Startup of the month: PortXchange

Every month we interview a European Supply Chain Management startup to shed some light on its business, provide a platform for visibility and overall support the European Supply Chain Management startup ecosystem. This time we interviewed Sjoerd de Jager, Managing Director at PortXchange, headquartered in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, providing a software platform that allows port authorities and shipping lines to efficiently manage various operations during port calls.

Prequel Insights
Sustainability and Compliance
Freight & Shipping

Company Base Data

Company Name: PortXchange Product B.V.

No. of Employees: 30

Headquarter: Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Funding: undisclosed

Operating Markets: US, EU

Founders: Sjoerd de Jager


Reference Customers: Shell, ONE, Port of Rotterdam, Port of Algeciras, Houston port Bureau

E-Mail Contact:

Our interview partner today is Sjoerd de Jager, Managing Director at PortXchange.
Sjoerd, glad to have you on the interview today. First of all: can you give us a brief description of PortXchange and what you are doing?

PortXchange is a service provider and data company that offers innovative digital solutions to support ports, port communities, and shipping companies worldwide to become more efficient and sustainable.

One of our main solutions – PortXchange Synchronizer – offers a centralized platform for sharing real-time data to more efficiently coordinate the various operations during a port call and facilitate just-in-time (JIT) arrivals.

Our platform improves ship-to-shore communication, particularly during the crucial final 48 hours of a voyage, and allows vessels to adjust speeds, ensuring timely arrival and, consequently, often dramatically cutting fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

Thank you for that. Now tell us a little bit about the founding story of our company. When and how was PortXchange born?

Portxchange originates from the Pronto project initiated by the Port of Rotterdam.

After tremendous success in Rotterdam, it was decided to scale the platform to ports across the world. To have a positive global impact while being neutral, PortXchange became an independent company in 2019. Since then
our solutions have been implemented in the ports of Houston, Algeciras, Felixstowe, and Moerdjik.

As of 2022, PortXchange is used by more than 50 parties to support over 100 000 port calls annually.

Who are the people behind PortXchange? Tell us a little bit about the founding team.

In 2019, the founding team led by myself established the stand-alone company. Pim Verkerk (CTO), Robbert Engels (Director of Product) and Dita Bruijn (former Director of Operations) joined as the management team. The whole spin-off was supported by Joyce Bliek, the former Business Unit Director Digital Business Solutions at the Port of Rotterdam. That unit ceased to exist end 2020.

Super interesting story! Let’s dive a little deeper into the product: which problem does PortXchange solve for its customers?

For every port call, many different operations must be performed at just the right time. PortXchange makes it possible to plan a port call in a much smarter and more efficient way by facilitating the exchange of planned, expected, and realized times. PortXchange Synchronizer is an application that shipping companies, ports, agents, terminals, and other service providers can use to optimally plan, execute and monitor all activities during a port call based on standardized data exchange.

Transparent information exchange during a port call allows to optimize operations and consequently reduce CO2 emissions. The key challenge that we resolve is early arrivals at the port. Often vessels sail too fast, only to anchor or maneuver before entering the port while waiting for the availability of the berth, pilots, or tugs. We facilitate the timely exchange of information between ship and shore to ensure that the vessel arrives just-in-time. This allows vessels to sail at the optimal speed, cut fuel consumption, and as a result reduce carbon footprint.

JIT arrivals are an effective way of reducing congestion at ports in anchorages and in the absence of designated anchorages, reducing congestion in drifting areas. They allow the port authority to spread the load on infrastructure and personnel more evenly.

What is your core competence or USP there? What sets PortXchange apart?

We provide a centralized platform for sharing standardized, reliable, real-time operational data powered by machine learning and AI. Our core competence would be our ability to integrate (unstructured) data from a vast array of different operational systems, (eg. TOS), standardize it, enrich it with public data and add smart services. We have a tool that is already in operational use in the leading ports in Europe, the US, and the UK, and we’ve proven that our platform is set to cater to different levels of digitalization and all types of trade.

We offer our clients a highly qualified team of engineers, data scientists, maritime business advisors, and port operation professionals who have the right mix of industry expertise to help them succeed in this digital maritime transformation.

Who are your target customers and can you name a few reference customers that give us an even better understanding?

Our target customers are shipping lines, charters, and port authorities that want to digitalize their operations and receive real-time data to improve port call efficiency, reduce delays, facilitate just-in-time arrivals and decarbonize the shipping industry.

Port of Algeciras, Port of Houston, Port of Felixstowe, Port of Moerdijk, ONE, Maersk, Vopak, Enterprise, and Shell are some of the customers and companies that are already using our products.

As a last questions and reflecting the current situation for global supply chains: how do the global supply chain struggles affect your business? Do you think you as a provider of more transparency and predictability will profit from that?

The pandemic has accelerated the need for digitalization in the maritime supply chain and current disruptions have increased the need for a higher level of transparency and visibility in and around the ports. Furthermore, climate change is driving the need for a more sustainable shipping industry.

However, old ways of working and competitive commercial agreements still hamper a rapid uptake of global digital collaboration across value chain partners and ports. Unfortunately, we still see little collaboration throughout
the industry to solve these issues.

You cannot wait to learn more about the future of Supply Chain? Get our latest report about Sustainability in Supply Chain where we introduce dozens of up and coming Supply Chain startups

Written by
Markus Boerner
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