LevelSeas Buys SeaLogistics

The inevitable slimming of the ECommerce side of the marine business has commenced, with several majors dropping out of business and others merging. Last month. London-based eshipbroker LevelSeas acquired its main competitor, Houston-based SeaLogistics, and New-York based MaritimeDirect closed its doors forever. Yet another. OneSea, indicated that a merger was imminent.

The news comes as little surprise as — for anyone who has not spent the last six months in a cave — it is painstakingly evident that the dollars behind speculative E-commerce start-ups are dropping faster than their stock prices. Simply put, with the world economy entering shaky new ground, less investment dollars are available, and fewer still for businesses that show little to no hope of generating significant revenues.

LevelSeas was founded by Shell, Cargill, and London shipbroker Clarksons in April 2000, to broker ships for cargoes over the Internet. It has always been seen by the shipping industry as the lead contender, closely followed by SeaLogistics.

The deal with SeaLogistics is designed to strengthen LevelSeas' position in the tanker markets especially. LevelSeas' core business is e-broking, but the platform also offers voyage-management and risk management tools. Freight futures trading will also be offered. The first major shipping e-broker to fold was London-based Shipdesk, which failed to re-open its offices in the New Year, while MaritimeDirect had also talked of entering the e-broking market.

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