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Supply chain software giant E2open to acquire maritime network platform INTTRA

 Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

Much like the trucking markets from across the globe, the international maritime industry is witnessing its fair share of technology disruption. Businesses are increasingly looking to have visibility in their supply chains, leading to technology focussed startups mushrooming in the space – disrupting traditional practices and reshaping conservative stakeholders to rally behind the likes of automation and digitization.

One of the initial entrants in the space was INTTRA, a joint venture between major shipping lines like Hapag-Lloyd, Maersk Line, CMA-CGM, and Hamburg Sud to create a standard and neutral electronic booking system for the maritime industry. Since its founding in 2001, the association has grown to become the largest in the space, servicing over 30,000 active shippers from across 200 countries, with one of out every four ocean containers being shipped through its platform.

News comes in that E2open, a software major in supply chain solutions is in the process of acquiring INTTRA – a move that is seen as an aberration to its spree of cloud-based software acquisitions over the last few years. This deal would bring E2open to the forefront of the ocean shipping industry, with its CEO Michael Farlekas assuring that this association would help in “streamlining the shipping process.”

“The combination provides value to all stakeholders – manufacturers, logistics service providers, freight forwarders and ocean carriers. We aim to bridge the gap between manufacturing and logistics with execution capabilities on a unified platform with real-time end-to-end visibility,” he said. “Shippers will be able to better leverage ocean shipping efficiency, ocean carriers will be able to improve customer experience, and freight-forwarders will be more effective in multi-modal and integrated logistics operations to help grow their respective businesses. We will continue to strive to deliver on our vision of a networked platform on which our customers can operate their end-to-end operations in real-time.”

Though it started out as a consortium between large container lines, it was made into a private company in 2010, with the founding carriers holding 49% of the stock and private-equity firm ABS Capital Partners holding the rest. Now with the E2open acquisition, INTTRA’s management has indicated that the company would control 100% of its stock.

INTTRA has shown impressive growth since 2015, increasing its market share by 40%. Last year, the company had acquired Avantida, a company specializing in empty container management for container lines. This helped INTTRA expand in the empty container vertical that was costing carriers nearly $20 billion yearly, equivalent to 40% of the handling costs.

John Fay, CEO of INTTRA has contended that its journey alongside E2open would help catering to its customers better, as both the companies at its core were solving similar problems albeit across different verticals. “E2open and INTTRA have a similar consortium heritage and culture – both were born to solve similar problems for their respective ecosystems, to improve efficiencies, overcome data exchange constraints, and reduce the friction associated with doing business,” he said.

“In joining forces with E2open, a company that shares our values and understands the benefits of global business networks, we envision a single platform with accelerated innovation to connect, streamline, and operate all aspects of global manufacturing, logistics, and distribution, resulting in immediate benefits for all stakeholders.”

With INTTRA’s acquisition, E2open would see its annual revenues grow to $260 million, with a sizeable $60 million contributed by the former. INTTRA would be E2open’s fourth big acquisition this year, with it buying Cloud Logistics, Birch Worldwide, and Entomo prior to this deal. This can be seen as a broader goal to align itself to the enterprise resource planning (ERP) space, which holds software giants like Oracle and SAP. The deal with INTTRA is expected to go through by the end of this year, subject to regulatory approval.