Chinese Logistics Startup Duckbill Snags US$30M In Pre-Series B Round

Duckbill has experienced a 200% year-on-year increase in monthly transportation volume in three years

Chinese shipping container logistics platform Duckbill has raised US$30 million in a pre-Series B round of financing, according to a statement released yesterday by Lighthouse Capital, the financial advisor for the round.

The round was jointly led by Future Capital and Shunwei Capital. The startup will use the fresh funds for product research and development, business expansion to major ports across China, and talent recruitment, the statement reported.

Founded in 2017 by a team of IT experts from the overseas trade logistics industry, Duckbill offers container transportation services through its platform. The platform acquires orders from international freight forwarding companies, and subcontracts them to truck drivers on the platform, the statement said.

It added that the startup’s app FT-Boss, a ‘freight version’ of Chinese cab-hailing giant DiDi Chuxing’s app, has tens of thousands of member drivers.

The Shanghai-based startup aims to connect individual drivers through its intelligent platform and create an information-based and standardized ‘super fleet’ to replace the traditional large fleets, the statement noted.

“New logistics infrastructure with significant efficiency improvements driven by digitalization is the focus of Lighthouse Capital. Duckbill has significantly improved shipping through innovations such as efficient dispatch systems, high-quality service systems, and supply chain finance,” Vice President of Lighthouse Capital, Li Zhengwei, noted in the statement,

“It is a great honor to witness the explosive growth of Duckbill in the past year, and continue to maintain extremely excellent capacity supply and customer retention,” he added.

Duckbill’s monthly transportation volume has reached 70,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) since its inception, an increase of over 200% year-on-year, the statement said. According to Duckbill’s website, the startup currently has over 5,000 clients, and a fleet of over 40,000 trucks servicing more than 13,000 locations.

In the future, Duckbill will focus on expanding new transportation service products for customers, providing more value-added services to drivers, and create a comprehensive intelligent transportation platform for ocean freight trucks, the statement said.

Duckbill, which focuses on foreign container transportation, currently covers Shanghai Port, Ningbo Port, Qingdao Port and Taicang Port, while operations are expected to start in the Shenzhen Port in October, it added.

With seven of the world’s top 10 container ports located in China, the world’s largest logistics market, and with the road freight market experiencing a volume of 22.6 billion tonnes in the first half of 2019, Duckbill has a large potential for growth in the country.

“Duckbill redefines the traditional industry of truck land transportation through the Internet model and digital operations,” noted Future Capital’s Founding Partner Huang Mingming.

He added that the startup has broken through the bottlenecks of traditional fleet development through continuous innovation in operating methods, transportation modes and vehicles.

“Duckbill directly connects freight forwarders and trucks by integrating existing decentralized trucking capacity drivers, and uses its self-developed order and dispatch management system to effectively achieve the goal of upgrading logistics efficiency,” Partner at Shunwei Capital, Cheng Tian said.

While Duckbill’s platform is still in its preliminary stage of optimizing the truck transportation industry, its system promotes digital innovation in the port logistics industry, Tian added.

Header image by Tom Fisk from Pexels

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