Maersk expands Indian tech startup accelerator program

Maersk expands Indian tech startup accelerator program

Maersk has rolled out a third edition of its “OceanPro” accelerator, a digital interactive platform it unveiled in October 2018 to bring greater visibility through the supply chain. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com.

Maersk is going all out to encourage more Indian technology startups to collaborate with its innovation in logistics solutions, as the country puts a heavier focus on digitization to meet growing shipper demand for greater visibility through the supply chain.

The world’s largest container carrier on Wednesday unveiled a third edition of its “OceanPro” accelerator, an interactive platform it rolled out in October 2018 with the goal of leveraging the benefits of blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT), advanced analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) for further breakthroughs in digital transformation.

The company has signed four Indian startups — Entropik Tech, Senseforth, Soroco, and Ocean Frogs — under the latest collaborative effort, it said in a statement to JOC.com. Maersk said those participants will essentially focus on creating a more digital experience for customers on its e-commerce portal.

“One of the imperatives for OceanPro is to offer meaningful opportunities for the start-ups to accelerate their product development through direct and regular feedback from customers and end-users,” Navneet Kapoor, Maersk’s chief transformation officer and head of global service centers, said. “The benefits for Maersk are real, as well, and we are committed to further scaling up our partnership with the thriving start-up ecosystem in India and other parts of the world.”

Concurrently with that launch, Maersk announced the conclusion of its second, 120-day accelerator, under which four young domestic tech companies — Stratforge, Tripz, Linkstreet, and Shipmnts.com — took part.

The company said the second session was more focused around leveraging analytics to improve customer service. “These startups co-developed solutions focused on simplifying the customer payment process; optimizing the truck/container moves; transforming the enterprise learning to make it more customized, effective and engaging; and digitizing the document assessment process,” Maersk said.

Wider rollout coming

The carrier said one of the innovative products designed by the maiden OceanPro cohort has already been deployed in three countries for real-time inland movement tracking, with a wider global rollout in the offing.

With a third iteration of the OceanPro accelerator in place, as many as 15 local budding startups, including seven in the first stage, have thus far joined Maersk’s OceanPro incubator venture. Further, the carrier said its website is one of the largest B2B (business-to-business) platforms, with average revenue generation pegged at $1.45 million per hour. 

Maersk commands approximately 20 percent of Indian containerized freight transportation. To further sharpen its competitiveness in the relatively buoyant market, the carrier recently established a strategic partnership with home-grown digital freight marketplace BlackBuck to offer its customers online containerized truckload service. 

The buzz around innovation in logistics has also prompted other global transport services providers to jump on the Indian tech startup collaboration bandwagon. DP World in October announced investment in Log X, a similar tech incubator and accelerator, under which it sought to enroll 10 local startup businesses for the development of smart trade solutions.

The tech startup march into Indian logistics verticals coincides with the Indian government considering transforming its advanced collaborative port portal — PCS1x — into a broader digital platform for a one-stop shop logistics experience, with transparency being a key aspect of that evolving strategy.

Bency Mathew can be contacted at bencyvmathew@gmail.com.

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