Supply chain software vendor project44 has added visibility over volume less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments to its freight connectivity solution, giving brokers and third-party logistics providers (3PLs) a new tool to preserve profit margins that are under pressure from Uber Freight and Amazon.com Inc., the company said today.
Chicago-based project44's software automates the flow of data among shippers, carriers, and 3PLs by allowing customers to get data directly through application programming interfaces (APIs) instead of relying on third-party interfaces like email or formats like electronic data interchange (EDI).
Project44's technology originally covered only the LTL market, but the company has been expanding into new sectors, adding coverage of full-truckload shipments in April and now introducing volume LTL.
Volume LTL freight quotes apply to shipments greater than 12 linear feet but less than 28 linear feet, and have typically been costly and labor intensive to book, the company said. Users can now access automated, real-time volume LTL quoting and tendering, either through project44's own pOréal or through a transportation management system (TMS) platform that is integrated with project44's APIs.
While the volume LTL sector comprises just 5 to 10 percent of U.S. shipments, it accounts for a much larger portion of market share by revenue, because it involves bigger shipments than LTL does, project44 President Tommy Barnes said in an interview. The new offering includes API-based connectivity with more than 70 percent of U.S. domestic volume LTL capacity, including major carriers like FedEx Freight, Old Dominion Freight Line Inc., Sunset Pacific Transportation, UPS Freight, and YRC Freight.
"This is another opportunity for truckload shippers to provide backhaul and fill partial loads, and for the first time we've automated that process," Barnes said. "The standard process for booking LTL is 90 percent manual, using legacy technology like phone calls, email, and fax. It's just an insurmountable amount of waste."
Following the launch of its volume LTL coverage, project44 plans to release "additional product enhancements that support full shipment-lifecycle automation" in both July and August, the company said. Barnes declined to describe exactly what those products would do, but in its release, the company said it would continue expanding its Capacity Provider Network (CPN), which provides customers instant access to a network of multimodal capacity providers.
Project44 executives have said in the past that they plan to add coverage for intermodal and final-mile delivery services, including rail, ocean, and air, by 2018.