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Team Slync5 min read

The Friday Five: raises new funding to reinvent the logistics industry raises $60 million to automate supply chain processes - VentureBeat is on a mission to reinvent the way logistics gets done. And with a new round of funding led by Goldman Sachs Growth, is doubling down on its commitment to serve customers, enhance the product, and grow its presence worldwide.

In the best of times, logisticians face a massive challenge in driving alignment between shippers, forwarders, carriers, and information systems. As VentureBeat notes, the global pandemic has only exacerbated the problem, resulting in increased inventory inefficiencies and a tightening market for freight and warehousing. 

Because so much depends on the continuous movement of products and supplies, enterprises can’t afford to stop and wait for digital transformation to take place. It’s left forwarders and shippers to rely on outdated systems that silo data, resulting in workflows that are heavy on manual processes and outdated information. gives enterprises a new way to think about digitalization with a platform experience that easily integrates with existing systems and trading partners, ingests structured and unstructured data, and automates processes and workflows to improve productivity and drive meaningful transformation.

“This is a great milestone for us at Slync and a testament to our amazing people and the hard work they have put into building this company since the beginning,” Kirchner said in a statement. “For us, everything starts with our customers, and more capital to invest in our global team, accelerate our product development, and grow our service offerings is a big win for all of them.”

Read more about Slync’s new funding here: 

Ocean container losses topple annual average in 2 months - Freightwaves   

There are good trends and there are bad trends. In the world of ocean container shipping, there’s one trend we’d all like to see go away. 

We’re not talking about mega-ships and the promise of increased capacity they bring, but rather the growing tendency for containers to fall overboard (as documented here and here in previous Friday Fives). In just two months, the number of containers lost at sea nearly doubled the annual average. Approximately 2,675 containers were lost in five incidents that took place between Nov. 30 and Jan. 1, Freightwaves reports. Causes include heavy seas, high winds, and intense storms. Four of the five incidents took place in the Pacific. 

According to the article, only a fraction of the containers shipped by sea are lost each year. A 2020 report by the World Shipping Council found that an average of 1,382 containers are lost each year -- about 0.006% of the 226 million containers loaded onto ships annually. 

Trans-Atlantic container trade growth accelerating - Journal of Commerce

Don’t call it a comeback, but after spending most of 2020 on a downturn, demand for trans-Atlantic container shipping is once again on the rise. 

Citing strong growth of U.S. imports from Europe beginning in the second half of last year, the Journal of Commerce reports that December volumes were up about 7.6% over the same period in 2019. With the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continuing, that trend could continue throughout 2021. A Hapag-Lloyd executive told the JOC he expects trans-Atlantic demand to be robust going forward, though not as high as in the Pacific. 

In more good news for the industry, the number of blank sailings is also going down as the reignited demand has caused carriers to keep to their schedules. 

Logistics bottlenecks pose major problems for clothing supply chains - Just-Style

They say fashion never sleeps, but that doesn’t mean it never slows down. 

Port congestion, capacity constraints, and heightened demand have pushed container rates ever higher, and it’s causing significant issues for the footwear and apparel industry, Just-Style reports. Brands faced up to five times the cost to move apparel exported from Vietnam by the end of 2020, with containers to the U.S. and U.K. costing up to $5,000 and $7,200, respectively. Topping it all off, shipping delays resulting from port congestion and blank sailings are putting seasonal items at risk. 

With the shortage of empty containers available in Asia and manufacturers struggling to keep up with the demand for new ones, the disruption could continue into the latter half of 2021, says an official from maritime research firm Drewry

Logistics hiring contracted to start the year - The Wall Street Journal 

Nothing has been normal since the start of the pandemic. Stores and restaurants closed, people stayed home, and for the first time ever, the general public started to really care about the supply chain (when there’s a shortage of toilet paper, who can blame them). Amid all of the chaos, jobs in the logistics sector boomed as companies struggled to keep up with the demand for an unprecedented wave of online shopping.

Although the pandemic rages on, the rise in logistics jobs and salaries has started to show signs of slowing, according to The Wall Street Journal. Trucking, warehousing and parcel delivery companies combined for a loss of about 34,000 jobs in January, even while the rest of the U.S. economy added jobs. 

It’s worth noting that even in a typical year, the post-holiday season usually tends to a lull demand for retail and delivery jobs. The jobs trend seems to reflect that, with warehousing and last-mile delivery workers bearing the brunt of losses. Although jobs in trucking declined as well, the Journal notes that demand for freight remains high, and it’s still a competitive space for qualified drivers. 

Across the logistics industry, companies are working to do more with less and reinvent the processes and interactions that take place behind the scenes to ensure products and supplies keep moving.

Thanks for stopping by, folks! Happy Friday! 

Don’t forget to check out last week’s news and come back next week for the following Friday Five Logistics News Roundup!