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Intermodal drayage companies must embrace technology or die

(Photo credit: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

The transportation and logistics industry is in the midst of a technological awakening. Customer expectations are following suit. It is no longer enough to just provide excellent service. Now, companies must provide excellent service alongside speed, transparency and convenience. 

Multi-billion dollar companies like XPO Logistics and J.B. Hunt Transport Services are leading the way in technological integration, but the vast majority of companies in the intermodal drayage space have not yet embraced the digital revolution. 

Chicago-based third-party logistics provider (3PL) CDL 1000 set out to help those carriers catch up to competitors and start innovating.

“Carriers and 3PLs have finally started to realize that technology can help them with visibility and simplify all communications. Without proper communication, they started to lose business to better communicators,” explained CDL 1000 CEO Andrew Sobko. “Move information and freight will follow.”

CDL 1000 is an asset-based 3PL providing intermodal services throughout the U.S. and Canada. The company focuses on building personalized solutions for each client based on its unique unmet needs and untapped potential.

In order to provide a positive, technology-forward experience for both railyards and clients, CDL 1000 provides real-time tracking updates and encourages drivers to submit delivery feedback. 

“CDL 1000 also built an innovative platform that simplifies the transportation of shipments. This platform provides a streamlined process in which companies can quickly calculate precise shipping costs,” Sobko said. “The platform allows customers to receive real-time tracking updates and feedback about each load via email, without downloading any apps.”

Sobko believes that providing driver feedback to enhance the customer experience makes drivers more reliable when communicating with customers.

Sobko noted that more and more companies are implementing technological solutions as time goes on, especially artificial intelligence (AI). His goal when using AI in his own business is to save money and improve efficiency while taking care of the more mundane aspects of the job.

CDL1000’s platform will be able to predict customer base and match imports with exports, which will allow carriers to increase profits and allow importers to save money. Currently, the company’s street turn ratio is 79%, which is 70% higher than other competitors in the industry, according to Sobko.

“Most logistics companies are eager to install cost-cutting technology, and automation is the most common solution in recent times,” Sobko said. “After all, digitalization can streamline certain systems and processes while removing the risk of errors that you might find with human-operated tasks.”

Unfortunately, the majority of large drayage intermodal companies have not realized how important it is to innovate. Sobko noted a few exceptions, including Flexport and DrayNow.

Flexport’s current market valuation is $3.2 billion. The company raised $1 billion in a funding round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund earlier this year. He also mentioned Cargomatic and NEXT Trucking, which are both embracing technology and succeeding in the drayage space.

“The switch to automation is inevitable. After all, many industries have already adopted similar technologies with great success,” Sobko said. “Whether this refers to production lines or customer service, automation and digitalization are saving money and improving efficiency in the process.”

The enthusiastic adoption of technology is a must if intermodal drayage companies want to keep up with the rest of the transportation industry.

One Comment

  1. Sebastián

    En Argentina ya se está realizando esta innovación tecnológica en el Transporte Intermodal, el grupo Amazon se instaló en Bahía Blanca con los fines de aplicar dichas herramientas para el desarrollo y mejoramiento de los procesos Logísticos, con una gran visión para eficientizar las exportaciones de la Patagonia Argentina, productos de consumo masivo y los de las zonas provenientes de Vaca muerta, muy interesante su publicación, dejo mis saludos cordiales.

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Ashley Coker Prince

Ashley is interested in everything that moves, especially trucks and planes. She works with clients to develop sponsored content that tells a story. She worked as reporter and editor at FreightWaves before taking on her current role as Senior Content Marketing Writer. Ashley spends her free time at the dog park with her beagle, Ruth, or scouring the internet for last minute flight deals.