting to nearly $4 billion.

That said, the cargo space in Africa faces many challenges. Some include congestion at ports, opaque service provider processes, fragmented payments, and poor visibility and documentation.

These were the four main challenges Hio Sola-Usidame which he ran while running Logigrains, a company he founded in 2016 that is active in logistics and commodity trading. OnePort 365 was the business he started three years later to tackle these issues in the freight management space in Africa. And in a new development, the three-year-old startup confirmed to TechCrunch that it has raised $5 million in seed funding.

Founder and CEO Sola-Usidame told TechCrunch that, based on his experience working in the freight transportation space, generating a quote for a shipment takes about 10-14 days. According to the founder, most of the processes involved in the supply chain are manual, which is why generating quotes takes time.

“Typically, these guys have to deal with up to 10 different intermediaries. The way it works is this, there’s probably about six different channels involved – you have a trucking phase, you have a customs broker, you have a terminal, you have shipping, you have a warehouse, and then you have marine insurance,” he said. “To date, I can tell you that 80% of transactions are largely done offline.”

Suppose this hurdle is cleared, the next to clear becomes visibility, where Sola-Usidame claims that out of 10 trucks leaving Nigerian ports, three disappear in transit; the reason is that just over 20% of them have a tracking system.

“What you’re seeing is a situation where a cargo worth $100,000 is transported by a truck driver who makes $400, and as a result there’s a lot of theft happening because ‘there is no visibility,’ he said, giving more description. “If you can track your UPS package worth less than $100, why can’t the guy load $100,000 of freight into a container lane where that container is in Africa?”

When it comes to payments, senders use different payment methods on singular channels. Furthermore, documentation in Africa is essentially pen and paper, while the rest of the shipping and freight industry globally has moved to electronic bills of lading.

OnePort 365 says its platform solves these problems by providing end-to-end digitization of freight management for stakeholders in this space. It builds an operating system for cross-border trade in Africa, helping traders manage their freight forwarding processes and enabling other value-added services, the company said in a statement.

The CEO says his startup, which has a presence in Nigeria and Ghana, is reducing booking time from 10 to 14 days to “minutes”. Merchants can also connect with shipping and domestic shipping providers and manage the entire process (from booking to payments), including real-time visibility of their shipments. And in terms of payments, OnePort 365 claims to bundle different methods enabled by the Pan African Payments and Settlement System (PAPSS) so that merchants have access to instant payments.

OnePort 365 kicked off throughout its first year. Although the CEO did not share booking and user figures, he did reveal that his company had increased the number of twenty-foot equivalent containers (TEUs) by 140% and increased revenue by more than 420% the last year. Its professional clients have also increased from 5 to 50.

Hio Sola-Usidame (CEO, OnePort 365)

The round was led by Mobility 54, the VC arm of Toyota Tsusho and CFAO Group. Participating investors include SBI Investment, Flexport, ODX, a Singaporean syndicated fund and other angel investors. Samurai Incubate also followed after participating in the previous round of OnePort 365.

OnePort 365 says its platform covers air freight, ocean freight, ground transportation (trucking, barge, and rail), a la carte warehousing, marine insurance, and customs brokerage. The new funding will examine how the company can improve its efficiency and reduce the overhead of cross-border trade across the continent.

More money is also about trying to stay ahead of the competition as the cross-border logistics services market is expected to reach revenues of $32 billion by 2025. Several companies are needed for the market to reach its full potential, and so do there are a few known ones. : Jetstream from Ghana and SEND and MVX from Nigeria.

Sola-Usidame says his team, made up of Maersk and DHL alumni, have first-hand experience running traditional freight forwarding businesses, which gives the team a certain sharpness from the others.

“For us, we had experience running this in the traditional space before OnePort365, and that’s a huge advantage that gives us a lot of experience and a good understanding of the space, and that’s is what has led us to significant growth during this period, he mentioned.

The company plans to use the funding to add more people and expand to “three major hubs” across the continent before Q4 2022. Further capital deployments will be used to bolster its technology and provide commercial funding to senders.

“There is great potential to unlock significant business opportunities across the continent by addressing long-standing challenges that have made it difficult to move goods to and around the continent, and we are confident that OnePort 365 has what it needs. it takes to be successful,” said Takeshi Watanabe. , said the CEO of Mobility 54 Investment SAS in a press release.