Seattle-based truckload carrier Rollzi announced Thursday it has raised $8 million through seed equity and credit financing to begin expanding its single-lane relay strategy on the West Coast. Seed investors in the company include family, friends and undisclosed leaders at companies including AJM Packaging, disaster recovery company Belfor and the Smile Direct Club.
According to co-founder and CEO Damian Hutchins, whose technology background ranges from oil and gas to transportation, creating a relay system for specific transportation lanes can help solve a number of problems with retaining and recruiting truckers but also can help eliminate industry waste.
“We call it a single-lane strategy but that does not mean we only operate on a single lane; it means we consider every lane a business unit,” Hutchins told FreightWaves. “If you are going up and down the same 1,000-mile stretch of highway every day, it makes it a lot easier to relay those loads between drivers by breaking them up into smaller segments. Since our whole fleet is on the same highway, if a shipper has a hot load or if one of our drivers is delayed, the load is much easier to recover.
“It is also good for our drivers because they get to be home in a more predictable pattern. Our drivers are currently out for five days at a time and home for two days at a time, some home even more than that. Plus they get familiar with that single lane, every corner, every hill, every truck stop. It eliminates a lot of stress, increases safety and gives us a great baseline of data.”
Today, Rollzi’s single lane is Interstate 5, where it runs 12 trucks, soon to be 22 trucks in service, up and down the West Coast between Washington, Oregon and California, picking up and dropping off in large freight markets including Seattle, Portland, Sacramento and Los Angeles.
Hutchins explained that by using its contracted shipments from customers in consumer packaged goods, food and beverage, and home furnishing as anchors, Rollzi fills in the available driving time with loads from the spot market and some of the largest freight brokers. This is where the company’s proprietary technology comes into play, leveraging multiple drivers in multiple trucks to deliver with its relay system.
Rollzi started with its first lane on I-5 because of the volume of shipments coming out of ports and the incentives for cleaner trucks and autonomous vehicles in the future, something the relay method could contribute to.
Now, with its new capital infusion, the company plans on continuing to build out its technological capabilities while expanding into a planned second relay lane on Interstate 10.
“We plan to focus on our first relay lane and expand into the second lane, but we are still committed to hiring developers to refine our relay models and build better predictive algorithms,” said Hutchins. “Instead of just managing one driver that’s tied to a truck that is tied to a trailer, we actually have to tie multiple drivers in multiple trucks and that starts to get pretty complicated. We also plan on building. We also plan on expanding our available equipment and securing additional real estate off of I-5 to improve the relay system.”