Lanehub’s collaborative approach sees rapid growth through Q3

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If you haven’t heard about Lanehub by now it may be time to hitch your wagon to their network. FreightWaves always likes to cover innovative trends in transportation, and Lanehub fits the bill of a fascinating startup we’ve tracked from the get-go. Basically, Lanehub is a collaborative transportation network that enables shippers or carriers to match recurring freight lanes on a consistent basis, and this past week they announced more than 75% growth in the number of lane matches on its platform in the third quarter of 2018 while it also continues to onboard new companies.

“Discovering collaborative lane matching opportunities seems pretty logical, but I think the bigger question on most people’s minds is how the execution works,” Mark Hackl, CEO and founder of Lanehub, tells FreightWaves. “We’ve learned through past attempts at sharing collaborative truck capacity that things need to be less rigid and more flexible. Meaning that trying to build a perfectly timed and scheduled tour with multiple legs quickly falls apart. Our members are seeing that the execution in Lanehub is designed to address this issue and ensure that companies can collaborate effectively.” 

The way it works could be an interesting model for getting shippers to work more cooperatively as well. Lanehub engages with shipper’s current incumbent carriers, so in most collaborative situations the carrier is already hauling freight in one direction and is simply looking to find better return loads that help balance their network. 

“And the carrier likely has numerous customers in those lanes already, so it becomes more about improving their density and balance across those lanes,” says Hackl. “Less live-loading of spot market loads, and more consistent and predictable drop-trailer backhaul loads. So in most situations, Lanehub brings shippers together to leverage existing incumbent carriers, or private/dedicated fleets, to improve their utilization and benefit everyone involved.” 

Also, the Lanehub team recently upgraded their software to enhance and automate the price collaboration by allowing both shippers and carriers to set lane specific goals, which allows them to arrive at mutually beneficial pricing much quicker. Besides making pricing quicker, the company is seeing fast growth.

“Our membership is seeing an increasing number of Fortune 500 companies, including well-known food and beverage, consumer goods and manufacturing operations, using our collaborative approach to increasing capacity utilization and reducing costs,” says Hackl. “In the third quarter of this year, shippers increased the number of lanes in our network to 91,000, representing over 19 million annual shipments, and we realized a 77% increase to 9.8 million lane matches. New and existing private and dedicated fleets continue to expand their use of the Lanehub network to address the shortage of truck capacity by utilizing trucks that still run empty or with inconsistent freight.”

Backhaul Assist, the newest capability offered by Lanehub, allows shippers that have private fleets or utilize dedicated contract carriers to market their available or anticipated capacity to other shippers. Among the two dozen Lanehub member fleets taking advantage of the Company’s recently announced Backhaul Assist, is Shaw Industries Group Inc., the Lanehub member is a global flooring provider and a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. headquartered in Dalton, Georgia.

“The operating platform Lanehub has created has proven to be an exceptional way to stimulate dialogue, and drive business results among shippers and carrier partners for the transportation industry,” says Mick Miller, transportation sales manager at Shaw Industries Group. “The team they’ve assembled has demonstrated a willingness to assist our operation, and the expertise to be able to do so by aligning partners throughout the industry in a new and creative way.”

“The power of collaboration with Lanehub clients enables us to manage challenging lanes and mitigate increasing market prices,” says Matt O’Connor, vice president of supply chain. Rockline Industries, a family-owned company headquartered in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of coffee filters and consumer, health care, industrial and institutional wet wipes. Rockline Industries has also started using the Lanehub network to discover collaborative opportunities.

So, shippers and carriers and anyone looking to increase capacity and do it with aplomb might want to check out another innovative tech solution.

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Chad Prevost

Chad is radio host and broadcast media specialist for FreightWaves.