B2B and Supply Chain Business Network provider E2open shared yet another acquisition announcement today, that being the acquisition of INTTRA, a prominent B2B ocean shipping network, software and information provider.

According to the announcement, the combination of INTTRA’s ocean carrier and shipper network with E2open’s industry business network platform will create a unified global logistics and supply chain network. E2open and INTTRA will join efforts to strengthen connections and streamline the information flow between manufacturers, suppliers, shipping service providers, ocean carriers and all the participants in global trade. INTTRA Shippig Network

The transaction is expected to close by year end 2018 after receipt of regulatory approvals. Now financial terms were forthcoming in today’s announcement.

Our initial reaction to this announcement is this will be E2open’s most significant announcement, one that thrusts this B2B platform provider directly into what we view as the Logistics network of networks domain.

Today’s announcement follows an earlier announcement of the acquisition of Cloud based TMS systems provider Cloud Logistics earlier this month. Cloud Logistics is a full function TMS that boasted of a modern, intuitive user experience to simplify transportation carrier selection load tendering, communication, visibility, payment, and reporting. Adding today’s acquisition of INTTRA and the implications become far more interesting for global trade and logistics business networks.

INTTRA has created what is described as the world’s foremost and largest neutral multi-carrier network across 177 countries with more than 35,000 active shippers, 60 carriers and 150 integrations with transportation management and port system software partners. In March 2017, INTTRA acquired Avantida to extend ocean movements into land-based activities and address container reuse and repositioning for ocean carriers, transport companies, terminals, depots, and others. Today, one out of every four ocean containers shipped globally is booked through the INTTRA platform.

According to E2open, the shipper, beneficial cargo owner, freight forwarder and logistics service provider communities derive value from a larger combined network and new end-to-end capabilities that improve operational efficiency, reduce inventories and deliver efficient logistics operations. The combination will reportedly further accelerate new product introductions by leveraging combined technology and research and development capabilities. We would add that INTTRA stands to gain a much overdue advanced technology refresh.

The INTTRA shipping platform is in the midst of a potential ocean shipping industry shift with major lines such as shipping industry leader Maersk Lines in the process of taking more direct ownership of inter-modal movements from ship terminals to inland destinations, in essence becoming a broader based intermodal services provider. That strategy increasingly includes new partnerships with technology providers such as IBM and SAP, among others.

Other industry players have been responding to such moves with discussions of their own. Maersk initiative for deploying Blockchain technology for ocean container movements is in the middle of such industry actions.  Today’s acquisition announcement will add more to such tech interactions and strategy actions.

Supply Chain Matters will obviously have further insight commentary when more information is garnered around both the background and motivations that led up to this acquisition. As with all things related to E2open, each is a piece of a broader consolidation strategy that is being orchestrated by private equity owners Insight Venture Partners.

One thing that seems clear is that this is a potential tech game changer for global logistics networks that now have the potential for direct upstream and downstream network connections directly to multi-industry B2B networks.

 

Bob Ferrari

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