FourKites CEO Mathew Elenjickal Credit FourKites
FourKites CEO Mathew Elenjickal Credit FourKites

Supply chain visibility provider FourKites has acquired German carrier-focused provider NIC-Place, and with it, improved access to rail and cold chain data and NIC-Place’s Data Control Centre.

NIC-Place will retain its company name and German offices, along with FourKites’ own customer-facing networks. Customers include Kuehne+Nagel, H Essers, Unterer, Quehenberger and Frigotrans.

“NIC-Place is the number-one provider when it comes to cold-chain tracking, for example all Pfizer shipments move through NIC-Place,” FourKites founder and CEO Mathew Elenjickal told The Loadstar.

“The unique aspect [of the acquisition] is that NIC-place is focused on carriers, forwarders and logistic services providers, not shippers. Now, Fourkites will be the only provider in Europe with two platforms, one focusing on shippers and another focusing on carriers. We believe this strategy is important, given the market reality of European transport.”

NIC-Place’s Data Control Centre aggregates data points and provides an interface for selective sharing of data with customers, explained Mr Elenjickal. “Crucially, It can collect the data in one place, and selectively share it. So I can say, ‘I want to share tracking data on this asset between this time and this time for this shipper’. Very controlled data sharing that really takes care of privacy concerns.”

The acquisition will bring expertise in rail, an area in which NIC-Place has particular strength, said Mr. Elenjickal. “NIC-Place is integrated with the rail infrastructure providers and rail car leasing companies. That is unique in the market, and will give us a significant advantage when it comes to expanding in the multimodal space.”

Despite the supply chain chaos of last year, FourKites saw 148% growth in European shipments and grew its carrier network by 35%. But Mr. Elenjickal believes now is the time to be thinking long-term, anticipating, thanks to FourKites’ own research, a new imperative toward sustainability.

He said: “This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. We are chasing ambition, not money, and we have seen companies scale up and then crash and burn. We care about customer value and, if we cannot explain that value, we have failed.

“Let’s say I send my truck to a location – if they are not ready, I have to keep my engine running. So having the collaboration between shipper, trucking company and receiver is vital to meeting sustainability goals. FourKites has a shipper ecosystem, a carrier ecosystem and tools that will help show the emissions and bring these parties together to drive change.”

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