- Descartes Systems, a logistics data and technology company and software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider, has acquired Kontainers, which specializes in digital freight platforms, for $12 million, the company announced Thursday.
- Kontainers' technology helps carriers, freight forwarders and logistics companies create platforms to facilitate instant quoting, booking, and tracking of shipments alongside dashboard capabilities.
- "When added to the Global Logistics Network, we’ll also have the ability to offer a pre-integrated solution that combines Kontainers' digital freight execution with Descartes’ rate management and forwarder enterprise systems," Graham Parker, the co-founder of Kontainers and now VP of sales digital freight solutions at Descartes, said in a statement. The Global Logistics Network connects trading partners across multiple modes of transportation and allows for document and data exchange, according to the company's website.
The disruption businesses have experienced in the last few months has placed more focus on digital transformation, Descartes CEO Edward J. Ryan said in the press release.
"Logistics services providers operate on tight margins," Ryan said. "Those that don't move quickly to digitize their customer experience will be faced with higher costs to serve. Without the proper real-time connections between client-facing platforms and the quoting, rating and booking systems that this digitization brings, [logistics services providers] will struggle to efficiently meet customer demand in today’s dynamic market."
Kontainers' technology allows freight forwarders or carriers to create a branded site for taking online bookings. A company can create a booking platform using Kontainers in four weeks, according to the company's promotional material.
Digital freight platforms have become increasingly important in the world of supply chain. Shippers see the tools as ways to get more collaboration and transparency compared to traditional brokerage.
Descartes Systems has acquired a variety of technology and logistics companies in recent years including 4Solutions, MacroPoint, Aljex and CORE Transport. Each acquisition adds nodes to its Global Logistics Network with the Kontainers deal being the latest step toward becoming a one-stop-shop for supply chain digitization.
In 2018, Kontainers claimed the booking platforms of a quarter of the top 20 "global shipping brands," which included ship.maersk.com. It will also help smaller companies with less cash flow invest in technology overhauls, Parker told The Loadstar last year.
The coronavirus pandemic has placed even more importance on technology for all companies, not just supply chain partners. As a result, 34% of companies plan to use automation to improve the speed and accuracy of decision-making, and 31% plan to extend tools to better understand customer demand, according to a survey of 288 CFOs completed by PwC last month.