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Refining innovation lands J.B. Hunt in FreightTech 25 top 10

J.B. Hunt 360 platform continues to evolve to support growing user base

J.B. Hunt Chief Commercial Officer Shelley Simpson presenting at FreightWaves Live Chicago 2019 (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Technology and innovation have become the hallmark of one of North America’s largest supply chain solutions providers, J.B. Hunt Transport Services (NASDAQ: JBHT). The company took home another top-10 finish, sliding three spots to No. 7 on the 2021 FreightTech 25.

The Lowell, Arkansas-based company has become well known for its digital transformation, which has centered on a $500 million investment in digital freight platform J.B. Hunt 360. The 360 marketplace connects shippers and carriers to find the most efficient and cost-effective solution for both.

“To be named one of the top companies moving the industry forward for three consecutive years is a testament to our team’s passion for innovation and progress. It strengthens our drive to develop new, thought-leading solutions that challenge industry norms and accelerate our customers’ supply chain interests,” said Chief Commercial Officer Shelley Simpson.

The platform’s versatility is unique in that it offers multiple modes of transportation – intermodal, over-the-road truckload and less-than-truckload – with capacity representing more than 777,000 trucks as of the close of the third quarter.

J.B. Hunt 360 aggregates a multitude of data to make the industry more transparent, eliminate waste and reduce driver downtime. Management believes as more visibility is created by the platform, users will become more comfortable using other modes of transportation, ultimately selecting the most efficient way of shipping freight.

Even though the platform is in its third year of existence, the evolution is continuous. Additions to Shipper 360 have included predictive truckload pricing and real-time visibility into load status and available capacity. Most recently, the company added temperature-controlled services to the platform.

J.B. Hunt has also been able to better serve small and midsize businesses by providing them with the data, optionality and decision-making tools needed for the freight-matching process that the larger shippers have. J.B. Hunt hopes to increase available capacity to shippers while lowering their transportation costs.

In response to COVID-19 concerns, the company implemented an electronic bill of lading feature, giving companies and carriers the ability to sign digitally, further minimizing contact during delivery. Currently, the company is working with digital fulfillment provider Blue Yonder to offer dynamic pricing, better access to capacity and real-time notifications.

During the third quarter, brokerage revenue processed through the 360 platform increased 42% year-over-year to $291 million with the number of trucks available from approved carriers up 16%. The intermodal division executed $41 million of third-party drayage expense on 360 with the truck segment seeing $26 million in independent contractor costs recorded.

The company expects more revenue to flow through the system as it is further scaled. The goal is to make freight matching smarter and faster by using capacity more effectively throughout the industry. The company views 360 as an integral part of the path from its first $10 billion of revenue to the next $10 billion.

The FreightTech 25 awards recognize tech-oriented innovators and disruptors across the transportation and logistics industry. The list was unveiled in November at FreightWaves’ LIVE @HOME virtual event.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Todd Maiden.

Todd Maiden

Based in Richmond, VA, Todd is the finance editor at FreightWaves. Prior to joining FreightWaves, he covered the TLs, LTLs, railroads and brokers for RBC Capital Markets and BB&T Capital Markets. Todd began his career in banking and finance before moving over to transportation equity research where he provided stock recommendations for publicly traded transportation companies.