Load-matching services that bring empty trailers and backhaul loads together typically are the province of transportation brokers and online freight exchanges. Soon there will be some new players in the game: the Voluntary Interindustry Commerce Solutions Association (VICS), GS1 Canada, and GS1 US. (VICS is best known for its collaborative forecasting, planning, and replenishment standards. The GS1 organization oversees global standards for identification of goods and locations for electronic commerce.)
Retailers, consumer goods manufacturers, and motor carriers have been testing the new Empty Miles Service using real shipment data, and they say it's ready to roll. VICS members can sign up for $1,600 annually; non-members pay $1,850. Pricing the service per year rather than by shipment or by mile will encourage more companies to use it, the organizers say. The service is available in both the United States and Canada.
GS1 has developed a calculator that measures the program's financial benefits as well as the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions that will result from eliminating empty hauls. For more information, go to www.emptymiles.org.