FourKites goes for smarter sustainability with the acquisition of visibility provider NIC-Place

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FourKites CEO Mathew Elenjickal Credit FourKites

The logistics transparency provider FourKites has taken over the German provider NIC-Place, which specializes in freight forwarders, thereby improving access to rail and cold chain data as well as to the data center of NIC-Place.

NIC-Place retains its corporate name and German offices, as well as FourKites’ own customer-facing networks. Customers include Kuehne+Nagel, H. Essers, Unterer, Quehenberger and Frigotrans.

“NIC-Place is the leader when it comes to cold chain tracking, for example all Pfizer shipments are handled through NIC-Place,” said Mathew Elenjickal, Founder and CEO of FourKites The loading star.

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

NIC-Place’s data control center aggregates data points and provides an interface for selective data exchange 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 with this shipper.” Very controlled data sharing that really addresses privacy concerns.”

The acquisition brings expertise in rail transport, an area where NIC-Place is particularly strong, said Mr. Elenjickal. “NIC-Place is integrated with the rail infrastructure providers and wagon hire companies. This is unique in the market and gives us a decisive advantage when expanding in the multimodal area.”

Despite the chaos in the supply chain over the past year, FourKites has seen 148% growth in European shipments and expanded its carrier network by 35%. But Mr. Elenjickal believes now is the time to think long term and anticipate a new imperative towards sustainability thanks to FourKites’ own research.

He said: “This is not a sprint, this is a marathon. We chase ambition, not money, and we’ve seen companies scale and then collapse and burn. Customer value is important to us, and if we can’t explain that value, we’ve failed.

“Let’s say I send my truck to a place – if it’s not ready, I have to keep my engine running. Therefore, cooperation between shipper, freight forwarder and recipient is crucial to achieve sustainability goals. FourKites has a shipper ecosystem, a carrier ecosystem, and tools to help show emissions and bring these parties together to drive change.”

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