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Freight.Tech25: Dock411 delivers the goods on where goods are delivered

 Screenshot of Dock411 app
Screenshot of Dock411 app

App allows drivers to review facilities, fostering better dialogue between two sides of freight transaction.

Dan Serewicz, chief executive officer and co-founder of Dock411, was already happy to be in FreightWaves’ list of top 100 companies in transportation technology. While in the audience at Marketwaves, he saw just how high his firm was listed.

During the unveiling of the Freight.Tech25 last month in Dallas, “I was stunned looking at the screen and I quickly scrambled for my phone to take a picture,” Serewicz said.

“We’re a relatively newer company,” he added. “For us to be on that list with some of the other companies there was totally awesome.”

Coming in at number 12, the Illinois-based company developed a crowd-sourcing app for commercial drivers to review and rate origin and destination facilities for freight.

Drivers can add their stops to the app and provide feedback on turn times, and driver-accessible facilities.

More than just an online rating and review platform, Dock411 is helping create more efficiency in the market. Serewicz says something as simple as benchmarking wait times for drivers can provide valuable information to shippers and drivers

“We’re hearing from drivers that they are willing to take cheaper loads knowing that they are going to be getting in and out of there with less headache,” Serewicz said.  

Serewicz says the idea of the app came out of his own experience managing warehouses and having to answer the same questions repeatedly from drivers about where they can park, what gate they pull up to or even bathroom use. After two years of market research and development, Dock411 launched its first app in 2016.

Now on its third version, Serewicz says the app has been downloaded approximately 10,000 times. There is also a desktop version for drivers that use laptop computers.

The first versions of the app collected between 10 and 15 data points about freight facilities. But the data collection has now reached up to 70 different data points, driven by demand from Dock411’s user base.

Those additional details include whether there are lumper fees and yard equipment availability.

Serewicz says the data points include whether a pet is allowed in a shipper’s facility.

“It was not something obvious to us, but we’ve heard some shippers require drivers to chain up their dog to a fence outside the facility,” Serewicz said. “As you can imagine, a lot of owners don’t like chaining their dog to a fence when making a delivery.”

Along with the specifics on the site, drivers can rate shipper facilities on topics such as delays and ease of use. Shippers can then have feedback on their own facilities are performing.

Of course, online reviews may not always be the most reliable source of information. To that end, Dock411 is now offering shippers to put official, verified information about their facilities on the Dock411 platform. Shippers are charged between $100 to $3,000 per year per location for listing their facilities.

As part of the service, Serewicz says Dock411 plans to offer videos of facilities so drivers will have a direct view on what to expect and where to drive once inside in a facility. With a potential market of four to six million facilities across North America, there is much room for growth.

 “With the market how it is now, shippers want to be a shipper of choice,” Serewicz said.

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Michael Angell, Bulk and Intermodal Editor

Michael Angell covers maritime, intermodal and related topics for FreightWaves. His interest in transportation stretches back several generations. One great-grandfather was a dray horseman along the New York waterfront and another was a railway engineer in Texas. More recently, Michael has written about the shipping industry for TradeWinds, energy markets for Oil Price Information Service, and general business topics for FactSet Mergerstat and Investor's Business Daily. When he is not stuck in the office, he enjoys tours of ports, terminals, and railyards.