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Flexport To Cut Staff By 30% Amid Shipping Slowdown

A Flexport warehouse in Shenzhen, China

Flexport, a digitally focused freight company that has been in the midst of a leadership shake-up and corporate retrenchment, plans to lay off nearly a third of its staff.

Layoffs for 30% of workers are planned for the end of this month as the company continues to face difficulties amid sharp revenue declines, The Wall Street Journal reports. The staff cuts would affect roughly 950 employees, FreightWaves reports.

The move follows the exit of Dave Clark, a former Amazon executive who had been at the e-commerce giant for 23 years, from the CEO role at Flexport last month.

Flexport founder Ryan Petersen stepped back into the role, announcing the company would shed some of its more recent initiatives, shrink its office space and rescind job offers it had made.

The company's recent business maneuvers are aimed at a return to profitability, a Flexport spokesperson told Bisnow

“Ryan has been very transparent in the need to drive the growth and cost discipline required to return Flexport to profitability,” the spokesperson said by email. “We will do so in a way that doesn’t impact customer service and our ability to help grow our customers’ businesses. We won’t be commenting on specific details with regard to employee reductions.”

Layoffs began before Clark’s departure, with the company announcing a 20% layoff, or roughly 600 employees, in January. A reduction in shipping volumes from customers had resulted in the company being overstaffed, Petersen and Clark said as co-CEOs at the time.

The decline in freight prices this year has also added to Flexport’s financial woes. FedEx and UPS are among shipping companies looking to offer discounts in anticipation of a weaker holiday season this year, the WSJ reported. Logistics warehouse construction has sunk to a 10-year low, FreightWaves reported.

In the month since Petersen’s new reign as sole CEO, at least 11 top executives — many of whom were hired by Clark — have left Flexport, per the WSJ. Among them was Teresa Carlson, who joined Flexport as chief commercial officer and president in January. 

Flexport was founded in 2013 and has received $2.3B in funding over the years from high-profile Silicon Valley investors including venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and SoftBank Group’s Vision Fund. It raised $935M in its most recent fundraising round in February 2022 that put its valuation above $8B.