Exclusive: Maritime solutions startup PortDesk suspends operations

Exclusive: Maritime solutions startup PortDesk suspends operations
Pushpit Pallav, founder and chief executive of PortDesk

Integrated maritime solutions firm PortDesk has suspended operations, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told TechCircle.

It was not immediately clear whether a fund crunch or other reasons had prompted the Noida-headquartered company to take this step, or whether it had shut down altogether.

The company’s website was offline at the time of publishing this report. Its most recent filings with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs date back to July 2017 and the company has not filed any financial statements since inception.

PortDesk halted its services sometime in the last couple of months, the above-mentioned person said on the condition of anonymity.

The development comes a year after the firm raised $2 million (Rs 12 crore at the time) in seed investment from Alphard Maritime Group, a Singapore-based maritime services company.

Separate email queries sent to PortDesk founder Pushpit Pallav and Alphard Maritime Group seeking further details did not immediately elicit a response.

Operated by PortDesk Services Pvt. Ltd, PortDesk was launched in December 2016 by Pallav, who had experience in the shipping industry. He had previously worked with shipping giants such as A.P. Moller – Maersk, Cargill, Scorpio Group, and Norvic Shipping.

The company offered merchant vessels a single platform to manage all port-related costs through a proprietary cost management system.

In addition, PortDesk offered its customers an array of services including agent appointments, and chartering services.

Port Desk also served as an e-procurement platform for the marine and shipping industry and provided port disbursement, bunker, vendor, lay time and other voyage services.

Besides, it also offered a host of IT-enabled software services which helped ship-owners, managers, operators, charters to reduce operating expenditure in categories such as marine supply, port agencies, and services and towage providers.

Apart from Noida, the company also had offices in Singapore and Dubai.

Scaling down

There have been a few instances in the recent past of funded startups either suspending operations or shutting shop altogether.

In the broader logistics sector, Delhi-based hyperlocal logistics startup Turant Delivery had ceased operations in May 2017, less than two years after its launch. A deepening fund crunch and failure to raise capital had rendered the business unviable.

Last month, TechCircle had reported that Bumper, a mobile marketplace and booking platform for car servicing backed by SAIF Partners, had shut down its operations following its inability to raise follow-on funding.

Also last month, TechCircle reported that business-to-business e-commerce platform Shotang had scaled down its operations. It let go of most of its employees while its co-founder left to join another startup.

Last December, Styletag, an online platform that offered curated designer wear via flash sales, suspended operations.