The growth of digital freight matching is exploding, and logistics providers are jumping on board. The latest is Knight-Swift Transportation (NYSE: KNX). The logistics giant has reached a deal with Truckstop.com to implement that company’s Book It Now platform into Knight-Swift’s logistics operation. In addition, owner-operators and third-party trucking partners of Knight-Swift will get access to loads available on Truckstop.com’s load board as part of the agreement.
“Integrations like this will help us to quickly deliver more load options to our independent truckers at the click of a button,” Shannon Breen, senior vice president of Knight-Swift Logistics and Intermodal, said in a statement. “As we continue to scale our robust capacity offering to customers and carriers nationally, these types of partnerships and collaborations are essential.”
Book It Now allows freight brokerages to post, assign and tender loads directly to carriers. Carriers are able to see the rate, pickup and drop-off details as well as broker information all before booking the load. Once carriers are added to a broker’s preferred carrier list, their Book It Now loads are seen on the Truckstop Mobile app.
There is no negotiation, which Truckstop.com has previously said can save two to three hours of time for a broker. Carriers receive automated rate confirmations and also cut down on emails and phone calls with brokers through not having to negotiate rates.
Knight-Swift will use Book It Now to post a rate and allow their preferred partner-carriers to instantly book loads and receive automated confirmation for the loads they choose.
“Book It Now gives carriers and owner-operators more options and ease to work with marketplace partners they know and trust,” Bill Vitti, CCO of Truckstop.com, said. “For large brokerages like Knight-Swift, Book It Now increases efficiency in the capacity sourcing process by eliminating calls and streamlining negotiations.”
Truckstop.com piloted the Book It Now solution with Schneider National (NYSE: SNDR) early in 2019. It also integrated it with Redwood Logistics later in the year. Book It Now became available nationally in November, with Truckstop.com making the official announcement at FreightWaves LIVE Chicago on Nov. 13. Working with partners such as Schneider and now Knight-Swift is important for Truckstop.com.
“We’re bringing a new product to the market and we want to partner upfront with some of the largest logistics brands and make it a win-win,” Trent Broberg, COO of Truckstop.com, told FreightWaves. “We led out with Schneider and now we are partnering with Knight-Swift.”
At FreightWaves LIVE Chicago, Truckstop.com CEO Paris Cole told FreightWaves the Book It Now platform is part of streamlining processes.
“We’re making connections,” he said. “We’re creating relationships between brokers and carriers. What we’re doing now is continuing to extend that and reduce the friction that exists today between those two parties.”
Load board access
In March, Knight-Swift will implement the second phase of the agreement with Truckstop.com, integrating its large owner-operator base into the Truckstop.com load board. This will enable Knight-Swift carriers access to more freight and benefit Truckstop.com’s customers by bringing on board more capacity. Truckstop.com said freight brokers will be able to flag the Knight-Swift owner-operator group as a preferred carrier as they search for capacity nationwide.
The access to that additional capacity is coming at the right time. At last week’s ACT Research Seminar 62 in Columbus, Indiana, panelist after panelist spoke of the outlook for the remainder of the year, with some believing the coronavirus that shut down production at factories in China will cause a capacity crunch as early as April.
As goods begin flowing again from China, the West Coast ports could see an influx of cargo in March and April, just as produce season is beginning to hit. Carriers will be feeling pressure from all sides — strong housing starts, an economy that is humming along, regulatory pressures from the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse, and the increase in the random truck driver drug testing rate to 50% this year — and that will likely drive up rates as the expectation is that carriers will not add capacity like they did in 2019.
Not speaking directly to these capacity predictions, Broberg did note how Book It Now can assist carriers and brokers during times of tighter capacity.
Access to more capacity
“[It] is expanded capacity into our marketplace at a click of the button,” he said. “In the times of a capacity crunch, you can go out and [get that capacity] without the heavy lifting.”
Knight-Swift is looking to expand its levels of customer service, and integration with Book It Now will help that, Broberg added. “I think it’s an evolution in our industry to provide more digital freight matching, and our partners and industries are realizing it,” he said.
Most of the larger logistics partners are also expanding in digital brokerages, and there are plenty of upstarts in the space as well. However, Broberg said Truckstop.com is well positioned, and providing access to its expansive load board is another benefit.
“We really focus, and our cornerstone is, being the most trusted marketplace,” he said. “How can we provide a service that both carriers and brokers are comfortable with?”
The interest in Book It Now since its launch has been tremendous, Broberg said, and the access that providers like Knight-Swift are offering their own partners is truly an advantage for smaller fleets and owner-operators that gain access to Truckstop.com loads.
Like others that have implemented Book It Now, Knight-Swift will integrate it into its own system. Broberg said the solution is designed to be integrated with a customer’s workflow or can be accessed through the Truckstop.com website. Carriers and drivers can access it through the Truckstop.com mobile app. A web version for carriers is in the works.
“It’s an exciting time, Knight-Swift is an instrumental customer and they’ve been an instrumental partner for so long, and we’re excited to bring them on board,” Broberg said.