Home » 3PL/4PL, Features » UnionBank makes inroads in logistics with 30% stake in Shiptek

At the May 22 event marking the agreement signing between UnionBank of the Philippines subsidiary UBX and Shiptek Solutions, were (L-R) Shiptek Solutions Corp. chief operating officer Joey Ynion, Shiptek chief executive officer Eugenio Ynion, UBX CEO John Januszczak, UnionBank head of Platform Divisions Group Ramon Duarte.

UnionBank of the Philippines, via its subsidiary UBX, has made a foray into the logistics scene acquiring 30% stake in Shiptek Solutions Corp., developer of shipping and logistics platform Xlog.

With the acquisition, the UnionBank group will be integrating its e-commerce payment gateway and other digital financial services, as well as infuse UBX’s expertise in technology development and blockchain, into Xlog.

“As an industry leader in digital banking, we continuously endeavor to co-create innovations with like-minded companies who are as obsessed in forging transformative experiences for customers,” UnionBank president and chief executive officer Edwin Bautista said at the agreement signing on May 22.

“We have long sought to serve the logistics sector, and with the onset of digitization, the introduction of platforms like XLOG represents the industry’s movement from traditional methods to electronic. And with such change, it is vital for the bank to continue to be relevant to its customers by being present,” he added.

For his part, UBX CEO John Januszczak said: “UBX’s main thrust is to invest in complementary capabilities. We are developing platforms to go to market with business models that are beyond banking. We will also invest in capabilities and platforms that share the same objective.”

Xlog is a cloud-based end-to-end supply chain solution that consolidates shipping, warehousing, trucking, and customs brokerage services into one platform. Users such as importers and exporters can log in to Xlog, which is like Facebook but for the cargo community, and browse through a wide selection of service providers, including shipping lines, truckers, customs brokers, and warehousing.

Logistics service providers, meanwhile, can sign up to use the platform to offer their services, and even link the platform to their systems so information can be exchanged.

Shiptek president Eugenio Ynion, who has 26 years of experience in logistics, said the industry is ripe for digitization.

“Our traditional manual processes—the many and winding paper trails, emails, phone calls, negotiations—they are no longer enough to keep up with today’s business landscape which demands logistics to be more agile. We need radical transformation to be globally competitive and going digital is the way to go,” Ynion said.

Xlog’s digital infrastructure, which is seen as the first of its kind in the Philippines, serves as a launch pad for the country’s logistics industry to take a leap from the complex and error-prone analog practices of moving goods to a higher level of efficiency, connectivity, visibility and optimization.

Shiptek and UnionBank are also hopeful that Xlog’s disruptive technology will contribute to establishing the Philippines as a recognized hub for technological innovation.

With the partnership, UnionBank, UBX and Shiptek can tap into each other’s expertise and customer network, from small and medium enterprises to large-scale corporations. UnionBank will also be significantly involved in Shiptek’s daily operations, holding two out of five seats in the company’s Board of Directors.

Shiptek projects that UnionBank’s investment will help the company reach its aspiration of moving 500,000 to 1 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) this year, a huge leap from the thousands of TEUs being moved since Shiptek’s launch in 2018.

Shiptek chief marketing officer Nico Gonzales, in an interview with reporters on the sidelines of the agreement signing, said the partnership with UnionBank helps seal Xlog’s footprint in the Philippines. For its venture overseas, Gonzales said Shiptek is currently in talks with a couple of companies to help Shiptek in its search for a strategic partner to expand globally, initially in Asia Pacific, specifically in Singapore. He said they are also looking to expand to the Middle East and India. – Text and photo by Roumina Pablo

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