Over the years, the wait time for vessels at African ports has continued to be a long and complicated process. Africa also houses some of the costliest ports in the world.
According to reports, it is logistically cheaper and faster for African businesses to trade goods with distant overseas partners than via Africa’s intracontinental trade corridors. For instance, it costs more than $4,000 per 40-foot container to move goods from Apapa port in Lagos to the Lagos Mainland, this is almost the same price it takes to ship from the US to Nigeria.
Culture and capacity have been listed as some of the factors behind the aforementioned challenges. In 2021, over 5000 were abandoned at Appa port by importers due to "cumbersome Customs procedures and the high cost of the clearance". In Nigeria, a cargo is classified as overtime if it stays more than 90 days in the seaport after discharge from the ship and such cargoes are subject to seizure by Customs.
Founded in 2018 by Miishe Addy (CEO) and Solomon Torgbor (COO), Jetstream is building a digital infrastructure to enable trade corridors across Africa. The founders started Jetstream to enable African businesses to see and control their own cross-border supply chains. By using an online system, the company aggregates private-sector logistics providers at African ports and borders. Jetstream also provides financing to freight forwarders.
To enable its efforts in the cross-border logistics services market which is estimated to reach a $32 billion revenue by 2025, Jetstream has raised a $13 million pre-series A in a debt and equity round from Cauris and other equity investors Octerra, Wuri Ventures, Seed9, The MBA Fund, French development institution Proparco and ASCVC, a venture fund founded by executives of the supply chain visibility platform Project44.
Alitheia IDF and Golden Palm—Jetstream's existing investors also participated in the round.
With this investment, the Ghana-based logistics company which is currently operational in 29 countries, including 12 African nations, intends to expand into new countries.
Jetstream will also continue to improve its technology platform, which "vertically aggregates fragmented logistics and financing vendors in the world of African trade". Starting with the merger of its two offerings—financing for freight forwarders and logistics services for cargo importers and exporters.
Per TechCrunch, Jetstream has bundled both products over the past couple of months to serve only cargo owners. "Running those two lines side by side, we observed that the import or export business controls the supply chain. Although the cargo owners and freight forwarders have a lot of information asymmetry, the importer and exporter can put pressure on the freight forwarder to digitize the supply chain. We simplified our business into just the import-export product line by directly them with a combination of trade financing and logistics," Miishe said.
Since the company secured its last disclosed investment in 2021, it has disbursed loans worth $9 million—50 loans per month. According to Jestream, its revenue grew by 48% and active customers by 102% in 2022, the company currently oversees diverse shipments consisting of 47% air freight, 44% ocean freight and 9% ground transport.