The fast-growing trucking company hopes to double revenue after adding an 18-acre dray-off yard for its Relay drayage program.
NEXT Trucking said that it will open an 18-acre dray-off yard about 10 miles from the Port of Long Beach as part of its effort to grow its Relay program.
Founded about four years ago, NEXT has an online marketplace connecting shippers with trucking companies. It originally focused on the movement of long-haul truck freight, but in 2018 decided to focus on port drayage.
“We call it a different kind of drayage,” said NEXT co-founder and chief executive officer Lidia Yan.
Yan explained that traditionally drayage trucks move containers directly from container terminals to warehouses, which in Southern California often are located 70 miles away in the Inland Empire region near cities such as Ontario.
NEXT breaks the container moves into four legs. A drayman moves the container to one of NEXT’s container yards close to the port, where it is then relayed — much like the baton in a foot race — to a driver who moves it to the final destination. For empty containers or exports, the flow is reversed — the container is moved from the warehouse to the dray-off yard and then handed off to another driver who bring it to the port. The dray-off yard is where the containers are stored temporarily on chassis while awaiting transfer.
NEXT has its own fleet of about 800 chassis and will add another 1,000 chassis for use during peak season. So containers can remain on the same chassis at its container yard while they await movement to an inland location or back to the port.
NEXT’s new dray-off yard is located at 3788 E. 208th St. in Long Beach and will be able to serve truckers moving containers between both the Port of Long Beach and neighboring Port of Los Angeles. Together with space it has adjacent to its headquarters in Lynwood and an eight-acre yard in Gardena, the company will have space for about 1,000 containers on chassis.
By dividing, for example, a 70-mile container move to the Inland Empire into a 10-mile move done by a port drayman and 60-mile move to an inland warehouse or transload facility, drivers can become more productive and earn 20% to 50% more money, said Yan.
The company has about 16,000 drivers that it has screened and signed up to use the NEXT platform. Companies upload the drayage moves they want made and NEXT dispatches trucks to move the containers.
NEXT works with a number of large shippers, including the footwear company Steve Madden and electronics companies such as TCL, Hisense, Pioneer and Sharp.
NEXT is moving about 5,000 containers out of the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach each week. With the larger yard, the company hopes to double its revenue.
Yan said splitting the move in half means that not all of its drivers have to have standard carrier alpha codes (SCAC codes) to be eligible to go to terminals. Likewise, she said, many port drivers don’t want to wait at inland locations for cargo to be unloaded from containers.
NEXT estimates delays in drayage cost the industry nearly $350 million annually.
Founded in 2015, the company earlier this year raised $97 million in a Series C round of funding led by Brookfield Asset Management, with participation by Sequoia Capital and GLP, a Singapore-based investor that specializes in warehousing and logistics.