US-based Marco Financial Partners, a trade finance fintech firm targeting SMEs in the Americas, is teaming up with logistics giant DP World to become a lender on its Cargoes Finance platform. 

Marco, which provides working capital facilities to SMEs in the US and Latin America, says the partnership will allow users of Cargoes Finance “to access the financing they require to grow and ultimately help close the growing US$1.7tn global trade finance gap”. 

The Miami-headquartered fintech provides factoring, asset-based lending, purchase order finance and supply chain finance, using artificial intelligence and document recognition technology to speed up SME access to working capital. It was founded in 2019 and is backed by a US$7mn equity seed round led by Arcadia Funds LLC and Kayyak Ventures. 

DP World, which operates 90 terminals including a dozen in Central and South America, launched Cargoes Finance in October, offering a range of pre and post-shipment financing products, as well as extended payment terms. 

It also gives financing options for logistics processes, receivables and payables financing, and invoice discounting, while users can boost working capital by using inventory as collateral. 

“DP World’s global footprint and tremendous cargo volume opens exciting new opportunities for Marco to help close the trade finance gap that is disproportionately impacting small exporters and stymieing their access to the global economy,” says Marco’s co-founder and chief executive Jacob Shoihet. 

He adds that the partnership means Marco’s document recognition and analytics tool, MarcoScan, will be available to users of the Cargoes Finance platform. 

Sinan Ozcan, senior executive officer at DP World’s financial services business, says the move is intended to accelerate progress in bridging the global trade finance gap in markets that have a large number of SMEs but limited access to finance. 

That gap – calculated as the difference between demand and supply for financing facilities – has continued to widen since the start of the pandemic, according to research by the Asian Development Bank. 

Marco estimates that the trade finance gap in Latin America alone stands at US$350bn. Though SME exporters handle around half of all global trade, they face a 50% rejection rate for financing applications to banks, it says. 

“With a strong presence in the US and Latin America, Marco enhances our coverage to geographies that have a huge underserved SME base and access to credit has been a key challenge that remains unsolved,” Ozcan adds.