In a sea of traditional memo boards adorned with tightly packed Tokyo nightclub tabs and densely crunched pencil graphs, Jay Nelson stands out. The owner and operator of KK AirPlan Ltd., Nelson is one of the few merchants in South Korea that keep track of their international shipping logistics via email–a feat that has helped him stay ahead of the curve in terms of punctual shipment arrivals. “Our customers really appreciate it when their orders arrive on time,” he says, noting that quick forwarding gives sellers an edge over competitors who may instead rely on shippers to provide updated status reports as cargo travels from overseas.
Portlogics is hoping that by digitizing the shipping process, merchants will be able to keep track of their international shipments more easily and receive status updates on their package’s whereabouts. With its software tool, Portlogics can help merchants streamline the process of tracking exports and imports, cutting down on customs delays and increasing efficiency throughout the entire shipping cycle.
As the founder and CEO of Portlogics, Hyoung-chul Choi has seen first hand how inefficient international logistics can be. He started the company in 2021 with the goal of developing an innovative solution to address this issue. Portlogics creates a platform that allows shippers to track their shipments in real time, thereby reducing the amount of time waste and increase efficiency in international trade.
At first, Choi and the other entrepreneurs believed that their freight forwarding company could help stabilize freight rates and prevent them from constantly fluctuating. However, they quickly realized that the shipping industry needed to be digitally transformed in order for brokers and shippers to have a better understanding of cargo fees. Portlogics was founded in response to this need, developing a web-based trade order management system that helps merchants manage their cargo shipments regardless of how they are being transported.
Choi said that Portlogics’ software tool, which helps companies manage and optimize their shipping processes, has emerged as a major player in the industry. He added that many large logistics firms and shippers, like GS Global and Hyundai Bioland, have started using the software to improve their operations.
The Korean startup has hit a fast track in gaining traction with its innovation and is receiving pre-Series A funding from investors. With this kind of momentum, the startup is positioning itself to be a leading player in the global market.
Portlogics is using its new funding to continue to develop its platform, which will allow the company to hire additional employees in R&D. The newly capital will also be used to market the platform and increase its reach.
With Portlogics’s software, bookers and shippers can save money on e-booking and shipping costs by better understanding the data the startup has collected. In addition to its software, Portlogics is in talks with B2B SaaS security companies to help secure customer data and bolster its own data security measures.
Portlogics is eyeing expansion into Southeast Asia and the United States after 2024, with a focus on the freight forwarding industry. There is still a lot of market share left to grab, especially in Southeast Asia where shipments are booming.
One reason for the projected growth in the global digital freight forwarding market is that companies are increasingly turning to technology to reduce operational costs and improve efficiency. For example, Allied Research estimate that utilization of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) is increasing across the freight forwarding industry, as are innovations such as autonomous haulage and real-time tracking of cargo.
While freight forwarding transactions from South Korea to the U.S. and globally are rising, it is a great time for freight forwarding companies based in South Korea, as the reshuffling of the global supply chain management and logistics have created new opportunities for them. In addition to chip and battery factories being built in the U.S., there is also increased demand for freight forwarding services from Japanese companies operating in Southeast Asia as Beijing ramps up its efforts to assert control over that region. With these dynamics unfolding, K2G Fund projects solid upside potential for freight forwarding firms operating in South Korea over the next few years.