Growing technological advancements — coupled with shifting supply chain demands — are causing a rapid evolution in the trucking industry. For enterprise fleets, specifically, age-old business models are changing in response to modern problems and priorities.
These changes do not, however, mean that enterprise fleets are becoming a thing of the past. In fact, as the industry continues to grapple with the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, dedicated options seem to be making their way back into the spotlight.
Beth Howard, Transfix’s director of carrier development, spoke about this changing landscape during FreightWaves’ Enterprise Fleet Summit earlier this year.
“When we talk about the enterprise fleet landscape, we cannot take away COVID-19 and what it has done to our industry and to the current market,” Howard said. “I think that helped propel the dedicated enterprise fleet back into the forefront of everyone’s mind.”
Dedicated fleets are drawing even more attention — especially from carriers — as the market begins to shift in favor of shippers for the first time in over two years.
“We are seeing volumes and spot rates go down, and right now dedicated lanes are looking more attractive to our carriers. We also have fuel costs going up, which increases operational costs. If it continues, we may see a lot of midsize carriers or even small carriers start to park their equipment to cause capacity crunch.”
Dedicated models tend to be attractive to shippers moving high-value goods with little flexibility in pickup and drop-off times. Relying on dedicated carriers helps these shippers mitigate the high levels of volatility that characterize the supply chain.
Running dedicated lanes is also far more attractive for drivers, and this shows. Dedicated fleets have some of the highest safety ratings and lowest turnover rates in the industry, creating a win-win situation for shippers and carriers alike.
Transfix offers digital freight matching and fleet management solutions that help democratize the industry, offering small and midsize carriers access to lanes they have never had access to before.
Howard emphasized that Transfix aims to provide a better experience for carriers by helping them find freight quickly and giving them enhanced visibility into that freight, including often hard-to-get information like weekly lane volumes, deadhead miles, the type of commodity being moved and the identity of the specific shipper.
Additionally, working with Transfix allows carriers to reduce empty miles by increasing visibility into reloads out of dedicated lanes, all while giving them increased power over their own businesses. These perks are valuable in any market, but they will become crucial as the market continues to loosen over the coming weeks and months.
“Change is inevitably hard but as our algorithms become more progressive, we are able to predict cost in real time and not be as reactive,” Howard said.