Ports America Joins Maersk as a Loadsmart Investor

Loadsmart co-founders Ricardo Salgado and Felipe Capella
Loadsmart co-founders Ricardo Salgado and Felipe Capella

Published Sep 7, 2019 5:10 PM by The Maritime Executive

Digital freight technology company Loadsmart has raised $19 million to embark on a major initiative that it says will improve the flow of freight through American ports - with investment from Ports America, the largest terminal operator and stevedore in the U.S.

Loadsmart is a digital freight platform that specializes in truckload and intermodal shipping. Loadsmart is leveraging data and machine learning to build artificial intelligence processes into the complex freight cycle, allowing shippers to book a truck in seconds and providing instant and targeted loads to carriers.

Ports America joins Maersk Growth as an investor bringing total funding to date to $53.3 million. The investment will be leveraged for Loadsmart’s new Smart Drayage initiative, helping industry participants rethink the flow of shipping containers through marine terminals and develop a free-flow model to accelerate the transit of goods through the largest ports in America.

“The free-flow model moves the industry from container-specific to container-agnostic. It means that truck drivers will be given the best container available when they arrive at the port, having pre-agreed with a specific mileage band trip,” said Ricardo Salgado, CEO and co-founder of Loadsmart. “As a result, we project that truck drivers will be able to reduce their time to get in and out of the port by at least 25 percent. At the same time, we estimate that port operators will be able to reduce container shuffles by at least 50 percent.”

Recent research shows that there are more than 60 million drayage movements each year in North America, representing a $50 billion plus market with ports contributing 26 percent to the U.S. gross domestic product. Yet, due to lack of efficiency and transparency, 15 million man-hours and 2.3 billion gallons of fuel are wasted due to trucker congestion at ports, says Loadsmart in a blog. 

Maersk alone moves around 13 million containers a year, around 15 percent of the world’s container market. Ports America operates 33 port terminals in 22 cities in the U.S. and moves around 6.7 million containers in and out of the country.