The logistics industry is experiencing historically tight capacity and record-high rates in 2021. These trends are due, in large part, to the unrelenting driver shortage and pandemic-related shifts in consumer buying behaviors. Experts expect demand to continue to outpace supply through at least the first quarter of 2022. In addition to this larger trend, peak season is closing in quickly. This year’s holiday shopping rush is expected to take a heavy toll on shippers working to re-stock inventories.
“The entire year of 2021 has been one big peak for all of us, and when we look at the holiday season, we expect it to grow even further,” XPO Logistics Senior Vice President of Technology Yoav Amiel said. “When we talk about peak season, we look at three main factors: surge in demand, limited capacity and a shift toward more spot-like transactions.”
Shippers will need to embrace technology to thrive – and maybe even survive – as already-surging demand intensifies even more ahead of the winter holidays. Old school load matching and operational management methods pale in comparison to today’s innovative digital offerings like XPO Connect, which help shippers stay competitive in volatile markets. In the second quarter of 2021, cumulative customer accounts registered on the XPO Connect platform were more than six times higher than one year ago.
Customers find capacity quickly at real-time market rates on XPO Connect. The platform provides shippers with quoting and ordering, visibility, tracking, document management and analytics. “In many ways, [XPO Connect] is a one-stop shop for everything a shipper needs in order to run their operations,” according to Amiel.
XPO Connect also interacts directly with the 85,000 registered carriers via either a web interface or the company’s mobile app. The carrier-focused app, Drive XPO, has had more than 500,000 downloads. The rapid adoption is a testament to the trust XPO has earned from its carrier network.
The platform allows carriers to join the XPO network and easily source high-quality freight. Additionally, XPO offers carriers a comprehensive reward program based on a score driven by four service-level metrics: tracking compliance, on-time pickups, on-time deliveries and transportation rates.
“[XPO Connect] is a win-win-win type of solution. Carriers win because they get better rates, reduce their empty miles and, through our machine-learning load matching, receive the loads they are actually looking for,” Amiel said. “It is a win for shippers because they receive a higher level of service, and it is a win for XPO because we have increased capacity, better service and stronger business growth overall.”