December 4, 2018

Project44 acquires Danish freight visibility provider GateHouse Logistics

Demand for supply chain visibility tools will continue, regardless of impact of tariffs on trade rates, firm says.

By Ben Ames

Logistics software vendor Project44 said today it has acquired GateHouse Logistics A/S, a Danish shipping data provider whose technology will complement Project44's ability to provide freight visibility platforms for its clients, the companies said.

The combined companies will offer software that allows shippers and third party logistics providers (3PLs) to improve their shipping transparency, predictability, and efficiency by accessing a single view into their global supply chains, Project44 said. Project44 delivers that service by integrating data from freight capacity providers, telematics nodes, and transportation management system (TMS) software via machine-to-machine communication standards known as application programming interfaces (APIs).

Chicago-based Project44 declined to share the cost of the acquisition. However, the company said that all of Aalborg, Denmark-based GateHouse Logistics' employees will become employees of project44. "By coming together to create the largest visibility platform across North America and Europe, our customers will be able to capture the deep business value that a single global provider can enable, while gaining access to the high-fidelity data analytics, automation and predictability of the project44 Advanced Visibility Platform," Jesper Bennike, former GateHouse Logistics CEO, said in a release. Bennike now takes on the title of executive vice president of business development for Project44.

GateHouse Logistics' product offerings will also continue to be supported, as all the firm's solutions immediately become part of the Project44 Advanced Visibility Platform, the firms said in an overview document about the acquisition. GateHouse offers tracking and monitoring solutions, logistics data integration and telematics platform integration through its ghTrack data as a service (DaaS) product and other platforms.

"By adding the largest European carrier network to our Advanced Visibility Platform, this acquisition will enable our users to manage not only all their North American shipments, but also their European shipments from a single-pane, across all shipping modes," Jett McCandless, CEO and founder of Project44, said in an email. "This goes well beyond just being able to offer our platform to a broader geography of users, since both Project44 and GateHouse users will now be better able to manage shipment life-cycles, improve shipping speed and predictability and reduce manual processes for their international shipments."

The deal comes two months after Project44 landed $45 million in financing—just six months after collecting a $35 million round—and announced plans to spend the new capital to reinforce its growth in the transportation visibility market by funding continued growth in North America, supporting new product initiatives in advanced visibility, and driving international expansion.

Project44 made the acquisition now because it is forecasting that demand for real-time end-to-end shipment visibility will continue to grow, regardless of any turbulence in trade markets, McCandless said. Factors such as U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods and the U.K.'s planned "Brexit" split with the European Union have recently pushed several economists to issue warnings of a global trade slowdown.

Different geographic regions have different transportation industry characteristics, such as carrier organizations that rely on core asset-based versus subcontracted fleets, McCandless said. That variety has made it hard for visibility platform providers to expand across regions, and has forced shippers and 3PLs to piece together multiple platforms and leverage disparate systems to manage their global supply chains, according to the company's blog.

"We heard our customers articulate their need for a global visibility platform that supports all modes and automates their entire global transportation value chain. That is why we made this acquisition, and why we think whether international trade rates continue to accelerate or slow down, we will see strong continued growth of our global Advanced Visibility Platform," McCandless said.

"The benefits of a global platform for shippers and third-party logistics firms managing international supply chains - fast predictable shipping, automation that reduces unnecessary costs, and the agility needed to respond quickly to supply chain and market disruptions and other changes - are too significant for them to ignore, even if trade rates slow down," said McCandless.

About the Author

Ben Ames
Senior Editor
Ben Ames has spent 20 years as a journalist since starting out as a daily newspaper reporter in Pennsylvania in 1995. From 1999 forward, he has focused on business and technology reporting for a number of trade journals, beginning when he joined Design News and Modern Materials Handling magazines. Ames is author of the trail guide "Hiking Massachusetts" and is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.

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