Digital logistics in Belgium: An ING & Startups.be report

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ING, a global financial institution with a Dutch origin, teamed up with Startups.be to investigate the logistics start-up ecosystem in Belgium. Why start-ups? Because start-ups like Sensolus can facilitate logistics companies with innovative digital solutions. In 2017 the Belgian National Bank uncovered that 3,3% of employment in Belgium and 2,9% of the GDP is created by the logistics industry. This equals 134 000 jobs and 8900 companies. Reason enough to discuss how logistics companies innovate today and how they can keep on doing so. Since Sensolus is active as an industrial tracking and monitoring solution in logistics, our CEO Kristoff Van Rattinghe, happily contributed to the report.

The report is a valuable update on the dynamics in the Belgian logistics landscape, consisting of fifty-seven pages. To make it easy for you, we list the key takeaways of the report in this blog post.

“Logistics has always been a commodity but is now a real game changer”  – Joost Uwents, CEO WDP

Demographics

The report focuses on Belgian start-ups that are active in logistics and supply chain. In total ING’s database contains 84 start-ups, mainly b2b, active in this industry. Geographically, we notice that these start-ups are spread across the whole country. Though Antwerp and Brussels are two important clusters because of the presence of a harbor and airports. If we look at the products and services these start-ups offer, Sensolus is part of the second biggest group, Track & Trace. For Sensolus this means tracking and monitoring non-powered assets using low power IoT network Sigfox.

Challenges

Despite the fact that logistics is very diversified there are common challenges. A crucial one being fragmentation and information exchange. Besides a few giants in the landscape, there are a lot of small players. The challenge here is not necessarily technological. It is about the willingness to communicate back and forth between (competing) logistics companies. Other challenges logistics companies face are a pressing need for capacity optimization, a war on talent and obtaining funding for new services and products.

“Creating visibility in logistics processes is key – in this way different stakeholders can cooperate.” – Kristoff Van Rattinghe, CEO Sensolus

Internationalization

The biggest part of the start-ups active in logistics and supply chain generate revenue abroad. Geographically, they’re mainly active in Europe and neighboring countries. If you look at future perspectives, North-America and Asia are seen as potential growth markets. Besides this, more than 75% of the start-ups agree that partnerships are crucial for a sustainable growth abroad.

Funding

From 2008 till 2018 68.884.000 euro was invested in start-ups active in logistics and supply chain, distributed across 37 start-ups.
When you take a look at the distribution of the capital, we see that Track & Trace attracted most of the funding.

Technologies

Technology-wise, data from Startups.be shows that SaaS, Information Technology and Internet of Things are most common among start-ups. Sensolus  is located in the Internet of Things segment, including the IoT sensors and SaaS for supply chain optimization tools.

“IT is the core of our operations, as well in transportation activities as warehousing.”  – Erik Lamoral, CIO H.Essers

Employees

Most of the start-ups active in logistics and supply chain are really small companies with less than ten people in their team. No surprise compared to other start-ups in Belgium. Remarkable here is that almost 80% of the start-ups use freelancers.

Besides these findings, the report contains interviews with key stakeholders in logistics and interviews with start-ups active in logistics and supply chain.

Our CEO, Kristoff Van Rattinghe, shares his vision and expertise on page 50-51.

You can consult the full report here. Note that it’s only available in Dutch.

Curious to know more about Sensolus? Contact our experts.