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African online forwarder raises $5m funding

[ April 28, 2022   //   ]

Online forwarder OnePort 365 has raised $5 million in seed funding to digitise of freight management in Africa and support its expansion into new markets.

Africa’s clearing and forwarding market is growing, with latest figures suggesting a market size of $4.2 billion and a projected 12.5% growth. However, challenges including congestion at ports, difficulty in accessing effective service providers and complex payment systems have increased costs and inefficiency.

With active operations in Nigeria and Ghana, and ongoing explorations in other markets, OnePort 365 makes it easier for traders to manage their freight processes through a digital platform. It will use the funding to further improve efficiency and lower overheads in cross-border trading across the continent, as well as deliver new services.

OnePort 365 gives traders pre-negotiated rates, allowing them to  explore competitive offers on the platform and book freight in 30 seconds or less, compared with up to two weeks needed for traditional methods. Traders can also connect with shipping and inland transportation vendors and manage the entire process from booking to payment on one platform.

The system also offers GPS-enabled, real-time visibility of shipments and users can view all documents via the platform instead of retrieving them from offices or shipping line centres. The platform also provides advanced payment technology and the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS).

The platform covers air freight, ocean freight, inland haulage (trucking, barge, and rail), as well as pay-as-you-go warehousing, marine insurance and customs brokerage.

Chief executive and founder Hio Sola-Usidame, said: “With new regulations like the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement creating the potential for a new era of trade on the continent, we want to make it easier for traders to maximise the opportunity. We believe managing freights should be as easy as booking a flight or ordering a ride-hailing service and we are building the operating system to make this possible.”

The seed funding round was led by Mobility 54 (the Venture Capital arm of Toyota Tsusho and CFAO Group), with participation from SBI Investment, Flexport, ODX, a Singaporean syndicate fund and other strategic angel investors. Samurai Incubate also re-invested after participating in the previous round.