Ocean Just Got a Little Easier—Maybe—or a Bit Crazier?
on Mar 28, 2019
A few acquisitions of note.
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The last few days have shown things are never quiet in the ongoing money shell game in ocean transportation.
The Players/the Deals:
Navis and Octivo: Navis, the largest software provider for port operations, with a global domination of the larger ports, just acquired Octivo, a young, but strong port operation software provider who focuses on the smaller ports. This gives Navis a much broader footprint.
Apollo, Blume, and Direct ChassisLink: At the same time, the chassis world got pulled around a bit. Blume Global (REZ-1 and IAS, the largest chassis network) and Direct ChassisLink (DCLI, the largest chassis rental service) were acquired by Apollo Global Funds. In two deft moves, Apollo made the new entity the most important player in the chassis world.1
On the surface this could make ocean transport—especially getting your stuff in and out of ports—a lot easier (as well as providing visibility into just exactly what is going on in those places).
Navis would have a lot more data about a lot more ports and be able to coordinate across ports more effectively. I spoke to Andy Barrons, Chief Strategy Officer at Navis, who said, "Navis is a significant provider of core planning and execution software for large maritime container terminals, a critical node in the supply chain network. With Octopi we can extend more advanced planning and control software to the second tier of nodes. We can help make these facilities more data driven and more connected to the big maritime facilities and logistics providers, in turn providing more visibility and context for a container’s next move. In supply chain we often focus on the network value, but there is still tremendous value in applying innovation to the nodes in the network and optimizing all the existing assets used to move containers.”
In the confusing world of chassis, the combined Blume and DCLI would have their eye on a broader set of chassis owners and truckers, as well as gaining the capacity to make exchanges a lot more streamlined. Maybe their new name could be Chassis Unlimited?
IAS has had a lot more going on in their network for a long time, not just matching trucker to chassis owner. They include information about the freight in those containers as well as following the container out of the port and onto its journey. This should make them a desired partner for many transportation and supply chain application providers.
Transportation, especially within the ocean world, will continue to be a dynamic money market with so many start-ups nipping at the heels of more established companies, especially in areas such as bookings, rating, visibility, and so on. Additionally, the larger supply chain network providers like GT Nexus, Descartes, AmberRoad, One Network, and of course, E2open, with their recent acquisition of INTTRA, all are becoming more powerful players and will continue to innovate as they strive to provide end-to-end logistics.