Chicago-based FourKites, a provider of real-time tracking and visibility solutions across modes of transportation and digital platforms, today announced that it has acquired Hannover, Germany-based NIC GmbH (NIC-place), a supply chain visibility service provider.
Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
FourKites officials said that with NIC-place in the fold, it is able to create the largest network of multimodal carriers based in Europe, serving global shippers with what it called the visibility platform. of the most comprehensive end-to-end global supply chain. And they also added that it will help drive the adoption of secure real-time visibility solutions purpose-built for carriers, while shortening the time to value for shippers with complex multimodal carrier networks.
FourKites said NIC-place’s solutions are aimed at transportation companies, carriers and logistics service providers. NIC-place’s Data Control Center (DCC) provides operators with a flexible and secure way for operators to share supply chain data with customers, along with complete control of their business, network and their data.
NIC-place was established in 2016. FourKites noted that thousands of businesses use NIC-place to track and monitor millions of shipments each year. The company will continue to operate under the name NIC-place and its offices in Germany.
Mathew Elenjickal, CEO of FourKites, provided ML News Group Editor Jeff Berman with details on this major acquisition. Their conversation follows below.
ML: What prompted FourKites to acquire NIC-place? How long has this been planned/in preparation?
Elenjickal: The acquisition of NIC by FourKites adds an extensive network of carriers, freight forwarders and subcontractors, as well as the largest rail network in Europe. The deal triples FourKites’ existing European carrier base and creates the largest multimodal carrier network in Europe.
The NIC-place solution is designed specifically for operators and is unlike any other on the market, with the ability to easily onboard contractors, track temperature and emissions, and integrate with other solutions to provide a true control tower view of data across all technologies. platforms.
Although we do not wish to go into the details of this transaction, I will say that we are still methodical in our approach to M&A opportunities. We take our time (often years) to get to know the product, the team and the vision to ensure there is the right culture and the product fits into our larger vision or supply chain end-to-end that goes beyond logistics. Our primary goal is to find deals that add value to our network and our customers, and NIC will do just that.
ML: What are the main benefits of this acquisition for FourKites customers?
The NIC-place solution offers several major advantages:
- The largest network of multimodal carriers in Europe. The NIC-place solution was designed for carriers by people with extensive market expertise, with the aim of meeting carrier needs, including the seamless onboarding of contractors. The addition of NIC-place gives FourKites customers greater network coverage – including thousands of integrated carriers, telematics providers and the most comprehensive rail coverage in Europe – and creates the largest network of multimodal carriers of the region ;
- Confidentiality and data security. NIC-place’s Data Control Center (DCC) is subject to some of the strictest data privacy regulations regarding GDPR. These laws allow carriers to have full control over their data and with whom they share it;
- Complete and optimized railway coverage. With Europe’s largest rail network, shippers who lease or manage their rail assets gain end-to-end visibility, helping them identify and implement opportunities for improved utilization – an increasingly critical capability as many businesses face ongoing ocean challenges; and
- Temperature-controlled, high-value shipments. NIC-place is the market leader for tracking high-value, temperature-controlled transports such as pharmaceuticals, chilled and frozen goods, and electronic equipment. The largest network of European cold logistics companies relies on the NIC-place platform to better serve their customers and ensure quality delivery of their products
Additionally, FourKites will retain the NIC team, greatly expanding FourKites’ local resources for its growing customer base.
ML: What does this bring to FourKites that was needed or missing?
Elenjickal: The fragmented carrier market in Europe can make it difficult for shippers to have true end-to-end visibility. Existing platforms offer a one-stop solution for carriers and shippers worldwide, but it won’t work in Europe due to the highly fragmented nature of small trucking companies and strict data privacy rules and regulations. . As such, Europe needs a fundamentally differentiated approach to provide market visibility. The NIC-place solution addresses unique market challenges by easily onboarding contractors and facilitating controlled data sharing with third parties such as shippers and visibility providers.
FourKites’ many multinational customers will benefit from greater supply chain visibility in Europe. By acquiring NIC, FourKites is now the only provider to provide end-to-end tracking in all modes on a single platform in Europe.
ML: Has FourKites/NIC-place ever had a business relationship? If so, what was it/how did it work?
Elenjickal: Prior to the acquisition, we partnered with NIC to provide FourKites customers with visibility data from carriers that use the NIC-place platform and authorized NIC-place to share it with shippers. Going forward, FourKites will explore other strategic integration opportunities while balancing the data privacy requirements that NIC-place has today. However, the two offers will continue to exist independently.
About the Author
Jeff Berman, Group News Editor Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics management, Modern material handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight forwarding and material handling industries on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman