21 Shipping Companies Powering the Supply Chain

And they're doing it with technology.
Ellen Glover
Senior Staff Reporter
June 13, 2022
Ellen Glover
Senior Staff Reporter
June 13, 2022

The global supply chain has been in turmoil for years now. It started with the Covid-19 pandemic (remember that toilet paper shortage?), and it hasn’t really let up since. Lately, there have been shortages in just about everything — from materials like lumber and microchips, to labor like retail workers and truck drivers. And, realistically, things aren’t likely to get much better anytime soon. 

We’re not just dealing with the logistical hurdles of the pandemic anymore. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has affected key supply lines for natural resources like wheat, sunflower oil, nickel and aluminum — all essential materials in many of today’s most commonly used products. As a result, countries in the Middle East and Africa are likely to experience serious food shortages (and even famine) in the coming months. And popular European car companies including BMW and Volkswagen have been forced to curtail production in their factories due to a shortage of wiring ordinarily sourced from Ukraine.

Of course, the supply chain has never been immune to shockwaves — it’s far too complex and intricate to not be. But constant backlogs, breakdowns and barriers seem to be the new normal, which means anticipating and responding to disruptions quickly is more important than ever. This scramble for more data and automation has led to a surge in demand for logistics tech.

Notable Logistics and Shipping Companies

  • Boston Dynamics
  • FloorFound
  • Kargo
  • Loadsmart
  • Project44
  • ShipBob
  • Zipline

“Supply chain is the unsung hero,” Leo Bonani, the CEO of supply chain mapping startup Sourcemap, told Built In in an interview earlier this year. “It’s just shifted to a totally strategic, competitive aspect of companies, when it wasn’t that way before.”

To get an idea of who is at the forefront of this shift, and what operations they’re prioritizing in the world of tech-enabled supply chain management, check out these 21 shipping and logistics companies.

 

Shipping and Logistics Companies to Know

Headquarters: Boston, Massachusetts

A longtime leader in the robotics industry, Boston Dynamics is perhaps best known for Spot, its quadrupedal robo-dog that can open doors, walk up stairs and even dance. But the MIT spinout also created a robot called Stretch — a flexible, mobile robot for warehouse operations. The autonomous bot can unload virtually any kind of package type from floor-loaded trailers and containers, and can lift up to 50 pounds. Stretch was only just brought to the commercial market a couple months ago, and is already sold out for the rest of the year.

 

Headquarters: Seattle, Washington

Convoy serves as a sort of digital matchmaker for trucking shippers and carriers. Using standard computer science algorithms, it has managed to automate about 95 percent of all its matches, making it much more efficient in handling large quantities of shipments than humans. Incidentally, Convoy’s approach tends to be a more environmentally friendly one since it often leads to fewer extraneous shipments — and less emissions — which is great news for this notoriously energy inefficient industry.

 

Headquarters: San Francisco, California

With a network of more than 50 warehouses and proprietary logistics technology, Deliverr helps businesses of all sizes offer one to two-day shipping to their customers, directly integrating into their online marketplaces and channels so they can manage the entire fulfillment process. Earlier this month, the company was acquired by Shopify for $2.1 billion — reportedly the largest acquisition ever carried out by the e-commerce giant — in an effort to combat the ongoing global supply chain crisis.

 

Headquarters: Austin, Texas

In the world of e-commerce, managing returns can be a major challenge. FloorFound aims to help companies, specifically smaller direct-to-consumer businesses, handle that challenge by reselling those returned, lightly used or unboxed items on their behalf. The company picks up the product, inspects it, stocks it at one of its warehouses, and then sells and delivers it all without any additional effort from the small business. Today, FloorFound counts furniture brands like Floyd, Burrow and Joybird among its many clients, and it plans to expand that list to include other oversized goods like mattresses and exercise equipment thanks to a fresh $10.5 million investment last month.

 

Headquarters: San Francisco, California

While many shipping and logistics companies focus on the entire journey of a shipment, Kargo focuses on one crucial phase of the process: the loading stage. This is often the last place a product can be verified before it is shipped to its final destination, ensuring nothing is missing or damaged. To remove the human error that often occurs at this point, Kargo has created sensing towers that, when installed in shipping facilities, use a variety of sensors to detect everything from weight to expiration dates of the cargo. That data is then compiled and sent to the company’s platform, along with video of the cargo being scanned and loaded onto trailers, creating what Kargo calls a “real-time source of truth.”

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Headquarters: Chicago, Illinois

Through a combination of artificial intelligence, machine learning and strategic partnerships Loadsmart’s technology is working to automate how freight is priced, booked and shipped. The company recently acquired truck management software Kaminon and dock scheduling software Opendock, as well as launched its own freight procurement software, in an effort to meet the demands of both shippers and carriers and facilitate the interaction of “all the different players” in the supply chain industry, co-founder and co-CEO Felipe Capella told Built In earlier this year.

 

Headquarters: Fully Remote

Mothership is the logistics backbone for leading delivery companies like GoPuff and DoorDash, and PayPal’s Happy Returns business. It allows these companies to make same-day freight deliveries by automatically dispatching orders to the nearest available truck in its network of thousands of operators. Its technology also tracks these shipments and identifies optimal routes for the truck drivers. Just last month, Mothership raised $76 million in fresh funding, and CEO Aaron Peck told Built In that the company is working to expand from 37 markets to a nationwide network.

 

Headquarters: Scottsdale, Arizona

MyCarrier allows companies to compare shipment quotes and transit times across carriers, as well as track their shipments. It also provides advanced insights into their shipping performance and identifies areas for improvement, and even provides a return on investment calculator to help companies figure out how to save more time and money.

 

Headquarters: Dallas, Texas

True to its name, Omni Logistics is a global logistics company that offers customized, end-to-end supply chain solutions depending on a given company’s specific needs. It focuses mainly on logistically demanding industries, including medical device manufacturing, retail and large-scale e-commerce. In addition to its facilities in San Francisco, Phoenix and Philadelphia, Omni Logistics recently opened a new 52,000-square-foot headquarters in Dallas to keep up with rising global demand.

 

Headquarters: Chicago, Illinois

Recently valued at $2.2 billion, project44 is considered to be a leader in the real-time visibility market. Shippers and logistics companies use its platform to increase their operational efficiency, reduce costs and improve their shipping performance. Project44’s technology is trusted by some of the biggest names in retail — including General Mills, The Home Depot and Amazon — and has garnered the attention of major investors like Goldman Sachs and Insight Partners. The company has also made a flurry of acquisitions over the last year, including that of last-mile delivery startup Convey in an effort to streamline shipping delays, estimated time of arrival changes and other downstream changes in the supply chain.

 

Headquarters: Chicago, Illinois

Through its cloud-based logistics platform, ShipBob provides small and medium-sized businesses with access to its network of fulfillment centers as well as its supply chain. By combining order and inventory management, warehouse management, and predictive data and analytics, the company helps e-commerce with all things shipping and logistics. ShipBob hit unicorn valuation about a year ago, and has since been growing its network of fulfillment centers across North America and Europe.

 

Headquarters: Carol Stream, Illinois

ShipFusion stores, manages and tracks inventory throughout its network of temperature-controlled warehouses across North America. It also has a platform that retailers can use to integrate with other technology (like Amazon Fulfillment, Magento and Shopify), process shipments and returns, as well as track their deliveries. The company currently owns and operates distribution centers in Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Toronto, and has plans to expand globally in the wake of a fresh $40 million investment from Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors.

 

Headquarters: Seattle, Washington

These days, same or next-day delivery is an expectation, not a luxury, and the key to providing that consistently is a coordinated supply chain. Shipium coordinates the notoriously disconnected supply chain steps in retail, offering a way for businesses to offer fast, free and on-time shipping. This is an especially important service in the world of e-commerce, where the satisfaction of consumers is largely determined by how quickly they get their desired product.

 

Headquarters: Fully Remote

Shippabo is working to bring more transparency, collaboration and data to the shipping and logistics industry through its cloud-based supply chain management platform. Companies use the platform to centralize all their data, track shipments from dock to door, and communicate with in-app messages to ensure everything runs smoothly.

 

Headquarters: Austin, Texas

Major brands like Dasani, Samsung and Shell rely on Shipwell’s platform to scale and personalize their logistical needs.The company works to prevent the issues that often arise when managing large fleets, providing instant quoting, booking and real-time shipment tracking. It also uses machine learning to quickly discover problems and facilitate communication between carriers and brokers.

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Headquarters: New York City, New York

Sourcemap offers a way for companies to identify all of the people they do business with in their entire global supply chain — all the way down to the folks who work on the farms and mines where their raw materials originate — and make sure everything is being run ethically and efficiently. In theory, this process could be done without technology if a company has a very simple supply chain, but these days most companies work with tens or even hundreds of thousands of individuals and businesses. So, Sourcemap offers the technological capabilities to do this job quickly and effectively.

 

Headquarters: Atlanta, Georgia

Stord’s platform helps brands unify their entire supply chain operations, from fulfillment to warehousing to last-mile delivery, all the while providing enterprise clients with the data they need to manage and optimize their systems. The company works with hundreds of familiar brands, including BODYARMOR and Dollar General. Stord’s services have been in especially high demand amid the pandemic, helping the company to earn more than $200 million in venture capital in just seven months, bringing it to a $1.3 billion valuation.

 

Headquarters: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tive improves supply chain visibility through cloud software and cellular trackers, allowing businesses to track their shipment packages at any time of day. It also monitors environmental factors that can impact packages, such as humidity, temperature and light exposure, which businesses can then use to make more informed decisions about their future shipments. Tive has reportedly been experiencing some major tailwinds in the midst of the pandemic, and is now expanding its global presence.

 

Headquarters: Plainfield, Illinois

Valqari’s smart drone delivery station is designed to essentially be a secure drop-off station where drones and other autonomous vehicles can land and deliver parcels. It currently holds utility patents in more than a dozen countries around the world, including the United States, China, Australia, Germany and the United Kingdom. It also established a partnership with Sprint back in 2019, becoming the first smart mailbox to connect to its HTC 5G Hub.

 

Headquarters: Palo Alto, California

Wing’s fleet of drones can deliver hundreds of products, including food and medicine, in a matter of minutes. It has also developed an unmanned traffic management platform in order to safely route its drones through the sky. The Google subsidiary recently formed a partnership with Walgreens in order to provide drone deliveries of over-the-counter medications to specific regions of the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area — its first attempt at providing automated delivery services in a densely populated metro. Today, Wing is operating in parts of Australia, Finland and the United States.

 

Headquarters: San Francisco, California

What it does: Zipline operates a global logistics network as well as a fleet of autonomous drones, focusing specifically on healthcare-related shipments.The company originally began testing its drone program overseas in 2016, delivering medical supplies, blood and vaccines across Rwanda and Ghana. It then brought its operations stateside for the first time in 2020 to deliver valuable medical supplies and personal protective equipment to hospitals overwhelmed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Zipline says its fixed-wing, battery-operated drones can travel more than 100 miles and carry up to four pounds of supplies.

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