Commercial Carrier Journal
June 20, 2016
A few years ago, it seemed unrealistic for shippers, third party logistics providers or brokers to expect total visibility from all carriers in their freight networks.
Large and mid-size carriers probably had the technology to provide shipment visibility. Small carriers, however, traditionally have lacked onboard computers and software needed to automate an electronic data interchange (EDI) process and stand on equal footing.
About 97 percent of active, DOT-registered carriers in the market today operate less than 20 trucks, according to RigDig BI Online, a trucking industry business intelligence tool from Randall-Reilly. To bridge the technology gap with larger competitors, small carriers had to answer check calls or manually update shipment status using their customers’ web portals.
Sharing pricing information was another challenge, as a lot of time and resources were tied up in phone calls, emails and faxes to respond to rate requests from customers and prospects.
New technologies are being used to iron out these wrinkles from freight transactions.
Today it is common for shippers and 3pls to require automated shipment track and trace capabilities from carriers, says Dave Halsema, executive vice president of MacroPoint.
Meeting this visibility requirement is no longer difficult as most drivers already have the technology necessary. Any connected device, even a flip phone, can be used to automate shipment tracking, he says.
Trailer tracking systems are also growing in demand. They give shippers and logistics providers seamless coverage of loads that change custody at international borders or are pulled by multiple carriers from origin to destination, says Henry Popplewell, president of SkyBitz, which supplies fleet tracking and management systems for trailer assets.
Popplewell says that more shippers, 3pls and brokers are investing in trailer assets and tracking systems, pointing to recent news that the nation’s largest online retailer, Amazon, now has a large trailer fleet.
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