After truckers and small carriers choose a load, their attention immediately turns to load boards or brokers for help to find the next load to avoid deadhead miles. FreightWaves’ SONAR provides information on where the hot markets are with its Inbound and Outbound Tender Reject Indexes (ITRI and OTRI), but drivers must still search load boards or call brokers to find those loads.
Convoy provides access to actual loads and this morning announced Automated Reloads, which assists drivers in ensuring they have a load outbound when they accept an inbound load. It builds on Suggested Reloads, which was introduced last year.
“We introduced Suggested Reloads last year as a way to recommend additional loads so carriers can earn more,” Arpan Sinha, Convoy’s head of product for matching, told FreightWaves. “Automated Reloads goes a step further and packages multiple loads together in real-time. Now a carrier can benefit from Convoy’s automated matching to save time compared to trying to book sequences of loads on their own, and also have the flexibility to add a ‘Suggested Reload’ to keep their trucks full longer.
Automated Reloads presents drivers with a collection of loads that take into consideration criteria such as the carriers’ lane preferences, driver hours of service availability, driver locations and facility wait times.
The idea is to provide carriers with multiple options so they don’t have to spend time looking for backhauls. A “package” of loads is presented with a single price for all the loads, rather than individual prices for each load. Carriers/drivers always have the option to bid their rates on the combinations or simply accept the package. At this time, the price is set based on the collection of loads, although Sinha said the ability to alter the price for a single load could be a future addition.
Automated Reloads includes both live loads and drop-and-hook packages offered in real time for each carrier.
El Poderoso Trucking is now finding most of its loads through the Automated Reloads option.
“I like bidding on these offers with Convoy; they keep me on lanes I prefer to run, and get me home when I want,” said Jorge Ramos of El Poderoso Trucking, who along with his brother Nelson has worked with Convoy for about two years. “By combining loads from different shippers, Convoy keeps us from driving empty trailers between jobs and we waste less time on load boards keeping our trucks busy.”
Empty miles average 20 percent of total miles, so Convoy is betting that carriers and independent drivers will benefit from running more loaded miles and finding those loads quicker.
“Traditionally, brokers or dispatchers pair shipments that are obvious to spot. But they missed out on a large part of the opportunity,” said Ziad Ismail, Convoy chief product officer. “Given the complexity and speed of the freight market, a real-time algorithmic optimization is ideally set up to minimize empty miles and help carriers.”
Sinha said carriers can request Automated Reloads based on their preferred lanes as well as dates through the Request a Load functionality within the Convoy app. He added that loads may come from multiple shippers that offer complementary volume.
Within the app, carriers are able to:
- Create a one-time or recurring request for preferred lanes, or search for specific cities
- Look for offers with reloads packaged together
- Optionally, add more reloads to the suggested route
- Tap to bid or accept
“The rate the carrier bids on and/or accepts are for the entire package, which are not currently editable, but is something we may address in future versions,” Sinha said. “Convoy algorithmically creates these packages based on the factors listed above and carriers are presented with additional reloads for further customization.”
When a load or driver is delayed, jeopardizing future loads, the Convoy algorithm assists in getting the load rescheduled or making other arrangements.
“Convoy constantly monitors shipments via GPS tracking to ensure loads are on schedule,” Sinha said. “In the event of an issue or interruption, we immediately help with re-planning to ensure the originally planned loads are completed. Alternatively, we find and secure replacements loads.”