Digital freight forwarding company OnePort 365 has raised $5 million in seed funding to drive the end-to-end digitisation of freight management in Africa and support expansion into new markets across the continent.

The funding round was led by Mobility 54 (the venture capital arm of Toyota Tsusho and CFAO Group) with an investment of $2 million, with participation from SBI Investment, Flexport, ODX, a Singaporean syndicate fund and other strategic angel investors. Samurai Incubate also re-invested after participating in the previous round, according to an official statement.

With the funding, OnePort 365 is positioned to further improve efficiency and lower overheads in cross-border trading across the continent as well as deliver a wide range of new services that will increase profitability across the board.

Africa's clearing and forwarding market is growing with the latest figures suggesting a market size of $4.2 billion and a projected growth rate of 12.5 percent with new services emerging, the statement said. "However, a wide range of challenges including congestion at ports, difficulty with accessing effective service providers and complex payment systems have resulted in increased costs, inefficiencies and many missed opportunities for traders.

"With OnePort 365, traders no longer have to wait up to two weeks to compare the best rates from different service providers. With pre-negotiated rates, they can explore competitive offers on the platform and book freights in 30 seconds or less. Traders can also connect with shipping and inland transportation vendors and manage the entire process (from booking to payment) on one single platform. Traders get GPS-enabled, real-time visibility of their shipments and they can view all documents relating to the shipment via the platform, eliminating the laborious process of physically retrieving these documents from offices or shipping line centres. The platform also leverages advancements in payment technology and the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) to power instant payments."

Hio Sola-Usidame, CEO and Founder, OnePort 365

"We are super excited to have these investors onboard to support our mission to optimise cross-border trading across the continent," says Hio Sola-Usidame, CEO and Founder, OnePort 365. "With new regulations like the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement creating the potential for a new era of trade on the continent, we want to make it easier for traders to maximise the opportunity. We believe managing freights should be as easy as booking a flight or ordering a ride-hailing service and we are building the operating system to make this possible."

Takeshi Watanabe, CEO, Mobility 54 Investment SAS, added: "We are delighted to support Hio and the OnePort 365 team as they embark on the journey of digitising the end-to-end freight management process in Africa. There is great potential to unlock significant commercial opportunities across the continent by addressing the longstanding challenges that have made it difficult to move freights into and around the continent, and we are confident that OnePort 365 has what it takes to succeed."

OnePort 365 covers air freight, ocean freight, inland haulage (trucking, barge, and rail) as well as Pay-As-You-Go warehousing, marine insurance, customs brokerage and more. Since starting operations in 2019, OnePort 365 has increased the number of twenty-foot equivalent unit containers (TEUs) handled by 140 percent and grown its revenue by more than 420 percent, the statement said.

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