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Check Call — Shared truckload: The Goldilocks of freight

LA port woes | FMCSA new rules | BlueGrace and the spot market

Credit: FreightWaves


The Goldilocks of freight, shared truck load (STL) — when you have freight that is too big for LTL but too small for a full truckload, that’s where you can find shared truckload. Shared truckload shipments allow shippers to pay less for faster service. 

One component of that faster service is because freight stays on one truck the entire time and doesn’t have to stop at terminals to be offloaded. With STL, shippers don’t have to wait till the truck gets full, they can send product out immediately. Another major factor is that with STL, shipments claims are virtually nonexistent.

Since the freight never leaves the truck, there is no opportunity for freight to get lost, damaged, run into by a forklift or whatever can happen at terminals.  

Flock Freight is a non-asset-based shared truckload provider. It uses pooling technology to match freight from multiple shippers going the same direction. It is the only freight shipping company that backs its commitment to use shipping as a force for good with a  B Corp certification. 

IShared Transportation, formerly Smith Transportation, is another shared truckload provider with a slightly different approach. It is an asset-light company that focuses on consolidation at origin, meaning once the shipment gets picked up it heads to one of its six terminals to be consolidated onto a single multi-stop truckload that stays on that truck till delivery. By upgrading its technology, it can see load consolidation opportunities in real time. 

IShared has boasted less than one-tenth of 1% of claims with this model, following in line with the level of claims that Freight Flock has touted as well.  

Other options for midsized freight can fall into volume quotes from LTL carriers, which are susceptible to a bevvy of additional charges, such as detention, capacity shipments, liftgate — you name it, most LTL carriers will charge it. 

Midsized freight can also go full truckload but then you aren’t utilizing the whole truck, you are essentially paying for wasted space — not to mention shipping a full truckload without a full truck of freight is not emissions friendly.  

When you come across weird shipments that are oversized, bulky or just one pallet too many that might get hit with a capacity charge, give STL a try.

Quick Hits

Image: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

Christmas isn’t canceled — Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, has made a plan of action to alleviate congestion for the port and make the most efficient use of the hours in a day.

Seroka has said that the port is working through an average of 15 ships a day, 1.5 times the usual average, and there are more than 15,000 longshore members working six days a week to unload ships. 

The main point of congestion now is with the warehouse space and containers sitting waiting to be picked up. The current wait time for containers to be picked up and loaded is six days. Typically it’s two to three. Retailers need to be picking their goods up and returning empty containers. 

Seroka is a strong advocate for communication and transparency for everyone in the supply chain. Retailers need to be picking their containers up, warehouse staffing needs to be at peak levels, and there needs to be clear communication from everyone.

Image: USDOT Website

FMCSA brings the hammer: The FMSCA is posting a new rule in the Federal Register on Thursday based off its 2020 proposal to require state agencies to stop issuing, renewing or upgrading commercial driver’s licenses or commercial learner’s permits to drivers with drug and alcohol violations, as well as to downgrade drivers’ CDL and CLP driving privileges within 60 days of notification. 

The FMCSA wants to keep substance abuse violators off the road. Enforcement will come from the police identifying banned drivers through a license check during a traffic stop or roadside inspection. Employers who know of a driver’s substance abuse must report it to the clearinghouse, where, under this new rule, it will stay for five years.

Drivers can add documentation of non-conviction to their clearinghouse record to ensure full disclosure to employers and fairness to drivers. 

Market Check

Sonar Ticker: MVM Index

It’s fall, leaves are changing, long drives are scenic and peaceful through the mountains — perfect road trip time. Perhaps don’t take a road trip to Huntington, West Virginia, just yet. Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains, Huntington is proving to be one heck of a city to get out of right now. 

Across multiple indices Huntington is not faring as well as it typically would this time of the year. There are less days of lead time, less volume, less rejections and less outbound loads than inbound. 

The outbound tender volume has dropped to one of the lowest rates for the entire year. Inbound loads keep climbing at a rate at which outbound freight can’t even come close to offsetting. For any trucks going into the market, you might want to pad the rate a little since there isn’t much to get you out of there. 

Sonar Ticker: OTVI.HTS & ITVI.HTS

Who’s with Whom 

Today we’re going to take a bit of a twist, give the mergers and acquisitions a break and chat with someone dealing with the insanity of the spot market head on, Michael Schoenhals, director of operational excellence at BlueGrace Logistics

The question: How many loads per day do you not quote (or put a ‘go away’ rate on) just because you don’t have time to quote everything and/or you aren’t sure about the pricing on certain lanes?”

Schoenhals: “We don’t look at it as ‘rejecting’ spot requests, we look at it as can we help this organization be better through logistics, and do we have the freight network to help them be successful in accomplishing their goals?”

In highly volatile markets 3PLs run into four core challenges:

  • Managing multiple spot platforms that lack consistency and up-to-date or real-time data.
  • The sheer volume of spot requests.
  • Different customers have different freight requirements. 
  • Overexposure on commitments that can be executed.

The above variables make it challenging to gain efficiencies through bidding automation, as existing algorithms struggle to incorporate the nuances of each customer’s specific requirements.

The More you Know

FMCSA proposes ‘driving ban’ for drug/alcohol violators

FMCSA issues new driver-ban rules for drug and alcohol abusers

OceanWaves: Los Angeles port boss lays out congestion-fighting plan 

Echo had another serious suitor before accepting Jordan’s bid, filing says

Mary O'Connell

Former pricing analyst, supply chain planner, and broker/dispatcher turned creator of the newsletter and podcast Check Call. Which gives insights into the world around 3PLs and Freight brokers. She will talk your ear off about anything and everything if you let her. Expertise in operations, LTL pricing and procurement, flatbed operations, dry van, tracking and tracing, reality tv shows and how to turn a stranger into your new best friend.