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Descartes acquires freight tech firm Kontainers

Graham Parker, right, then-CEO of Kontainers, talks with Brian Aeoah, co-founder and General Partner of REFASHIOND, at FreightWaves LIVE Chicago in 2019. (Photo: FreightWaves)

Transportation and logistics software provider Descartes Systems Group has acquired Kontainers, a provider of digital freight platforms that is based in the United Kingdom.

Canada-based Descartes announced the acquisition on Thursday, June 11. The deal has a maximum value of $12 million, with $6 million upfront and the remainder to be paid based on performance, Descartes said. 

“The last few months have shown how quickly the world can change, and the shift to digitization is accelerating as a result,” Descartes CEO Edward Ryan said in a statement. 

“We’re looking forward to working with the Kontainers customers, partners and team of domain experts to help the logistics community capitalize on this opportunity,” Ryan added.

Kontainers is the trade name of Cracking Logistics Limited. Its platforms provide a fully digital customer experience for carriers, freight forwarders and third-party logistics providers. Kontainers also allows users to preserve existing rate management and back-office systems.

“We’ve worked very hard with some of the world’s top logistics companies to create an optimal digital customer experience,” Graham Parker, Kontainers co-founder and former CEO who now serves a vice president for sales at Descartes, said in a statement. 

Deal comes amid restructuring at Descartes

Descartes made the acquisition as it undergoes restructuring to cut costs in response to economic uncertainties connected to the COVID-19 pandemic. The firm disclosed the restructuring — including a 5% reduction in its global workforce — as it reported first-quarter financial results in May.

Descartes reported a 51% increase in net income during the first quarter. 

The acquisition adds to Descartes growing offerings of transportation and logistics software solutions.  

In February, Descartes acquired UK-based cloud-based warehouse management solutions provider Peoplevox for $24.5 million

Launched with a focus on the maritime industry, Kontainers has since expanded into other modes. 

“I wanted to build something that would enable and empower shipping brands,” Parker said during a discussion at FreightWaves LIVE Chicago in November 2019.

Nate Tabak

Nate Tabak is a Toronto-based journalist and producer who covers cybersecurity and cross-border trucking and logistics for FreightWaves. He spent seven years reporting stories in the Balkans and Eastern Europe as a reporter, producer and editor based in Kosovo. He previously worked at newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the San Jose Mercury News. He graduated from UC Berkeley, where he studied the history of American policing. Contact Nate at [email protected]