Relocating oversized construction equipment poses the twin challenges of finding someone to haul the equipment and figuring out how to load it. VeriTread Founder and CEO Jeff Cox has made it his mission to simplify that process. Cox gave insights on his company’s role in the heavy-haul transport industry with FreightWaves CEO Craig Fuller on the FreightWavesTV show, “Fuller Speed Ahead.”
VeriTread’s online freight-matching marketplace connects shippers with professional transporters to get heavy equipment from one place to another. Customers get transport estimates, list their shipments, review qualified bids and participate in freight auctions, all in the digital marketplace.
VeriTread provides both detailed equipment transport dimensions and advice on how to disassemble and load the machinery into the appropriate trailer.
“We’ve got a lot of proprietary technology that eliminates friction from the process,” Cox said. “We can take this hard-to-move freight, and our software can, for instance, look at a Caterpillar D8 Bulldozer and it can tell you how to disassemble it, how it’s going to load out, which pieces go on which style trucks, and, because we have that proprietary matching technology, we can then match it to the appropriate carrier capacity.”
Cox and his team did a lot of case studies early on to gain an understanding of the movement of North American construction equipment — a $40 billion-a-year industry. A platform like VeriTread’s heavy-haul marketplace wasn’t developed sooner because most big carriers have ignored the idea for reasons including the industry’s complexity and level of danger, as well as the fragmentation of the carriers, according to Cox.
“We’re really the first guys to draw a digital box around a bulldozer or a front-end loader and dive into the complexities of moving it,” he said.
Cox is proud of VeriTread’s unique product offering in comparison with what other digital freight brokerages and freight-matching platforms offer.
“Where we’ve seen a lot of these digital freight companies come out with a lot of sizzle and hype, we’ve taken a very different approach,” he said. “We actually got hands-on and got in the mud and crud with these truckers to learn our industry at a granular level.”
Cox founded the company in 2013 as the result of his love for both big data and freight — two things for which he learned an appreciation in his early life. Cox grew up in a family with deep roots in the heavy equipment business; his father and grandfather owned and operated a number of Komatsu distributorships. After a successful career in information technology at Lockheed Martin, Cox aimed to get in the heavy-haul industry himself.
“In 2005, I took my life savings, bought a fleet of Peterbilt trucks and I dove into the heavy-haul trucking industry. With my background, I thought that I would have it automated in about six months. Right now, we’re on year 10, so it’s a little more challenging than I thought,” Cox said.
He started Rounders Logistics, which operated as an asset-based carrier, 3PL and an international freight forwarder for the heavy equipment industry. After gaining a deep understanding of the ins and outs of the industry, Cox went on to establish VeriTread.
VeriTread’s success has attracted attention from many big players in the heavy-haul transport industry. The company’s long-standing equity partners include Sumitomo, the world’s largest trading company; United Rental, the world’s largest rental company; Richie Brothers, the world’s largest auction company; and Caterpillar, the world’s largest manufacturer of heavy equipment.
The company is the only one of scale that is a significant player in the industry in terms of operating a software platform, according to Cox.