Most merchants in South Korea track their international shipping logistics via email until their cargo arrives safely at its destination. This covers all administrative processes from shippers to importers and includes logistics, customs, surcharges and transport bookings.
Port logicsa South Korean digital freight forwarder that offers a robotic process automation management system aims to help merchants track international shipping logistics and get status updates on shipments by digitizing the process with its software tool.
That’s the CEO of Portlogics, Hyoung-chul Choi a serial entrepreneur who first noticed the inefficient way of tracking international logistics when he ran his first startup, YLP, a middle-mile logistics startup that became the South Korean telco SKT‘s subsidiary T-Map Mobility acquired in 2021.
During the pandemic, shipping costs fluctuated constantly, preventing shippers from anticipating freight costs. Choi and three other co-founders realized the urgency of digitally transforming the freight forwarding industry and started Portlogics that same year. transported on a boat, or transported by road or rail.
More than 26 companies now use Portlogics’ software tool, Choi said, adding that they support major logistics companies and shippers such as GS Global And Hyundai Biolandthat produces materials used in cosmetics and health supplements.
That kind of traction has enabled the Korean startup to receive $1.6 million (2 billion won) in pre-Series A funding from investors including K2G Fund and strategic investor GS Global, owned by the Korean conglomerate GS Holdings.
Portlogics, which now has 19 employees (six in R&D), will use the new capital to further develop its platform, including by hiring additional employees.
The startup also plans to introduce artificial intelligence and machine learning that can understand the data the outfit has collected and better able to estimate e-booking and shipping costs, Choi explained. In addition, Portlogics is in talks with B2B SaaS security companies to help it protect the customers using its software and strengthen its own data security measures, Choi added.
Portlogics is currently focusing on South Korea’s freight forwarding industry, but plans to open offices in Southeast Asia and the US after 2024, Choi said, noting that there is still a lot of market share to gain.
According to an estimate by the research firm Allied Research, the the global digital freight forwarding market is expected to increase to $22.9 billion by 2030up from $2.92 billion in 2020.
“Global supply chain management and logistics have been realigned [due to rising tension between the U.S. and China]and more companies are reshoring the US by building chip and battery factories,” K2G Fund managing partner Archi KyoungRok Kong said. Korea to the US and globally continue to rise, so K2G Fund believes it is a great time that there are significant upside opportunities for freight forwarding companies in South Korea.”