J.B. Hunt Chief Commercial Officer Shelley Simpson praises the dynamic J.B. Hunt 360 freight matching platform that’s bringing shippers and carriers together in a digital marketplace.
Simpson recently sat down with FreightWaves CEO Craig Fuller at J.B. Hunt headquarters in Lowell, Arkansas, to discuss the company’s new technology as part of the FreightWavesTV show, “Fuller Speed Ahead.”
J.B. Hunt launched a drop trailer program this summer called J.B. Hunt 360box. The service gives shippers access to a pool of J.B. Hunt trailers they can reserve for drop-and-hook purposes. Carriers can then make offers on transporting the drop-and-hook freight using the Carrier 360 by J.B. Hunt app.
“J.B. Hunt 360 for us is really about bringing transparency and visibility to a market that has such a lack of efficiency,” Simpson said.
She realizes that small carriers and owner-operators lack access to big drop trailer pools at shipping locations.360box looks to give carriers of all sizes the ability to match freight with capacity with its drop trailer program.
“Drop trailers have been around for a long time, but they have not been available in a marketplace. So when you think about connecting the available capacity that’s unused today with a box that’s available for shippers to take advantage of, now you’re talking about a much better way to move shipments and goods,” Simpson said.
Simpson understands that smartphones play a major role in the daily lives of drivers. Smartphones have evolved into an industry dashboard of sorts with apps geared to help drivers perform their jobs.
“Of the market that’s available for the 3.5 million drivers, 2.9 million of those run for a carrier with less than 10 trucks. They are dependent on their phones, but we need to flip that dependency to not be for phone calls, but on data, information, to really get the right load on the right truck at the right time,” Simpson added on the importance smartphones play in the industry.
J.B. Hunt launched Carrier 360 in April of 2017 to give carriers of all sizes better access to available freight. The mobile app provides thousands of loads daily for carriers to find and make offers. Other companies have launched drop trailer services since then such as Uber Freight and Convoy’s Power-Only program.
With competition heating up around drop-and-hook freight, Simpson is excited about the progress J.B. Hunt has made with 360box and is confident that the service is the easiest for carriers to use.
“We’ve built businesses before, but we’ve not built businesses based on the fundamentals of technology and speed. So that speed is transacting into faster, easier, better ways to do business, and it’s accelerating our revenue as a result,” added Simpson on the success of J.B. Hunt 360 and its features.
I have followed two YouTube truckers who think little of driving 150 miles to pick up a load, burning hours and fuel. One leased a trailer, then has to do only live load and unload. Another worked for a defunct company who did drop and hook, but often didn’t have an empty because they lacked critical mass.
Looking at aerial photographs in Google Earth, there is no shortage of idle trailers clogging up customer lots. The biggest problem with this approach is the uncertainty of the condition of a trailer you don’t own and do not have access to service records.
The rail industry addresses this by industry wide “interchange” agreements. Rail cars must be maintained and inspected. If the car fails on the road, the owner arranges for and pays for all repairs. Since that can be expensive,it motivates the owner to do preventative maintenance.
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