Portcast aims for green logistics

By The Edge Singapore / EdgeProp Singapore | December 16, 2021 3:06 PM SGT
Gupta describes Portcast’s solution as using advanced trade and disruptions data and proprietary machine learning in order to predict cargo demand and arrival times to help logistic operators (Credit: Portcast)
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SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Having secured US$3.2 million ($4.4 million) in a pre-Series A funding in September, logistics player Portcast is setting its sights higher. “We’re working on expanding our team as well as enhancing our technology to deliver insights, analytics and prescriptive AI for a variety of industries and trade routes — via sea and air,” Nidhi Gupta, co-founder and CEO of Portcast, tells The Edge Singapore.
Launched in 2018, the business offers real-time predictive visibility and demand forecasting for supply chain players, aimed at streamlining the processes involved, cutting costs and optimising for delivery time.
Gupta describes Portcast’s solution as using “advanced trade and disruptions data and proprietary machine learning in order to predict cargo demand and arrival times to help logistic operators”. This builds on its knowledge gained on how cargo patterns move from working with parties like shipping companies, freight forwarders, manufacturers and airlines.
The company also taps into data on external conditions, such as economic patterns, market capacity, customer no-shows, cancellations and rollovers, seasonality and holidays to forecast demand for its clients. “This enables companies to plan up to three months ahead in terms of the kinds of booking patterns they will see and the capacity they need to procure and eventually make pricing more dynamic,” she explains.
Other external indicators taken into consideration include weather data, satellite data about where ships are, data from shipping companies, and ports.
With risks caused by external disruptions better mitigated, this would allow customers to “plan ahead to reroute shipments, make timely transport arrangements from ports and better balance cost and delivery times”, she adds.
It now works with 15 large logistics and manufacturing companies, and has a client base in multiple countries across Asia Pacific, Europe and the US. Portcast is now able to make forecasts for more than 800 ports in the world, across all major trade lanes and carriers, Gupta says.
With the holiday season coming up, Gupta expects that congestion is unavoidable. “As we get into the festive season, there’s going to be more consumer goods definitely moving, so ships are definitely going to be running at full tilt,” she highlighted in a televised interview with CNBC.
“The delays are definitely going to continue, so I think it is important to understand that for a particular company, what’s happening to their network, what can they actually do about it, can they plan their downstream better, can they make sure that they know what kind of delays are happening, [and] be able to communicate that to their consumers better,” she continued.
Ultimately, Gupta hopes that Portcast’s solutions would be able to inject sustainability into the logistics industry. “Shipping accounts for nearly 23% of the global CO2 emissions and we believe through our technology we can provide visibility at each container level on CO2 emissions — thus providing the fundamental baseline to find greener routes, efficient speed of vessels, reduce congestion levels and create impact with sustainable supply chains,” she says.

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