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Truckers, small fleets can now bid for dedicated freight through Convoy

Company begins offering access to coveted accounts usually only offered to large fleets

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    176.330
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One of the most common complaints from owner-operators and small trucking firms is the lack of access to dedicated freight. Dedicated freight can allow a small carrier to grow or an owner-operator to become a small fleet. Most importantly, it can provide a steady stream of revenue.

Shippers with dedicated freight, though, typically send those loads to larger fleets with the capacity to handle large volumes and the flexibility to adjust capacity on the fly. The result is that smaller carriers and owner-operators spend time searching load boards — as much as 10 hours per week, according to Convoy.

On Wednesday, Convoy is attempting to flip that script and open up the dedicated freight doors to all carriers in the country. The company has announced that it has rolled out nationwide dedicated freight opportunities with contracts that can last up to six months. The freight is available within the Convoy mobile app.

“Since our inception, we’ve made it our priority to maximize earnings for carriers by keeping their trucks full on the lanes they like to run, with less hassle,” Ziad Ismail, chief product officer at Convoy, told FreightWaves. “We’ve heard from owner-operators and carriers with small fleets that they want access to this type of regular, steady contract work. We knew we wanted to address this need and make it more readily available. We’ve built the offering in-app to streamline carriers’ ability to search for and bid on work that keeps their trucks full.”

The addition of dedicated freight, which comprises about 10% of all freight on the Convoy network currently, has been well received by both carriers and shippers.

“We have heard from shippers that they like dedicated freight as well,” Ismail said. “Convoy has continuously been increasing the quality of our offering. Dedicated freight leads to further increases in service levels as carriers are familiar with a facility and can operate more efficiently.”

With the new dedicated freight offering, Convoy users can search for and bid on dedicated freight contracts that provide as many as 40 live and drop loads per week. Once a carrier wins the bid, all the loads for that shipper are sent directly through the app.

Ismail said dedicated freight, which is tagged within the Convoy app, differs from current loads in that no rate is attached.

“Carriers propose and submit their bid for a dedicated contract and they are awarded the work based on bid amount and their past performance,” Ismail said.

Once a carrier has won the contract, loads are sent automatically to that carrier via email and through the app.

“As a small operation, we’ve never been able to access anything like this from the traditional brokers we’ve worked with,” said Kenia Vazquez of KRV Transport, a San Antonio-based carrier that has been working with Convoy since 2018. “Dedication gives me peace of mind that I don’t have to be constantly looking for new shipments. With dedicated freight I know I’m going to have the loads I want and that I need to keep my business running.”

Inderjit Gill of JSG Logistics in Fremont, California, said having just a handful of trucks has limited access to dedicated freight.

“Many customers and brokers will ask you, ‘Do you have 20 trailers?’ in order to access their dedicated contracts. And for us, with only six trucks, that would be impossible to secure those contracts,” said Gill. “But the fact that Convoy closed that bridge and made it possible so we could be known as a dedicated carrier on a dedicated route has saved our business during turbulent times.” 

If a carrier is unable to complete a load under a dedicated contract, that load is then offered to the wider Convoy network through the app. Consistently underperforming runs the risk of having that contract canceled and losing access to future dedicated freight, Ismail said.

One unique feature of the dedicated freight opportunities is that the freight may not come from just one shipper.

“Our dedicated freight offering extends beyond just one shipper,” Ismail said. “The dedicated contract ensures they have loads to haul to and from specific metros, but the shippers and facilities will vary from day to day and week to week. Additionally, our goal with all of our offerings is to further improve the carrier experience; we believe our free QuickPay, hassle-free lumper payments and detention requests address the issues carriers face and make us an appealing company to haul for. Carrier feedback underscores that.”

Ismail said Convoy anticipates more opportunities to haul dedicated freight to become available as the offering matures.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Brian Straight.

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and fleetowner.com. Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.

14 Comments

  1. Just like at any other broker.
    The cheapest carrier wins the load/loads.
    Maximizing profit for the broker.

    Nothing revolutionary at Convoy. Anything they can do, any broker can do.

    1. Correct, they don’t have a patient on this but other brokers haven’t done it and haven’t put the technology in place.

      And I guess you don’t work with Convoy. They rank carriers and it isn’t always cheapest. For some customers, performance matters.

