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Ceaseless innovation and digitalization lead J.B. Hunt to a top tier finish in FreightTech 25

At the recently concluded FreightWaves LIVE event in Chicago, leading supply chain solutions provider J.B. Hunt bagged the fourth place in the FreightTech 25 list – a survey that recognizes companies pushing boundaries within the logistics industry through the use of technology.

J.B. Hunt is one of the largest companies of its kind in North America, with its sustained attention to details and ceaseless spirit to innovate helping it jump one place up the ladder from its #5 finish in 2018.

“Innovation is a big part of our company culture at J.B. Hunt,” said Shelley Simpson, executive vice president, chief commercial officer, and president of highway services at J.B. Hunt. “Every day, we focus on how to make the industry smarter, more efficient and more sustainable, helping define tomorrow’s supply chain today. We are very proud to be among the top companies on this list for the second year in a row.”

The cornerstone of J.B. Hunt’s digital capabilities is its flagship digital freight matching platform – J.B. Hunt 360 – which has proven to be decisive in a market that has recently witnessed the mushrooming of a myriad of digital freight marketplaces. J.B. Hunt 360 now encompasses over  600,000 trucks that its carriers have added to the platform over the two years of its existence, with transactions currently on a $1 billion run rate.

In the run-up to FreightWaves LIVE, J.B. Hunt unveiled a set of new features to the Shipper 360 platform, allowing customers to choose multimodal options for shipping their freight. The platform now offers shippers the possibility to transport a load across multiple modes, including full truckload, less-than-truckload and intermodal.

J.B. Hunt is also introducing predictive truckload pricing and greater visibility via load track-and-trace and real-time capacity availability. The predictive pricing allows shippers to view haul rates up to 13 days in advance, helping them zero in on estimates – which further helps them stay on top of their operations.

While the industry is busy digitalizing transactions within the trucking landscape, J.B. Hunt’s push towards intermodal freight matching is unlocking greater potential in hauling across modes. Simpson estimated that the company could shift somewhere around seven to 11 million shipments from the road to intermodal through its new offering.

“The more data we gather through the platform, the more information we can leverage to know how goods can move most efficiently. With our operational infrastructure and industry knowledge, we can deliver on customer needs while improving the overall experience for carriers,” she said.

J.B. Hunt has also launched 360box, a feature that gives shippers access to a pool of J.B. Hunt trailers that can be reserved for drop-and-hook purposes. Traditionally, drop-and-hook freight is only available for large carriers that have the spare trailers to support it. Since this service uses J.B. Hunt trailers, 360box makes drop-and-hook freight available to small carriers and owner-operators – who represent 83% of the overall driver base. 

“The work is really just beginning. As we’ve been building the platform, we’ve been collecting data. In 2018, we really started diving into machine learning capabilities – how we can take our billions of data points to create a better system for matching the right truck with the right load at the right time,” Simpson said.

J.B. Hunt has now amassed roughly five billion sets of data points, which will further reinforce its analytics services and help drive more visibility and efficiency into the freight market through its digital load matching tools.

The FREIGHTWAVES TOP 500 For-Hire Carriers list includes J.B. Hunt (No. 4).