Logistics technology provider Cargo Chief Inc. said Tuesday that it had partnered with the Danish supply chain data aggregation firm GateHouse Logistics in a deal that could help truckers reduce the number of empty runs they drive on North American highways.
Under the agreement, GateHouse will share the tracking data it compiles from individual trucks' electronic logging devices (ELDs) through its ghTrack supply chain data sharing service, a neutral, cloud-based platform that aggregates position and sensor data from all modes of transportation to support applications in internet of things (IoT) and real-time visibility.
In turn, Millbrae, Calif.-based Cargo Chief will match that information with its database of freight loads, and alert brokers and transport companies about empty trucks in specific areas that are ready to drive a load. Information from the ghTrack database will also enable Cargo Chief to offer real-time tracking of its clients' truckload shipments, the company says.
The system could reduce the number of miles that American trucks travel at less than market rates or even empty, and help cut back on wasted fuel, time, labor, and excess pollution, Cargo Chief CEO Russell Jones said in a statement.
In May, Cargo Chief launched a software product that helps third-party logistics providers (3PLs) digitally book loads for their shipper customers, and then track those loads with real-time location data. That C4 digital freight platform lets 3PLs find and book loads within either their own carrier networks, Cargo Chief's network of 4,500 carriers, or through a recent integration with the online freight posting platform PostEverywhere. Cargo Chief originally built a network of carriers when it started out as a freight broker in 2012, before relinquishing its brokerage license to become a pure technology provider, the firm says.
Cargo Chief will now use the GateHouse data to extend that model to a wider network of trucks, tapping into their ELD feeds to make intelligent matches between cargo loads and carriers, Jones said in an interview. "We'll know that a carrier named Tommy Ten-Trucks has a truck sitting in Oakland, whether it's at a truck stop or a known parking area. And now we can contact him and say 'It looks like this would be a perfect backhaul load for you and I'm offering $1,200'."
Despite the benefits of joining such a network, some carriers may cite privacy concerns and opt out of sharing their data with Cargo Chief, Jones said. But he said that the network will produce results even if just a portion of potential carriers sign up. "If they're running drugs for the Medellin Cartel, they don't have to share their data with Cargo Chief, but otherwise it would be irrational not to," Jones said. "We think we're going to get a bunch of carriers signing up, and we only need some of them, in order to access a whole new segment of capacity in a market this tight."
An online load matching network can be effective at revealing missed capacity, but many private and company owned fleets face a host of reasons for declining to share their capacity with other shippers, said Tony Wayda, supply chain practice senior director and principal at Boulder, Colo.-based, consulting firm SCApath LLC.
For example, some company owned fleets may not want to take on the additional risk or liability of hauling freight for other shippers because of concerns such as: moving chemicals or hazardous materials in their trailers, having their branded trailers seen at a competitor's DC, mingling their freight with other companies' freight, or the chance of getting delayed at a third-party dock, Wayda said.
However, the allure of applying the leverage of an online network to uncover hidden capacity in a tight market has encouraged many brokers and load board operators to pursue this goal for years, he noted. And the ability to tap into an existing system of ELDs to automatically capture pertinent data could now entice more carriers, 3PLs, owner-operators, and fleet owners to join.