Portchain raises $5m to help container ships dock on time and cut carbon emissions

February 19, 2024

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Portchain, the Danish tech platform to help container ships reduce fuel use and cut carbon emissions, has raised a $5m round from Angular Ventures. The funding will be used to make new hires, develop products and improve services, so the company can scale and win more of the global market of shipping carriers and terminals.

Portchain already counts a fifth of the world’s container terminal capacity in its network, with 100 terminals signed up to its Portchain Connect platform as customers since it launched less than two years ago. The Copenhagen headquartered firm has staff based in Dubai, The Netherlands, Turkey, Spain and Italy, and four percent of global container vessel calls are coordinated through Portchain. Major container carrier Hapag-Lloyd has also signed a five-year global agreement to roll out Portchain Connect across its network.

Portchain’s trio of co-founders first met at McKinsey where they worked on projects for shipping clients. They saw that teams in shipping carrier organizations and in the terminals were communicating on phones, email and WhatsApp, often sharing outdated information generated via legacy systems. Unaware terminals were full, vessels would sail to port at full speed, burning more fuel than necessary, only to be forced to wait outside for a slot. Data from the International Maritime Organisation shows that every hour a ship sits outside harbour it burns about four tonnes of fuel and emits 12 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

After spending four years building a network of industry stakeholders, creating a deep understanding of carrier and terminal planning operations and working on prototypes, the Portchain team unveiled Portchain Connect in 2021. The berth alignment platform builds on their first product, Portchain Quay, a planning tool for terminals to manage quay, crane and labor resources, and advances it to digitize the data exchange between terminals and container carriers. It provides the first single source of real-time information on a global scale to the complex web of terminals, vessels and supply chains.

Portchain Connect brings ‘just-in-time’ principles to shipping - allowing for ‘digital handshakes’ between terminals and carriers as they agree on when the vessel will arrive, how many containers it will bring and its arrival and departure times. It tracks changes to schedules, berth slots and sailing times and combines them with historical data and AI prediction tools. If the entire sector used Portchain's Just-In-Time Berth Alignment platform, its fuel consumption would be reduced by 14 percent, equivalent to taking more than seven million cars off the road.

“Billions of dollars are wasted and millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide are emitted each year when container vessels are forced to wait outside ports following poor communication around schedule changes. Portchain gives carriers, terminals and operational ground staff accurate real-time information so schedules can be optimized, costs reduced and environmental impact minimized. Angular Ventures’ investment in Portchain will help us accelerate our product development and create value for our customers.”

Niels Kristiansen, CEO and Co-founder of Portchain

“The global economy depends on the shipping industry, but it runs on outdated systems with operational staff communicating by phone, email and WhatsApp. Portchain is the only platform which bridges the divide between container shipping lines and terminals across borders and links them to a digitally-connected global network of information. There is huge growth potential and this investment will help the team secure new customers and develop products.”

Gil Dibner, Co-founder of Angular Ventures

About Portchain

Portchain provides berth alignment and planning software to container terminals and carriers, working closely with industry leaders to foster win-win solutions that enhance efficiency and promote sustainability. Portchain’s platforms are deployed globally, serving container terminals and carriers across Europe, Asia, the Americas, Australia, and Africa.

Portchain’s investors include MK Ventures, founded by Klaus and Morten Eldrup-Jorgensen, Tommy Thomsen, CEO Lauritzen Foundation, Tom Behrens-Sorensen, former CEO Maersk China, Jesper Kjaedegaard, former CEO Maersk Line, Michael Hassing, former CEO Ports America, Kim Baroudy, Senior Partner McKinsey & Company, and Klaus Holse, former CEO SimCorp.

Contact - Dominic Smith, O’Hear & Co, dom@ohearco.com, 07764 483259.

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