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The “unsexiest trillion-dollar startup” launches another innovation in logistics

Flexport CTO Amos Elliston and CEO/Founder Ryan Petersen (from left)

PortandTerminal.com, March 28, 2019

San Francisco, CA – Back in 2016 the respected technology publication TechCrunch ran a tongue-in-cheek article headline that called Flexport The unsexiest trillion-dollar startup“. The article was written long before Flexport’s latest round of financing they announced in February this year that saw them raise $1 billion in a round led by SoftBank. That recent funding round valued Flexport at $3.2 billion.

Flexport just upped their sexy game again this week with their announcement of the launch of “OceanMatch”, a platform that allows shippers to lower their freight costs through intelligent cargo matching, the company says.


Flexport describes OceanMatch as “the first data-informed ocean freight consolidation offering that identifies available container space on compatible shipments and matches them to save Flexport shippers time and money“.

Granted, not very sexy sounding but a very a big innovation nevertheless.

How OceanMatch works

Upon receiving shipment data at the point of quotation, the Flexport OceanMatch calculates the weight and dimension of the cargo and whether it can be co-loaded into a container with other Flexport shipments, thus saving shippers the cost of booking an FCL.

Shipments that qualify for OceanMatch could see freight rate savings of up to 35%

The company said this means shippers continue to receive the benefits of FCL shipments – faster transit times and less risk of delays – as well as the lower cost of LCL shipments.

It said shipments that qualify for OceanMatch could see freight rate savings of up to 35%.

Key Insight

A Flexport study into import data for FCL shipments into the US, derived from PIERS and ImportGenius statistics in 2018, “accounting for both volume and weight parameters, showed that containers on average were only 65% utilised”. That means that on average, there is an opportunity to fill that unutilised 35% so that everybody wins.

OceanMatch allows shippers to access the benefits of Full Container Load (FCL) freight—such as low prices, fast transit times, and less risk of delay—without needing to fill or pay for a whole container.

In other benefits, LCL cargo used to complete an OceanMatch container will receive the same priority level as a traditional FCL shipment, meaning cargo is unloaded and dispatched first upon arrival, which can dramatically improve final destination delivery times. Furthermore, clients who traditionally ship only once per week can now further secure their supply chains by shipping at least twice per week using Flexport OceanMatch at only marginally increased cost, Flexport says.

“Shippers have always had to choose between shipping cadence and container utilization,” Ram Siddarth, vice president of ocean consolidations at Flexport, said in a release. “If you chose to purchase in smaller quantities or if your factory couldn’t produce enough inventory on time to fill up a container, you had no choice but to sacrifice container utilization and ship a partly empty container or risk disrupting your supply chain. OceanMatch lets Flexport customers optimize for both speed and efficiency, all powered by data.”

Maybe it’s time for TechCrunch to rethink what they think is “sexy” because OceanMatch sounds pretty gorgeous to us.

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