Haulio, a Singapore-based digital container haulage platform, announced Monday that it has raised $7 million in a Series A funding round led by Temasek unit Heliconia Capital.

The round also saw participation from new and existing investors across the globe, Haulio said in a statement.

Among the new investors were Ondine Capital (China), Cornerstone Ventures (Taiwan), FuturePlay (South Korea), Newtown Partners via the Imperial Venture Fund (South Africa), and corporate executives from XA Network.

Existing investors including B7 Capital, ComfortDelGro, iSeed SEA, Iterative (United States) and PSA unboXed, also joined the round.

Haulio said it will use the funds to drive stronger haulage capabilities, enhance service quality, elevate product engineering and development, reinforce talent acquisition and scale the startup’s continued regional growth.

Since 2017, the startup has transacted more than two million containers (2.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units or TEUs), with over 50 percent of the transactions completed in 2021 alone, growing the business further.

Haulio expects to triple their revenue numbers by the end of the year as the global supply chain recovers.

“Haulio has created a powerful digital platform that bridges the traditional haulage business offline-online thereby transforming the first- mile logistics operations. The founders’ deep understanding of this business should continue to help accelerate growth domestically and overseas. We look forward to working closely with the team and supporting them,” said Derek Lau, Chief Executive Officer at Heliconia Capital.

In April 2021, Haulio officially opened its first regional office in Bangkok, Thailand. It has successfully aggregated more than 3,000 hauliers onto its platform and transacted with key industry stakeholders such as PSA’s Thailand joint-venture local unit, ESCO and numerous other global freight forwarders.

In under nine months, Haulio’s Thailand office has transacted over 500,000 containers and crossed seven figures in revenue. Last June, Haulio also partnered with shipping and logistics global leader CMA CGM to move its containers on the major inland corridor of Laem Chabang and Lat Krabang, thus significantly increasing Haulio’s presence in the country.

Haulio is primed for further regional expansion to continue its digital aggregation of haulier network across Southeast Asia and become the leading ASEAN digital haulage platform. This will help bring unparalleled container visibility and milestones to its haulage procurers with reliable pricing and fulfilment within the region anytime.

In doing so, Haulio is actively hiring top talent in strategic business functions to support its growth plans into markets such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Vietnam.

“We started Haulio with a bold mission to empower the lives of millions of haulier drivers in Southeast Asia and become the key platform of growth for them through our technology and network effect. The complex and fragmented nature of our business continues to be a challenge especially when container haulage has been a vertical that often gets left behind,

“This investment will accelerate our regional growth and the transition of haulage standards from offline to online, as we remain steadfast in our vision to haul all containers in and out of Southeast Asia through our platform,” said Alvin Ea, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Haulio.

Haulio has also expanded its offerings to include embedded financing and leasing solutions as it strives to be a key technology partner for the traditional haulier market segment. In 2021, Haulio partnered with fintech players such as Funding Societies and Aspire to offer faster pay-out and supply chain financing, as well as with ComfortDelgro and Goldbell to offer leasing of Prime Mover trucks.

According to Ea, Container shipping volumes are on the rapid rise, so there needs to be greater optimisation and streamlining of haulage trips given the increasing shortage in equipment and drivers.

“Our goal towards zero empty haulage trips in Southeast Asia has seen significant progress through our data-first approach for effective job matching and resource pooling. This has helped reduce the carbon emissions from container trucking and unnecessary transportation of empty containers. Haulio has since optimised over 200,000 containers, saving an estimated 2.92 x 10^6 Truck Kilometres and over 3,000 Metric Tonnes of carbon emission,” he said.

“With the rising sustainability pressure on the sector, there is a greater imperative for us to work alongside Southeast Asia’s port logistics to ensure greater sustainability in the region for the health of our world,” he added.

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