Israeli supermarket giant Shufersal has tapped Israeli-founded transit tech firm Via Transportation to power the food and goods retail company’s middle-mile delivery process and improve its distribution operations.
The agreement marks Via’s entry into the logistics sector in Israel.
The 10-year-old company, founded by Daniel Ramot and Oren Shoval, initially developed an on-demand ride-sharing service with a mobile app that connects multiple passengers who are headed the same way, allowing them to share a vehicle. It later leveraged its transit platform to work with cities, public agencies, transport operators and large corporations on planning transportation systems in 35 countries.
Via says its software “addresses the challenges of the last and middle mile by working with retailers and couriers to intelligently plan, optimize, and manage their distribution systems.” The company already provides smart logistics solutions in the US, Japan, Germany, the UK, and Malta.
With Shufersal, Via will leverage its mobility software platform “to enable more efficient and accurate movement of goods from distribution centers to more than 300 branch locations across Israel, and to improve the overall distribution process,” according to the companies’ joint announcement.
By integrating Via’s software into Shufersal’s distribution systems, the supermarket chain will be able to “dynamically plan, optimize, track, and monitor deliveries in real-time across hundreds of trucks transporting goods from its logistics centers to its branches, all over the country,” it said.
“We’ve built software that not only enables efficient, equitable, and sustainable public transit but also applies to multiple verticals — school bus, paratransit, and logistics — in which transportation is the most important pillar,” said Israel Duanis, SVP of Logistics and Delivery Platforms at Via.
“This demonstrates the flexibility and breadth of our product to support our partners and their customers,” he told The Times of Israel.
Shufersal is one of Israel’s largest food and retail companies, with a food retail market share of 20% and a market cap of about NIS 6.9 billion ($2.14 billion). The company also owns the Be Pharm chains with about 90 stores nationally and runs a private label operation for food and goods as well as an online shopping platform with about 20% of the market share, according to company data from May 2021.
Yiftach Bloch, director of the Supply Chain Division at the Shufersal Group, said the agreement with Via “to introduce an intelligent logistics platform for the transportation of goods will significantly improve and streamline our distribution system, reducing miles traveled and air pollution.”
The new system will “reduce operating costs by reducing miles driven and shorten planning processes, while improving communication between the control center, drivers, and Shufersal’s branches,” the company said.
“We are proud to partner with Shufersal to upgrade the grocery chain’s distribution network with Via’s intelligent software that was built on years of experience moving people and goods,” Duanis added in a company statement. “Our partnership with Shufersal is an important part of a global market shift in the world of logistics operation, making the entire distribution process more streamlined and efficient.”
Via, with offices in Tel Aviv and New York, has raised over $900 million to date with investors including BlackRock, ION Crossover Partners, Koch Disruptive Technologies, Shell Ventures, and Israeli VC firms Pitango Venture Capital and 83North, according to the database of Start-Up Nation Central.
Last May, Via acquired US firm Remix, a developer of collaborative mapping software for transportation planning, for $100 million. In 2020, the company acquired Fleetonomy, a developer of AI-based optimization solutions for fleets of autonomous vehicles.