Digital freight network provider Convoy today unveiled a power-only trucking network that it says can help shippers save money by avoiding empty trailer moves.
The service provides private fleets with nationwide capacity to haul their preloaded and empty dry van trailers, operating as part of the Seattle-based firm’s “Convoy Go” drop-and-hook program. The Convoy Go platform allows trailers to be preloaded in advance of a truck’s arrival, helping shippers avoid “live loading” delays and costs.
The use of similar strategies has grown in popularity in recent years, as one solution to exploding e-commerce volumes and maritime port congestion that have strained supply chains. Other trailer pools on the market include products from J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc., vHub, and Uber Freight.
By adding power units to that equation, Convoy says it can apply machine learning tools to identify backhauls and loadouts—a “sharing economy” approach that improves the utilization of empty trailers by sharing that empty space with other shippers—thus reducing shipping costs, empty miles, and carbon emissions.
Convoy has designed the new feature for private fleets, which currently operate some 500,000 trailers across the U.S., shuttling them between sites with a 4:1 trailer-to-tractor ratio. Those statistics mean that many shippers operate with a shortfall of power units and drivers, forcing them to rely on the expensive spot market to access extra capacity when demand surges, Convoy said.
In addition, 40% of all private fleet miles are driven empty, wasting fuel and money while needlessly increasing CO2 emissions, according to Convoy. Nevertheless, large retailers and manufacturers have increased their investments in private fleets in recent years, saying those costs are outweighed by gains such as having direct control of their capacity, costs, and service quality.
“Today, trailers within private fleets number more than half a million, and there’s a constant need to haul them from one location to another,” Ryan Gavin, Convoy’s Chief Marketing Officer & Marketplace Growth, wrote in a blog post. “This includes moving product from distribution centers to stores, rebalancing trailer pools, and bringing trailers in for repair. The resulting demand for power-only capacity has accelerated in the last decade, as online commerce continues to grow and supply chains require more short-haul, rapid-response fulfillment.”
Introducing power-only freight from Convoy Go, providing private fleets with access to 300,000+ tractors for hauling preloaded trailers or rebalancing asset pools. It’s the largest on-demand power-only network in the nation.— Convoy Team (@convoyteam) August 17, 2021
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