A new business has been spun out of logistics giant Cardinal Maritime to service a fast-growing market for digital platforms in the sector.  

Ceedbox Technology Solutions, led by managing director Alex Grant, is being backed by Cardinal Maritime and Woodland Group to take proprietary technology Leda to the market. 

“We could see the potential for Alex to build something for the business, but also something for the freight community,” said Brian Hay, chief executive at Cardinal Maritime.  

“But there was only so much we could do ourselves. To further develop the product, we needed some outside input from the industry, and some investment to do it.” 

Grant and his team of software engineers have spent the past three years as a self-managed unit within the Cardinal Maritime business. They have been developing the ‘Leda’ software platform in response to a growing demand from customers for the real-time tracking of goods in their supply chains. 

Twelve months ago, Hay approached Kevin Stevens at Woodland Group to see if he was interested in helping to develop the product further. After their initial discussions, Woodland agreed to become a shareholder in Ceedbox, alongside Cardinal Maritime and Alex Grant. 

“Our business expertise and experience of the road and air freight market allow us to contribute fresh ideas to accelerate the development of Leda,” said Stevens, who is the chief executive and chairman of Woodland Group. “That has proven to be the case already. Ceedbox sits in the middle as a neutral business but is working with ideas from both Cardinal and Woodland.” 

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Leda, which stands for Logistics Enterprise Data Application, started life as a purchase order management system, but it has been continually developed since its inception in 2017. Shipments can be managed and tracked using global mapping tools, and customers can also be notified of deliveries and delays. 

Shipping documents can be stored on the system, alongside financial summary data, and supply chain updates. Leda also includes a warehouse management system and a customs bureau interface, which tracks the clearance of goods through different countries. 

“If you don’t have a technology platform, then you are not in the game,” said Hay. “There are businesses out there developing software platforms; there have been a few startups that have received huge investment. But they are coming from a software background, rather than the service delivery of logistics.  

“Ceedbox has the backing of two logistics businesses, with the expertise to create a platform. We want it to have shared use and we will take it to the market.” 

Alex Grant, managing director at Ceedbox Technology Solutions, said: “This is a great opportunity. I have worked at Cardinal Maritime for the past 13 years and more recently started to head up the Ceedbox team of software engineers. We are working closely with the teams at Cardinal and Woodland Group to develop Leda and are excited by its potential.” 

Stevens added: “Leda is all about visibility; every element of a client’s supply chain is instantly accessible to them. Information can be followed, analysed and actioned in real-time based on the latest industry solutions and insights, to offer real supply chain optimisation.  

With support from our teams of industry experts, Ceedbox develops digital solutions that provide a fresh approach to supply chain planning and management for the industry to benefit from.” 

Cardinal Maritime, which is headquartered in Manchester, employs more than 400 people and has 21 offices globally.  

Woodland Group is based in Chelmsford and has 700 staff across the world. Its US business is headquartered in New York, and its Asian operations are run from Hong Kong.