Maersk eyes startup alliance Filed on July 1, 2021
Vincent Clerc. — Supplied photo

The company operates in 130 countries and employs approximately 80,000 people.

Shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk is open to collaborating with startups in the region and this stems from the need of reinventing its business strategy that will be based on digitisation, decarbonisation and democratising its supply chain, a top official said.

Vincent Clerc, CEO for ocean and logistics, at a media roundtable on Thursday shared his visions for the company by clearly trying to balance between customer demands, reinventing business strategy and building a futuristic brand.

The company operates in 130 countries and employs approximately 80,000 people. Maersk, which is bringing together three strong businesses — logistics and services, ocean, and terminals — with significant and tangible synergies aims to deliver average returns above 12 per cent during 2021-25.

“Maersk works with a lot of companies in two different ways. In some cases, we have corporate venture funds supporting some of the startups in the field in terms of funding and expertise,” he added.

Recently, Trella, the fastest-growing digital freight marketplace in Menap, announced the completion of a $42 million funding round, comprising $30 million new equity and $12 million debt facilities.

The equity element was led by Maersk Growth, the corporate venture arm of Maersk, and Raed Ventures, a Saudi venture capital firm. Other participating investors include Algebra Ventures, Vision Ventures, Next Billion Ventures, Venture Souq, Foundation Ventures and Flexport.  The debt facilities are being provided by Lendable, a next-generation lending platform, and other local financial institutions.

Trella is a technology platform “reinventing trucking” across emerging markets, and has a current market presence in three countries — its home market Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The Menap Road Freight market is a significant one worth $50 billion. Proceeds will be used by Trella to invest in tech capacity and product development to fuel growth, accelerate the company’s journey to reducing the costs of moving goods and continue being the regional market leader.

Jeppe Hoier, partner at Maersk Growth, said: “We are currently experiencing a rapid development in trucking, as transportation of goods has become accessible to even the smallest companies due to new digital solutions. Trella’s platform is an excellent example of this democratisation of the logistics sector. Trella is at the same time our first investment on the African continent founded by a team with significant experience from the startup scene.”

Dubai-based startup SteelCorr’s app — an AI-powered corrosion monitoring and data sharing app called Digital Paint Report that is used on 80-plus ships — was supported by large shipowners from the region.

Leroy Dias, managing director of SteelCorr, said: “Being able to garner support from industry giants like Maersk is very encouraging and a huge morale-booster for any startup. It is very relevant for a startup to engage with corporates from the ecosystem in order to be able to pilot their product and validate the value proposition. Being able to leverage Maersk’s technology and mentorship is a huge bonus for any startup.” —


Sandhya D'Mello

Journalist. Period. My interests are Economics, Finance and Information Technology. Prior to joining Khaleej Times, I have worked with some leading publications in India, including the Economic Times.

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