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Hurry up and wait | Equipment matters

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Hot Take

If anything was clear from the F3 Virtual Experience last week, it’s that a cleaner supply chain is on the horizon. Whether it’s autonomous trucking, reduction in carbon footprints or the advancement of technology, the future is here and everyone is angling to have the next big thing for supply chains. 

In an effort to make good on its #NoEmptyMiles campaign, big gun Convoy has taken what I consider an Amazon-like approach to freight networks. It has announced Convoy for Brokers, a platform that allows brokers to leverage their existing carrier networks to cover more loads. 

Brokers and carrier sales reps will have access to an online platform or set up TMS integrations into the platform, where you can get all-in rates for each load, which includes the fee from Convoy as it matches loads to best-available carriers. One thing that’s a little different from the Amazon Freight network model is that Convoy focuses on matching good pairings on its platform with full visibility, whereas Amazon gives you the capacity on its existing network. 

Image: Convoy

Whether this is the solution to removing all empty miles I’m not sure, but it certainly can become a useful tool to get those tougher loads covered. There’s plenty of freight to go around, but how efficiently it gets moved will be the future of freight. 

Like we’ve said before, there is no shortage of digital freight-matching platforms out there. Convoys seems to be a one-stop shop for everything from acquiring carriers to getting them paid, but only time will tell if it delivers on its promise to reduce industry waste. 

Quick Hits

Image: Reddit R/deadbeatdaylight

Hurry up and wait – The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have delayed the implementation of their dwell time fees. Previously they were going to start charging $100 per import container for boxes moving by truck that dwelled longer than nine days. 

“There’s been significant improvement in clearing import containers from our docks in recent weeks,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. And according to Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero, “Clearly, everyone is working together to speed the movement of the cargo and reduce the backlog of ships off the coast as quickly as possible.”

Some are saying that the hesitancy to pull the trigger on this charge is due to the fact that the fines would be passed on to the importer and not absorbed by the carrier as per the original plan. The charge might still take place, but not for the foreseeable future as port dwell time continues to marginally improve. 

Image: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

Van vs van reefer With capacity being as tight as it has been lately and the need to get your customers’ shipments moved, having a wide net to cast into the pool of drivers can set you up for a greater chance of success. Taking an extra few minutes to ask your shipper why they need a certain equipment type also can go a long way to avoiding issues with the load in the future. 

For example, if a customer needs a flatbed shipment, can it go on a conestoga, RGN, double drop, etc.? Fully understanding equipment types not only increases your chances of getting the load booked at a better rate, it also helps build relationships and trust with your shipper. It’s a small thing that a fair amount of people do on a regular basis, but it’s important that the newer brokers and carrier sales reps know that equipment type is crucial. 

Market Check

SONAR TRAC Market Dashboard

Jacksonville, Florida, is looking to be a great feeder for Savannah, Georgia. For example, you can get a load going from San Antonio to Jacksonville for roughly $3.17 a mile. Add a 10% margin of $340 to the rate of $3,396 and you’ve got $3,736. 

The best part about freight going into Jacksonville is that Savannah is only two hours away, and if we have learned anything, it’s that Savannah is looking for some relief from shipping containers. You may have to tell a carrier to go pick up a shipment from the tarmac at the airport, but there are surely weirder places to pick up freight from.

Who’s with Whom

AIT Worldwide is expanding its last-mile capabilities by acquiring Select Express & Logistics. Select Express specializes in final-mile delivery and assembly services — aka white-glove services. Previously this year AIR acquired customs broker Multimodal International and freight forwarder Intelligent Logistics, making the most recent acquisition the final piece to the puzzle of offering complete supply chain solutions.

The more you know

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.