Descartes Acquires MK Data Services

Descartes Systems Group, which unites logistics-intensive businesses in commerce via the Global Logistics Network (GLN), acquired MK Data Services ("MK Data"), a US-based provider of denied party screening trade data and solutions.

According to the company, denied party screening is essential for minimizing business risk today. Governments of various countries, as well as international organizations, maintain a variety of lists of people, organizations and countries that it is restricted or prohibited to do business with. This includes customers, suppliers, employees and business partners for business processes such as contracting, shipping and payment.

“Denied party screening is of critical importance in shipping and international trade,” according to Descartes. “Often, the burden of compliance with these business restrictions is placed on those involved in the logistics of a shipment, such as the exporting business, the logistics intermediary/freight forwarder or the transportation carrier. Penalties for non-compliance have included civil fines, revocation of export privileges and criminal charges. In addition, since penalties are published publicly, non-compliance with these trade restrictions can bring with it tremendous reputational damage.”

For over 20 years, MK Data has provided technology solutions that help more than 900 businesses comply with these restrictions by screening for transactions with specified parties, the company said. As an existing business partner of Descartes with a connection to the GLN, MK Data's technology screens shipments against a comprehensive, frequently updated international database of restricted parties. MK Data's proprietary matching algorithms, which customers can sensitivity-adjust to suit their own risk concerns, flag potential compliance issues for prompt resolution, according to the company. Like Descartes' Customs Info trade data content, MK Data's content also powers leading Global Trade Management (GTM) systems, and can be integrated with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to enable customers to implement a trade compliance program.

"The Global Logistics Network is the logical place for multi-national shippers, logistics intermediaries and transportation carriers to screen for compliance with international trade restrictions," said Edward J. Ryan, Descartes' CEO. "Over 11,000 customers use the GLN to manage and execute shipments every day across various modes of transportation, countries of origin and destination and commodities. Our combination with MK Data is truly a unifying acquisition for our business, as trade compliance is both an individual and shared interest of every single participant on the GLN."

"With highly-recurring revenues and close relationships with GTM system providers, MK Data has been a growing, high-margin business with increasing relevance to the trade community," said Allan Brett, Descartes' CFO. "MK Data's solution has flexibility that enables targeted screening of individual shipment transactions over the GLN as well as ongoing compliance screening of our customers' own roster of prospects, customers and suppliers."

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