      1. Sorry this is smaller carriers being manipulated plain and simple. It is no different than the big motor carriers selling drivers the dream of being an owner operator because let them pay for the fuel and maintenance on a truck. The only way to do this is having a direct relationship with the shipper. Just because you secure consistent freight doesn’t guarantee success. My friend secured a three month contract with Convoy one that I also bid on and every week I pulled loads on that lane through their spot platform and was awarded a minimum of $300 more than him. He now says he will no longer pursue those dedicated slots on their app. It simply put a scam to make smaller carriers feel as though they are copying the model of the mega carriers when actuality they are only securing Convoys profits three to six months at a time.

  2. I think we, drivers, had the right to choose our own loads, shippers upload freight on board, then coyote, mode transport, Jbhunt, swift and convoy they all already took a big piece of the cake, and what’s for us drivers, just the minimum amount of money, just for fuel and a few bucks for the driver, with all this voltures involved in the industry, there’s no future for us, they keet all the money.

  3. Carriers that think that consistent freight is the only factor that will make them successful is a losing strategy. If you are securing dedicated freight through a broker the only thing that you are guaranteeing is that the brokers profits are confirmed. This isn’t new Convoy has been offering dedicated lanes for over a year now. We placed bids on a lane that we ran often and was countered at a rate that was $600 shy of the rate my trucks had already completed that lane that same week. Please people don’t fall for the hype. I would rather put in the extra time to secure loads for my trucks daily than leave those type dollars in the brokers pocket all for the sake of convenience and autopilot.
    If you have that set it and forget mentality in the business you are a detriment and will be the very ones filing bankruptcy and having to haul loads at fire sale rates when events that we recently witnessed.

  4. This is just another search board. The reality is, these larger brokers pushed out smaller carriers a decade ago form working directly with shipper. Now shippers ar eseeing the value in relationships developed with carriers and are looking for that again. Here is to hoping that eventually the traditional carrier/shipper relationship can be re-established. Big brokerage is SO OVER RATED!

  5. I think this is a great idea. I’m a dry van carrier; but just one truck/trailer. I’d LOVE to lock in a 6mo contract; which should be easy when rates are high right now. Instead of $1.20 lows and $3.20 highs; I’d sign today for constant $2. Consistency is so much better for safety, sleep cycles; not to mention the 10 hours or more per week on DAT. I sense that customers (shippers etc) would also prefer stability that has not been made possible yet via broker like Convoy hooking up several small carriers like me with contract freight via aggregating. I’ll certainly give this a try.

    1. For this really to work; has to be round trip. I’m based out of Charlotte, NC. I’d LOVE a dedicated round trip to-from Greensboro, Raleigh etc. But Dallas TX; or JAX FL would be equally excellent. A dedicated to-from Greensboro from Charlotte should yield $500/ day to me. This would be amazing; I see the single lanes posted on DAT for $300; both ways. To make $500/day; and consistent schedule (improves safety and lifestyle) would be very disruptive in good way!. Hell, I’d do for $400 round trip if 5 days/ week. That’s $2K per week and almost no miles or time invested. And the $400 is well below market; leaves plenty for Convoy and it’s customers (shippers).

      1. THIS is how disrupt. Digital brokering is not disruptive; in that it doesn’t save much money. But using TECH to aggregate enough small carriers like me in order to bid on a contract requiring, say, 40 moves per week….. THAT is VERY disruptive and smart. Total industry game changer. Will improve truckers’ safety and quality of life dramatically.

        1. I sent these ideas to Dan Lewis’ personal twitter over a year ago; and to some insiders. I’ve been thinking this for years, is best use of tech to disrupt. Glad they finally figured it out on their own.

          1. I THINK IF CONVOY TRULY DISRUPTS THE MARKET; THIS WILL BE HOW. USING TECH TO AGGREGATE SMALL CARRIES INTO ENOUGH CAPACITY TO BID ON CONTRACTS. UNTIL THEN; WE SMALL CARRIERS ARE LEFT OUT; AND WE WILL LIKELY OUT-BID THE MEGA FLEETS; OUR COSTS ARE LOWER. IF CONVOY IS GONNA DISRUPT, THIS IS HOW.

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