Flexport returns to CES: Return of the shipping container booth!

Flexport container booth

Sands Expo Convention Center, Level 2
Booth #44163
(Click here for the exhibitor map)

Last year at the Consumer Electronics Show, Flexport retrofitted and shipped our own container booth to Las Vegas.

(For a quick 60 second video on how we built the booth at CES, check it out here).

For CES 2017, we’re excited to announce that we are bringing back our container booth to build on last year’s success! We’re looking forward to exhibiting even more of our clients and hosting our Flexport friends.

Come by our booth for a drink on Day 1 of CES!
(Thursday, January 5, from 3 PM – 6 PM).

Looking to chat with someone on our team at CES 2017?

We’d be happy to connect at [email protected]!

Looking to learn more cool facts about shipping?

Check out www.flexport.com/blog

JULY 2016: Ocean Freight Market Updates (Asia – USA Trade Lanes)

The last few quarters were very bad for carriers financially. Q2 is expected to be even worse with industry analysts forecasting over $6 billion in total losses for 2016.

In an attempt to drive up prices and stem this long period of industry-wide decline, carriers have begun to reduce their total container carrying capacity.

In summary: carriers’ reduction of total container space + a rising demand for shipping services = higher container costs.

Below, you will find:

  • The announced General Rate Increase (GRI) and Peak Season Surcharge (PSS)
  • High level ocean freight market analysis
  • Recommended steps



The following rate increases are scheduled to take effect in July for cargo moving from Asia into all U.S. Ports:

Announced for July 2016 and August 2016 (in $USD)

DATE 20’ 40’ 40HQ 45’
General Rate Increase Jul 1, 2016 $540 $600 $600 $760
Peak Season Surcharge Jul 15, 2016 $320 $400 $450 $506
General Rate Increase Aug 1, 2016 $900 $1000 $1125 $1265


Our pricing team continuously monitors the status of proposed rate hikes to ensure that we are able to mitigate increases as quickly as the market conditions allows.

To better understand these rate increases, here are the key market factors at play:

  • Stormy financial waters for carriers
    • To stem the tidal wave of financial losses (forecasted to exceed $6 billion) carriers are trying to increase rates.
    • The July increase appears to be the first rate increase to “stick” in the pricing game between the carriers
    • For more context, read our game theory analysis of ocean carrier competition
  • Carriers are actively reducing supply (to drive up demand):
    • Cancellation of services – CMA-CGM the world’s third largest ocean freight carrier recently announced the cancellation of their “Taiwan Strait” service between South China and the US East Coast
    • Merger of sailing schedules – CMA-CGM merged their “Yellow Star” and “Bohai” services between China, Southeast Asia and the US West Coast
    • Blank sailingscarriers (including the G6 alliance) had a few “blank sailings” – basically cancelling a ship or port of call on a given route to further reduce capacity for Transpacific trade
    • Ripple effects on alliances – UASC and CSCL (CMA’s alliance partners) as well as all other carriers buying slots on these vessels will also be affected by this change


What do these carrier updates and changes in the market ultimately mean for you?

Delays. When ships are full, containers are rolled to subsequent sailings, which are likely to also be overbooked.
Increased costs. Container slots go to highest bidder — it’s as simple as that — be prepared to pay more to keep your supply chain full (even if you have a contract!).
Inflexibility. When this space reduction is compounded with the normal volume increase of the “peak season” months of July-November, it will become extremely difficult to reserve last-minute space on ships.



  • Plan ahead! – Make bookings as far ahead as possible and at a minimum of 2.5 weeks ahead of your desired sailing date. Carriers expect an accurate booking forecast at least 14 days prior to vessel departure.
  • Communicate Work closely with your vendors and ensure that they can meet the deadlines. When space is tight, carriers will put you at the end of the line, if you cancel bookings.
  • Lean on Flexport – Your dedicated Flexport Team will keep you abreast of shipment status and update any changes at origin, empowering you to make real-time business decisions to manage your supply chain.

Following this protocol will go a long way to facilitate your shipments with minimal disruption and to the greatest extent possible, avoid delays at origin due to space issues.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact [email protected] (Flexport’s Director of Pricing & Procurement) or your Logistics Manager & Account Executive.

Thank you for shipping with Flexport!

Flexport Named One of the “Best Places to Work” by San Francisco Business Times

Flexport is named as one of the Bay Area's Best Places to Work.

