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FinanceNewsTechnology

Seattle startup launches partial truckload service

FreightWeb scores $3 million in seed funding; patent pending on new pallet technology

FreightWeb announced the launch of its partial truckload transportation service on Tuesday, backed by $3 million in seed funding from Madrona Venture Group and 8VC.

The startup, headquartered in Seattle, is taking a multi-pronged approach to solving a perennial problem in the trucking industry: the fact that shippers are typically forced to pay for a whole truck, even when their freight may occupy only a fraction of the trailer.

Unlike with less-than-truckload (LTL) and truckload (TL) shipments, there hasn’t historically been a way to get automated price quotes for partial truckload shipments, defined as loads of between six and 20 pallets, said co-founder and CEO Will Payson.

Full truckload freight service is optimized for 26- to 30-pallet loads that use all the space in a truck. Meanwhile, LTL carriers, moving between one and five pallets, are an unpredictable and often more expensive solution for larger shipments.

As a result, shippers that need to ship only half a truckload of freight often have to pay for the whole truck or spend hours tracking down a quote.

FreightWeb streamlines that process with instant quotes and booking, saving shippers around 25% on trucking costs, according to Payson.

“We are focused on doing the one thing that historically shippers have found to be a royal pain,” he said. “We want to take that pain away.”

In addition to brokering loads, FreightWeb is launching an owner-operator-based partial truckload carrier operation across Southern California, Arizona and Texas.

The carrier focus distinguishes FreightWeb from other supply chain startups. “Most people in the freight-tech space like the tech aspect,” Payson said. “They want to be totally non asset.”

Not so the FreightWeb executive team, a group with decades of experience in leadership roles at FedEx (NYSE: FDX), Amazon (AMZN), and carriers and brokerages. “We came to the conclusion that that’s not the solution for us,” explained Payson, a former FedEx vice president who left a position leading business intelligence and operations engineering at Amazon for his new venture. “We needed to position as a carrier and say we will take responsibility for the move.”

A patent pending on a metal rack system to help handle customer freight is another example of what Payson describes as the team’s laser focus on finding solutions to the partial truckload conundrum.

Conventional truckload is limited by the number of pallet positions, Payson explained. Although he declined to talk in detail about the new technology — more coming in a few months, he said — the system can basically turn “a truckload of pallets into half a truck,” saving, well, a truckload of money in the process.

Like many in the supply chain startup space, Payson touted FreightWeb’s green credentials, citing statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation showing that two-thirds of all loaded trucks are mostly empty, and an additional 25% are actually empty.

Noting his kids “are always talking to me about the planet and environment,” Payson acknowledged that “doing what’s right environmentally is [often] hard because it costs more money or it’s more work.”

But with the FreightWeb solution, which reduces carbon emissions by around 35%, shippers and logistics companies looking for partial truckload options don’t have to spend or pollute as much. “Underused truck capacity is a huge waste,” said Payson, “and we’ve built out the physical technology, science and tech to solve it.”

Scott Jacobson, managing director at Madrona Venture Group, echoed that sentiment in a press release.

“FreightWeb is addressing a particularly underserved segment of the market with a simple, easy-to-use service that is better for both shippers and carriers,” he said. “The opportunities to apply technology to improve efficiency and reduce waste are tremendous.”

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Linda Baker, Staff Writer

Linda Baker is a FreightWaves staff reporter based in Portland, Oregon. Her beat includes mobility, emissions regulations and autonomous trucking. Please send tips and story ideas to lbaker@freightwaves.com.

6 Comments

  1. Tough model. They need to get access to huge amounts of available trailer capacity and hope the timing and direction works out and need a TMS that can connect the entire network. It’s a nice hole to fill if they have the tech that can bring all the parties together. Good luck to them I say! We always struggle with 6 to 15 pallets.

  2. It’s BS right environmentally is if we are not sitting 10 hours or more for pick up and delivery with reefer trailer and door is open right environmentally is if not sitting many hours everyday in traffic because is ELD and etc.

