Innovation & technology News

Greece’s Harbor Lab Raises $16M to Streamline Port Call Cost Management for the $14T Shipping Industry

Shipping companies use manual methods to track, analyse and validate port expenses, resulting in a complex web of costs that arise from every port call.

The global cost from port calls, for all vessels, is over $220 billion dollars per year.

Harbor Lab’s platform optimizes and streamlines the port cost management process for shipping companies, enabling a single individual to oversee disbursements for up to 50 vessels vs today’s ratio of 1 to 6 vessels.

Using Harbor Lab, shipping companies can reduce the margin of error from 20% to just 3% per port call.

ATHENS, Greece, May 15, 2024* — Harbor Lab, the maritime software company modernising the outdated accounting practices hampering the $14 trillion shipping industry, has raised a $16m Series A funding round led by European VC Atomico. With participation from existing investors Notion Capital, Venture Friends, SpeedInvest and The Dock, and new investors Endeavor Catalyst and maritime VC TMV, the round follows a Seed round of €6.1m and takes total funding for the Greek startup to some $22.5m. Atomico Partner Ben Blume will join the board.

There is a longstanding bottleneck at the heart of the shipping industry: a set of outdated, mostly manual accounting methods that many shipping companies still rely on to grapple with the complex web of costs that arise from their vessel’s port calls – the second largest expense for commercial vessels behind fuel, reaching around $2.2 million per vessel per year. This leads to inefficiency, inflated operational costs, and frequent disputes and delays in payments. New environmental legislation and mounting geopolitical crises are further adding to the complications, dangers, and unpredictability in costs of transporting cargo.

Over 4 million port calls for cargo loading and discharging are made every year across approximately 4,000 ports worldwide. The “disbursements” incurred at these calls include the fees owed to port authorities for the use of port facilities, alongside payments to local agents for essential “husbandry” services for the vessel and crew such as spare parts and visas.

The lack of standardization and transparency across different ports worldwide makes it difficult for shipping companies to calculate port expenses and predict how much the next voyage will cost. Expenses can vary drastically for the same vessel in the same port, as each “terminal” and “berth” within the port has its own pricing policy and disbursements constantly fluctuate, influenced by local politics and economics, changes in currency and exchange rates, and the global economic situation.

By streamlining how shipping companies handle these port-related costs, Harbor Lab enables a single individual to oversee disbursements for up to 50 vessels, a significant improvement on the previous ratio of 1 to 6 vessels. Moreover, the platform mitigates invoicing errors and overpayments by cross-referencing port call expenses with real-time official port tariffs from global port authorities, reducing the margin of error from 20% to just 3% per port call. Harbor Lab offers valuable services including Know-Your-Customer (KYC) verification, enhancing security and compliance in their interaction with local agents.

“By demystifying disbursement accounting, we’re not just streamlining operations; we’re fostering a culture of trust and innovation across the maritime ecosystem”, *said Harbor Lab founder Antonis Malaxianakis.

Atomico partner Ben Blume added, “*Harbor Lab’s platform gives peace of mind to shipping companies by enabling them to run critical parts of their operations in a more seamless, transparent and efficient way. It is already helping businesses around the world – including shipping giants Great Eastern Shipping and Oldendorff – and has significant opportunity to expand globally.”

Harbor Lab has strategic integrations with fellow maritime innovators Veson Nautical & 90POE , to provide a seamless, joined-up solution to customers. This funding will support the growth of Harbor Lab’s Athens-based team – currently 70 strong – and investment in new technologies including artificial intelligence to further enhance its offerings.

About Harbor Lab

Harbor Lab is the gamechanging solution for the $14 trillion global maritime transport industry that is transforming the way shipping companies manage disbursement accounts. Harbor Lab’s platform optimizes and streamlines the port cost management process for shipping companies bringing efficiency, standardisation and transparency to port transactions. It was founded by Antonis Malaxianakis in 2020 and is headquartered in Athens in shipping superpower Greece.

About Atomico

Atomico invests in ambitious tech founders from Seed to Series A and beyond with a particular focus on Europe, leveraging deep operational experience to supercharge their growth. Founded in 2006, Atomico has partnered with over 100 ambitious teams – including those at Klarna, Supercell, Graphcore, Compass, MessageBird, Masterclass, Attentive Mobile, Pipedrive and Hinge Health. Atomico’s team of founders, investors and operational leaders have been responsible for global expansion, hiring and marketing at companies from Skype and Google to Twitter and Uber. The firm currently has $5B in assets under management.

Media Contact for Atomico
Bryce Keane
Partner and Head of Communications

Media Contact for Harbor Lab
Olga Symvoulaki
Commercial Supervisor
Harbor Lab

Media Contact for Navigate PR
Benjamin Cresswell
Account Manager
Navigate PR

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