Convoy leverages its tech to give owner-operators the same advantages as large carriers
Yesterday the digital freight brokerage Convoy announced a new product launch that we think actually has the potential to be a game changer. The media team at FreightWaves gets a lot of press releases in our inbox from companies who want us to cover everything from obscure, internal company awards to facility improvements to new products that no one should actually care about. But sometimes we get wind of a new idea that promises to tackle an important problem in the industry: this is one of those moments.
Convoy’s Power-only and Universal Trailer Pool solution will put money in the pockets of small carriers and owner-operators by giving them access to coveted drop and hook freight. Independent drivers will no longer be at the mercy of dock workers and inefficient warehousing practices, wasting their hours of service and arguing over detention pay.
“America’s largest shippers often require trucking companies to drop extra trailers at their distribution centers to pre-load before a driver arrives. With the drop system, these shippers exclusively use larger trucking companies who have a surplus of trailers available. As a result, these [drop trailer] shipments are not available to the nearly 90% of U.S. trucks that are owned by small trucking companies. These companies do not have a surplus of trailers, which means that they miss out on the majority of freight from these major shippers,” wrote Austin Watkins in Convoy’s blog.
Convoy wants to change that, and by acquiring a ‘universal pool of trailers’—it’s unclear whether Convoy is purchasing these assets outright or merely leasing them—will differentiate itself from other digital brokerages. Convoy is morphing into the first virtual carrier.
We think that by establishing a dense nationwide network of trailer pools and power-only lanes, Convoy will be able to attract large numbers of independent owner-operators, and once they’re in, they’ll stay. The large productivity gains enjoyed by the driver and the convenience of drop and hook freight will incentivize loyalty, and it will become difficult for drivers who don’t own their own trailers to leave power-only once they’ve become accustomed to it.
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