    1. A lot more to what they are doing. Consolidation on each end eliminates the sitting because unloading is at their terminals.
      Then think about all the trailers that are way under gross and haven’t cubed out. Take a single cubed out trailer from LA to Chicago and you have significant reduction.
      There is a lot more going on in the world of Trucking than delivering to grocery warehouses.

  3. This concept has been going on for 30 years, I haul it now 5-16 pallets on Regular basis for 2.55 plus. It’s called PTL/EF (expedited frieght) half a load, 15-20 ft of the trailer but cant be loaded to end of truck. Via customer doesnt want it with other products. So u charge for a full trailer, if this CEO thinks he is changing the trucking industry he’s not…at all he’ll change it if he starts haulin it for cheap ass rates of non profit at 1.60 or less, then ya he’s changing it…its been inn existence for 30 years, it’s called EF/PTL it’s where u dont have a full complete truck load.I wont do it for cheap. no carrier shall or owner operator, many think 1.50 a mile is great pay…news flash too u new owner ops inn this business. It’s free haulin at 1.50, it’s a 5 cents profit not enough too feed billy, Suzy an wifey!!!! let that crap sit n collect dust. Know yr cost per mile of yr truck, todays newer trucks 2012-2020 years cost 1.45 on average u add yr very own bought not leased trailer yr closet too-1.75 per mile to run, that’s fuel, maintenance. Ifta, insurance, (partial taxes, partial truck note, partial trailer note an final yr driver wages. So to profit u gotta run over yr cost per mile. If u dont yr loosing money.. been doing this business for 30 years, I dont haul a load unless its profitable for me. And I mean at least .50 cents per mile profit, due to if u blow a tire yr out 300.00 n boom yr profit shrinks . So if this fool thinks hey I’ll get it hauled for 1.20 good luck…because yr costs are the same with a loaded trailer or half a trailer or 5 pallets..only thing u save on is fuel, u dont burn as much, Because haulin cheap frieght today will put u out of business with inn 6 months of business. Again I haul PTL/EF loads on a regular basis for my customers every so often I’ll haul it for 1.80 a mile, and fyi I barely profit enough to keep doing that. So another waisted cheap ass investment. Because truth is PTL partial truck load it’s not new, but he can claim it…some of us old timers been doing this since 1990 I’m one of them. Haulin lighter loads is better for the roads, yr equipment, an sure environment. Because yr not burning as much fuel…keep this inn mind Bill, 99% of PTL/EF frieght dont want u to add other loads too the truck. So u have to haul it, why haul it for a cheaper rate an go broke, when u can haul it for a full truck load rate n profit. On the other end u still sit waiting to get unloaded. At times. Depends on how much they need that frieght…I’ll haul half a trailer from Utah too memphis for more then most haul a full truck load at. Why CHEAP FRIEGHT DOESNT PAY …good luck, an if u build it n people haul it for cheap more power for them, I’ll buy there equipment at there auction after they close the doors. Fast break down of cost at a 1.45 a mile for 2300 mile run ull earn 3,335.00 dollars, yr fuel will cost u est 1500 in fuel, yr drivers wages to compete n get a good professional safety on time driver will cost u 1,125.00 for driver wages.. so yr company made 200.00 dollars on that load. Ooops forgot u gotta pay taxes, n insurance, tolls, n lumper, so now yr -425.00 on a load that paid u 1.45 a mile. so good luck…keeping doors open will be tuff again that’s an estimate now let’s teach u at 2.55 a mile for a partial load 5865.00 fuel 1500 minus driver wages 1,125 minus tols, taxes, lumper yr profit is 2815.00 on that load…hopefully it teaches drivers too leave cheap frieght alone… why go broke doing what you love, when you can do it making a TRUE LIVING… god bless n good luck

    1. How many times are you going to repeat yourself in one post? obviously you have limited knowledge on how to quote. If they get $1.20 per miles from 3-4 customers ($3.60 to $4.80 total on the rate to them) on one truck that pays you $2.55 per mile they still profit!! $1.05 – 2.25. They made almost as much as you!!

      Good luck to you Billy, Suzy and Wifey.

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