We’re thrilled and honored that Flexport was named one of the Best Places to Work in the San Francisco Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times and Silicon Valley Business Journal!

This annual award recognizes companies with outstanding workplace environments that attract and retain happy, engaged, and productive employees. More than 400 Bay Area companies participated in the survey, and were ranked on topics like personal growth, workplace satisfaction, and managerial effectiveness.

“We are honored to be named one of the ‘Best Places to Work’ in the Bay Area,” said Ryan Petersen, CEO of Flexport. “Our employees are essential to our company and our customers’ continued success, and we take great pride in cultivating an environment and culture for employees to thrive.”

As our company grows, headcount and physical expansion can put serious strain on a culture. In the last year alone, we’ve grown our company significantly, from 25 people in San Francisco to over 97 employees across four different locations around the world: San Francisco, New York, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.  

So, what contributes to Flexport’s DNA?

  • Open Lines of Communication: As a fast-growing company, we encourage employees to speak up when they see opportunity for improvement. This includes an ongoing “ideas” email channel, where various initiatives have been conceived and owned. In addition, we hold “AMA” (Ask Me Anything) sessions during each All-Hands meetings, where team members submit anonymous questions in advance.
  • Autonomous Squads: We operate in agile teams called squads. Squads allow us to fulfill both individual autonomy and team synchronicity. Each squad member (e.g., logistics manager, account executive, customs broker) brings their unique expertise to ensure we balance our focus of client success, operational excellence, and driving revenue.
  • A Place to Learn and Grow: With weekly lunch and learns, scholarships for industry certifications, and a sponsored book program for personal and professional development books, we invest in developing a team of continuous learners so that our team grows on the job and beyond.
  • Treating Employees Well: From catered lunches to ordering your favorite snacks, and a dog-friendly environment, we strive to create an environment of comfort that allows our team to do their best work. In addition, we encourage wellness activities (such as weekly meditation) and flexible time off.
  • Financial Incentives: Among other things, we want to invest in our employees’ future. That’s why we offer them a 10-year expiration for stock options, a 401k program, and life/disability insurance.  

We do our best to make sure that we are always guided by employee-centered values. As we continue to grow and expand internationally, we are committed to putting our team members first and open to new ideas to help keep them happy and innovative.


Learn more about joining our efforts to change the world of trade at flexport.com/careers!

Come see Flexport’s shipping container at CES 2016!


90% of everything you see around you has been carried inside a shipping container like this one. And Flexport is bringing our own shipping container to Las Vegas!

We are very excited about showing some of our coolest clients and their featured products.

Bellabeat – as featured on Forbes, TechCrunch, Wall Street Journal, WIRED.

Nod – as featured on BBC, TechCrunch, TIME.com, WIRED.

Osmo – as featured on Bloomberg Business, Forbes, NBC, Wall Street Journal.

Electric Objects – as featured on Bloomberg Business, Forbes, the New York Times, TIME.com.

Ring – as featured on FORTUNE, Mashable, TechCrunch, Wall Street Journal.



Looking to chat with someone on our team at CES 2016?

We’d be happy to connect at [email protected]!

Looking to learn more cool facts about shipping?

Check out www.flexport.com/blog

Schedule Your Shipments Around China’s Golden Week!

Golden Week in China runs from October 1 – 7 this year! Plan to ship by the end of September in order to avoid this national holiday, in which customs is offline and fewer vessels are scheduled, and account for a spike in port congestion as the world’s largest exporter comes back to life.


Meanwhile, autumn may have just begun but major retailers are already in holiday mode, also known as “peak season” in freight forwarding. Just as you might anticipate for holiday passenger travel, we expect additional delays at the terminals, General Rate Increases and other potential costs associated with increased activity at the already overwhelmed port infrastructure. Chassis shortages, fulfillment center appointment backlogs and more could result in longer transit times.

Please take note of these upcoming events and their potential impact on your supply chain, from a speed, efficiency and cost perspective.

Want to Revolutionize Global Trade? Flexport is Hiring!

Our SoMa-based team of 40 is ramping up sales, operations, finance and HR to take on the $1.1 T (T for trillion!) global freight forwarding industry.

Flexport’s mission is to fix the user experience in global trade and unite the world in a seamless web of commerce. Our team is committed to using technology to create a world where any two businesses can trade without regard for geographic distance, logistical complexity, or regulatory barriers.

