It’s vital to continue to innovate Convoy’s suite of products to enable small carriers to compete with larger competitors, says Dan Lewis, co-founder and CEO of the digital freight network.
“We work with a lot of smaller carriers, mostly owner-operators,” Lewis said in a recent interview with FreightWaves. “How do we build more features and services into the app to empower them to help them feel like they can operate their business, have security and get paid fairly? … We have already done guaranteed detention, but there is so much more we can do with integrations within warehouses and planning departments in regards to trailer pool management.”
On Tuesday, Convoy announced it has delivered on that goal with its power-only service Convoy Go. With this program, private fleets will be able to leverage the company’s 300,000-tractor network to move preloaded and empty dry van trailers to optimize available capacity throughout the U.S.
While some offer these services through trailer leasing, Convoy is partnering with private trucking companies with excess trailer capacity, giving small carriers access to move enterprise freight that is not always offered to them.
“Traditionally, the private fleets have been very separate from the for-hire or public fleets,” said Chief Product Officer Ziad Ismail in an interview. “It’s really been two different markets. With technology and innovations like this, we can help these small fleets go after the other half of the market.”
Ismail explained that opening up this other market will only improve Convoy’s overall effectiveness for carriers.
“Up until this point, we have really only played in the for-hire space; this basically doubles the market that we can go after,” he said. “Whenever we can go after a bigger market, we can more effectively map shipments, get more work to drivers and get better backhauls in our network. That is why we think this is a very large, transformative idea.”
While Convoy has been focused on empowering smaller carriers in the industry, Ismail explained how important this technology will be for private fleets’ operations, as empty miles among private fleets make up 40% of their total miles, according to the company.
“These private fleets, like many other companies in the industry, are struggling to find drivers,” he said. “They are also staffed in a way that is typically a 4-to-1 ratio. They have four times as many trailers as they do drivers. When they need to move those trailers around, it can be difficult because they do not have enough people. We think this is just the beginning of what we can do with private fleets with our [tractor] network.”
Ismail also said the timing of this release was important, as many new carriers begin to enter the market yet struggle to find trailers for sale.
“New carriers and existing carriers are finding it difficult to go get trailers,” he said. “Lead times for those orders are getting longer and at the same time, these private fleets are dealing with a shortage of drivers. This is why we are seeing a bunch of demand for [Convoy Go] because we have been able to solve both of those problems.”