When a ship goes into a commercial port, there are lots of port call-related costs. These are called things like “disbursements” and “port call expenses.” They can include port dues, towage and pilotage fees, which, added together can represent are large swathe of operating costs, after fuel, for a ship operator.
Most of the time, companies are using manual processes and Excel spreadsheets to deal with all this. But now an Athens, Greece startup Harbor Lab has come up with a solution.
Its platform claims to streamline the disbursement account processes and identifies discrepancies, reducing port call expenses by approximately 6% per port call, and reduces administration costs by up to 75%.
It’s now secured €6.1 million in funding to further develop its platform.
The SaaS disbursement account analysis software calculates and evaluates port expenses against real-time port tariffs.
VentureFriends and Speedinvest led the seed funding round, with participation from additional investors including The Dock, Signal Ocean, Motion Ventures, TecPier, Innoport, Charge VC and tech founders including Alexandros Chatzielftheriou, founder of Blueground.
“Harbor Lab was born out of a real-time need to automate the processing of disbursements (payments to port authorities and other port related suppliers) while reducing manual intervention and heavy administration. The way we do it is by collecting the official port tariffs directly from the port authorities and then inputting those in our internally developed algorithm.Through that we calculate accurately and dependably every port expense based on terminal, berth and a number of other parameters,” said Harbor Lab CEO and founder Antonis Malaxianakis.
“We are very excited to support Harbor Lab in its quest to expand globally while establishing their footprint in major maritime hubs like Copenhagen and Singapore. We are also keen to see the product develop with the utilization of machine learning to digitalize ports around the world making shipping more efficient,” added Apostolos Apostolakis, partner at VentureFriends, in a statement.
Habor Lab launched March 2020. The maritime disbursements industry is estimated to be worth $200 billion annually.
VentureFriends is a European early-stage VC that has offices in London, Warsaw and Athens, currently investing out of its third fund of €100 million. Speedinvest has more than €600 million AUM and 40 investors based in Berlin, London, Munich, Paris and Vienna. It also won a Europas award this year as the hottest European VC.