We are a new kind of freight forwarder, one focused on long-term value creation for our customers through a combination of technology, expertise, high-integrity service, and an unparalleled worldwide network. Our customers include companies in consumer electronics, robotics, and hardware along with larger e-commerce businesses that each import hundreds of millions in goods.

Positions Open Today:

Engineering – we are looking for Front-End Engineers and Software Engineers to create tools that that make it easier and more efficient for companies of all sizes to participate in global trade

Operationsthe Logistics Consultant, Logistics Manager and Operations Associate positions are the heart of Flexport, managing global logistics with outstanding service. We’re also seeking talented specialists for Project Manager and U.S. Customs Entry Writer roles.

Salesthe Senior Account Executive and Sales Development Representative positions are key for shepherding our high-growth clients through the complexities of international trade, and helping us continue to see incredible growth!

People Operations Round up the brightest minds in logistics and tech to join our rocket ship as our first Recruiting Manager.

FinanceJoin our team as a Finance Analyst and take responsibility for designing and managing key controls around revenue recognition, forecasting and cost-saving opportunities that support our growth.

Paul Graham, founder of Y Combinator says, “Flexport is one of those rare startups that will not merely satisfy its market, but grow it. There will be more international trade because of Flexport, and international trade is a very big thing for there to be more of.”

We are lightyears ahead of traditional freight forwarders in terms of tech, expertise, and network. Working at the intersection of two of the greatest forces for good the world has ever seen–international trade and information technology–we are creating a platform that empowers the next generation of great entrepreneurs to do business on a truly global scale.

Come Join Us Today!

Yet Another Price-Fixing Scandal in Freight Forwarding (YAPSIFF)

Anyone who has shipped products internationally with a typical freight forwarder is familiar with the litany of questionable charges that appear on the invoice at the end of the process–document fees, fuel surcharges, manifest fees, security charges and more.

Therefore, it was not surprising when a class action lawsuit was launched in June 2013 (Precisions Associates, Inc v. Panalpina World Transport) which claimed that many of these “charges” were the result of a sweeping criminal conspiracy allegedly carried out by most of the world’s major freight forwarding companies.

Below is a partial list of the alleged agreements to impose fraudulent line items on freight forwarding invoices.

  • 2001 Security Surcharge Agreement;
  • 2002 Fuel Surcharges Agreement;
  • 2002 New Export System Fee Agreement;
  • U.S. Customs Air “AMS” Charge Agreement (Japanese Defendants’ Conspiracy);
  • 2005 Chinese Currency Adjustment Factor Agreement;
  • 2005, 2006, and 2007 Peak Season Rate Increase Agreement;
  • 2006 Security and Explosives Examination Surcharges Agreement;
  • U.S. Customs Air “AMS” Charge Agreement (European Defendants’ Conspiracy);
  • U.S. Customs Ocean “AMS” Charge Agreement (Japanese Defendants’ Conspiracy);

According to the latest amendment to the class action lawsuit, certain freight forwarder defendants have already pleaded guilty or entered into plea agreements regarding the price-fixing on these surcharges as alleged in the complaint–including Kuehne + Nagel, Nippon Express, and Hankyu-Hanshin Express.

What’s notable is that these global forwarders are just the ones who’ve already admitted to participating in the conspiracy. The complete list of alleged conspirators runs to nearly a full page, accessible at the bottom of this post, and on the class action website link.

The truth is, the impact of these fraudulent charges goes way beyond the customers directly affected. It is safe to say that nearly every single American alive during specific decade purchased at least one product that was manufactured overseas, and therefore bore a share of this fraud in the form of artificially more expensive products.

Are you an existing / past client of one of the defendant freight forwarders?

If you are (or were) working with any of the companies alleged to be involved in this criminal price-fixing conspiracy, access the case website and add your company’s name to the list on the lawsuit to claim the settlement your business is rightfull owed.

Once your company has joined the class action lawsuit, come sign up for Flexport. We are a new kind of freight forwarder; one focused on long-term value creation for our customers through a combination of technology, high-integrity service, and an unparalleled worldwide service provider network.

From the start, Flexport has pledged to be fully upfront and transparent with our clients. Our mission is to make global trade more accessible by empowering businesses with technology–not to make an extra $50 on each shipment.

In a world where every other freight forwarder is allegedly engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud their customers, we are working towards becoming the most transparent freight forwarder in the world by earning your trust–one shipment at a time.

As promised, here’s a current list of companies allegedly part of this vast criminal conspiracy against their customers.