October 1, 2019

Convoy offers shippers free TMS

Move could draw volume into firm's digital freight matching network.

By DC Velocity Staff

Online truck brokerage Convoy today launched a free transportation management system (TMS) platform in a bid to drive more user traffic to the loads moving through its digital freight matching network.

The "Convoy Connect" TMS gives shippers immediate access to nationwide capacity and reduces their time to tender by half, Seattle-based Convoy said in a blog post. Convoy Connect allows shippers to manage all of their existing carriers, but unlike competing TMS software, Connect also gives shippers instant access to Convoy's capacity with guaranteed, real-time pricing, the firm said.

For customers with large carrier networks, Convoy partners with enterprise-class TMS systems through Convoy Now, an open API (application programming interface) to access Convoy's network with real-time pricing and capacity for live and drop loads. 

For example, Convoy said in August it had partnered with supply chain software provider BluJay Solutions in the latest alignment of digital freight matching (DFM) and TMS providers. That linkup came just a week after rival freight marketplace vendor Uber Freight made a similar move through an integration with MercuryGate Inc.'s TMS.

According to Convoy, the strategy marks the first time a company has offered the industry a free TMS with pre-configured access to a digital freight network. Users can connect to the cloud-based platform with no need for additional information technology (IT) resources, and tender their first load within 5 minutes of signing up, Lindsay Watt, head of product for Convoy Connect, said in an email. Shippers can also migrate all their existing carriers, pricing, and locations over to Convoy Connect.

From Convoy's point of view, the move makes sense because it could drive more users to the firm's network of trucks. "Convoy's revenue source is the same as it always has been. When a customer chooses to tender a load to Convoy's network, they pay us to move that freight," Watt said. "Convoy Connect, which is an entirely free offering, provides shippers the ability to access and tender the Convoy network more easily along with other carriers in the shipper's network. Of course, when a shipper chooses to tender to a different carrier through Convoy Connect, Convoy gets no payment."

The move is Convoy's latest expansion of its services since integrating its platform with DHL Supply Chain in September, rolling out a real-time freight-booking platform in July to help users avoid the volatile spot market, and adding an automated reloads function in June that allows drivers to book multiple loads at a time.

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