Why We Invested
I have never understood the logistics or port business. Well, on logistics, it would be a lie to say I am completely clueless – try getting from one location to another in Lagos traffic. That is a test of one’s planning and prayers to get to the destination on time to save the constant shameless story of ‘traffic today, na wa!’. But this is small-fry when it comes to logistics associated with trade and commerce.
From my basic Operations Research class, we delved into the calculation side of logistics – I found it interesting, though you won’t catch me recalling anything I learned in that class. For ports, I know almost next to nothing. You see, I have little or no experience in the freight business. I have never really gone through the process of importing a car or exporting products destined for an international market by myself. All I know is that billions of naira and dollars pass through the various port systems of Nigeria – both incoming and outgoing flows.
The maritime industry’s contribution to the Nigerian economy is estimated to be 85% of Nigeria’s external trade – as reported by Stears Nigeria, and the industry was valued at around $5bn in 2019. Maritime also has an impact on the logistics and supply chain sector, this industry is reputed to be worth N250bn according to the 2018 Logistics and Supply Chain Industry report. These figures could be higher if not for the lingering issues.
That being said, everyone is fully aware that the freight business, particularly the import and export of products and commodities, has always been a difficult experience in Nigeria. Several problems exist:
- inherent inefficiencies in the clearing process
- difficulties in accessing the port
- poor and dated infrastructure
- limited use of technology
- high costs as a result of the many issues and the proverbial stories of corruption
It is well understood that the system needs an overhaul – a change that an average citizen cannot make as they are largely legislative and within the realm of policy.
This does not mean that all is lost. There are fantastic startups that are coming up with novel ways to bridge the gaps and create solutions to the challenges that exist with the sector.
The solution lies in thinking outside the box, coming up with ideas that will traverse these inefficiencies and simplify how people interact within the sector. This is where OnePort365 (OnePort) shines. OnePort, as its name suggests, aims to make the freight forwarding business as seamless and simple as possible leveraging the use of technology to create One port. Get it?! The platform is open for anyone to use, giving real-time freight forwarding information so users can see where their cargo is at any point of the journey. By automating the process, not only is the system more efficient, but also provides an increased level of accountability – oft amiss and highly desired.
So, why would a company such as ours invest knowing the dynamics of such a peculiar but value-driven sector? It is actually a no-brainer.
Let’s start with who runs the business.
Hio Sola-Usidame is not a novice when it comes to starting businesses. He launched his first business endeavour at the age of 16 – when all I was thinking about was how to finish high school. Hio brings to the fore strong commercial advisory experience in the energy sector married with a technical oversight of the logistics and freight forwarding business. He is supported by an amazing team and strategic partners with years of solid experience in marketing, product development, systems design and other areas required to position OnePort for growth.
Beyond the team, the platform itself is one of a kind. At CcHUB, we are passionate about creating or backing solutions using technology to make an impact on society. The platform is all-encompassing, providing end-to-end solutions from trucking to warehousing and all one needs to complete the freight forwarding process. It gives the user control of their process and experience – you get to select what services you want and who provides them. This makes it a holistic solution-provider, and with that, an attractive solution for the market.
The high market potential tied to the increasing commercialization of the export business is a draw. With agreements such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act and the more recent African Continental Free Trade Agreement, the market size is only set to expand. Having a robust platform ready to capture the budding intra-Africa market will bode well in driving Africa’s participation in global trade.
Lastly, the startup ecosystem may seem awash with funding due to the big deals being made, but this is not exactly the case. Despite huge inflows with deals of millions of dollars making headlines, many young startups are still struggling to obtain funds at their nascent and established stages. With that, we’re happy to have invested as a bridge financier to aid this promising business reach the next stage of its funding ladder.
All in all, the market opportunities are massive and OnePort is positioned to play a transformational role in the industry.
A digital solution is the way forward to enhance efficiencies within the port and logistics sector. Good things are coming. That’s why we’re excited to go on this journey with OnePort365.