Truckstop.com placed 11th on the 2021 FreightTech 25 list — holding this rank for the second year in a row. The internet’s largest neutral freight marketplace didn’t skip a beat as the New Plymouth, Idaho-based company continued to innovate and serve its customers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In its third year, the FreightTech 100 awards recognize some of the most outstanding companies in logistics, including both startups and legacy companies.
Companies join the ranks of this distinguished list through nomination from dedicated FreightWaves readers, from which over 500 nominations for nearly 200 unique companies were submitted this year.
“We choose the FreightTech 100 based solely on merit. These companies are shaking up the industry in new and exciting ways. This is not a ‘pay-to-play’ competition,” FreightWaves CEO Craig Fuller said. “We want to recognize the most innovative and disruptive companies out there.”
A list of 100 companies is compiled by the FreightWaves editorial and research teams and is promptly narrowed to 25 based on the judgement and rankings of an expert external panel, with voting conducted by accounting firm Katz, Sapper & Miller (KSM).
Chief Relationship Officer at Truckstop.com Brent Hutto spoke on the attributes that have kept the company deserving of the industry’s highest honors: “Truckstop’s customers will tell you that we listen to their needs, by which they develop trust with us. Most of our customers refer to Truckstop as their partner. … And I think that’s very unique among companies, especially when you think about the breadth and width of the trillion-dollar marketplace.”
It was during the pandemic that Truckstop’s innovation and dedication to its partners were on full display. For instance, Truckstop offered free and premium services to trucking companies and freight brokerages throughout the month of April to help struggling logistics providers as rates plummeted in certain sectors.
“The pandemic didn’t affect just a part of the industry nor just certain parts of a population; it affected all of logistics, which in a sense affected all of the world,” Hutto said. “When the United States’ logistics network is disrupted, that’s 50% of all the freight in the world. … We wanted to do everything we could to help this market thrive and do what we do best, which is to continue innovating and solving problems and once again, find a better way.”
Truckstop’s resilience was internal as well. It took the company only three days to transition its 505 employees from its Idaho headquarters to a work-from-home format. Hutto attributed Truckstop’s virtual, cloud-based infrastructure to its ability to smoothly switch gears.
Matt Stubbs, Truckstop.com’s senior manager of public relations and communications, detailed the unforeseen positive that derived from the pandemic: an expanded recruiting talent pool.
“Instead of being restricted to specific geographies, we’ve been able to start hiring experts outside of our traditional hubs within the last couple of months,” Stubbs said. “So we’re getting a much higher caliber of talent by being able to draw from a nationwide pool.”
Hutto said that Truckstop hopes to have at least half of its workforce back in the office by 2022, but alluded to giving staff the option to decide which setting they prefer.
“If you can stay productive and stay encouraged and passionate about what you do, working from home is 100% an option,” Hutto said. “We want to make sure that our associates stay passionate about what they’re doing; that’s the most important thing because passion drives a lot of innovation.”
Hutto explained that the pandemic hit right as Truckstop was re-platforming to introduce the latest version of its platform but credited the workforce for not missing a beat.
“Version 5 is something that’s been super important because it’s going to elevate Truckstop to become a platform that can integrate very easily with platforms and other technologies in the marketplace so freight can move in an automated fashion, not just the manual fashion that it’s in now,” Hutto said.
Last November, Truckstop celebrated the release of Book It Now — the industry’s first automated booking platform, according to Hutto. Book It Now is a feature for its smartphone app, Truckstop Mobile, that allows freight brokers and third-party logistics providers (3PLs) of all sizes the ability to add instant load board functionality to their businesses.
Carriers are able to see the rate, pickup and drop-off, as well as broker information all before booking a load, according to Truckstop.com. Once carriers are added to a broker’s preferred carrier list, their Book It Now loads will be seen on Truckstop Mobile.
“Our goal is to lift all brokers and carriers together at the same time and allow them to work in a very efficient, automated fashion,” Hutto said. “We couldn’t have done that if we weren’t able to disperse during the pandemic, get everybody up to speed, stay in lockstep with each other and add members to our team that enabled us to get us to what was next.”
Truckstop.com prides itself on being the first company to leverage the power of the internet to connect carriers and freight brokers. As the internet’s largest neutral freight marketplace, Truckstop boasts 250,000 active users, transacting nearly 80 million loads annually.
Scott Morscrip founded Truckstop.com in 1995 from the basement of his New Plymouth home. Hutto said that Morscrip first had the idea for an online freight marketplace after passing a gypsum plant on the highway. Parked in a field was a trailer with a phone number plastered across its exterior alongside the phrase, “Need a load?” Morscrip figured that there ought to be a better way to find loads.
Upon realizing that an internet marketplace for freight didn’t exist, he set out to make one himself.
Hutto expects next year to be a transition year for the marketplace and plans to roll out automation solutions for the Truckstop.com platform, adding to its predictive analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning aspects. On the broker side, he said the focus is to match the best loads and carriers in a nontouch format.
“We’re working to develop a seamless integration of data and other large players in the market to have an automated data connection to the marketplace through Truckstop that feeds to the brokers and carriers so freight can move tremendously faster and more efficiently, to all of those players,” Hutto said.