If you know the company names Uber or Lyft, you know the smartphone apps!  Companies like Uber and Lyft have revolutionized finding a ride at a moments notice.  Their apps link drivers to your location and find you the best option for your desired ride options.  Could the trucking and transportation industry of the 21st Century be due for a groundbreaking change similar to these apps?  Some might argue that the time is now and if you’re not onboard, you might already be getting left in the dust!
 
Many in the trucking industry are familiar with web-based names like Keychain Logistics and Cargomatic for finding freight and cutting out some of the "middle work", which the latter of I just learned about by signing up for today.  With hundreds of billions of dollars up for grabs in the trucking industry annually, it makes perfect sense that technology firms would want to find their way into the mix.  If there were an app to make your trucking company more efficient, would you utilize it?  As inefficient as deadhead miles are for our industry, wouldn’t you have thought someone would have found a way to cut them out of the “profit and loss” equation?  I know it used to drive me downright nuts having to sit somewhere for a day waiting because a load couldn’t be found around my location!  According to an article I read written by Liz Gannes at Re/code, this is just the type of thinking about the drag that deadhead miles place on our industry that went into a new app recently announced called Transfix.
 
Transfix works in a way similar to Uber and Lyft in that it matches drivers to loads based on their proximity to the load, thus reducing the need to deadhead more than necessary.  For those of you that think something like this would not be used much, tell that to some of the major shippers testing it out including names like Samsung and J. Crew, not to mention the slough of investors pouring capital into the idea.  According to the Re/code article, app founder Drew McElroy claims that some testers have seen 50% or more reductions in deadhead using Transfix.  I don’t know about you, but I happen to think that sure beats running around burning fuel with an empty trailer!

Comments (6)

Jimmy Nevarez

Jimmy Nevarez is the Owner/President of Angus Transportation, Inc., based in Chino, California.  Jimmy pulls a 53' dry van hauling general dry freight for his own small fleet, operating on its own authority throughout all of Southern California and Southern Nevada.

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Hey Josh,
Nice to hear from you and see your opinions here in our web community. I know you are familiar with tech and it pays to have it in the trucking industry for sure! That whole Amazon thing still amazes me when I go into their warehouses and see how it all functions from the inside with tech as well.

January 30, 2015 14:49:59 PM

I think the possibilities for adapting the Uber model to trucking could potentially have greater potential to transform efficiencies beyond eliminating empty runs. Especially if one were to be able to operate at scale. Part of the genius of the Uber/Lyft model is the logistic technologies that connect riders to drivers with far more efficiency than any taxi dispatcher could.

Similar to the logistics that allow Amazon to get any item anywhere in the county within a day without going bankrupt in the process could be leveraged across the entire shipping industry using the Uber model.

PS - What's up Jimmy! It's Josh from Serrano.

January 30, 2015 12:56:19 PM

The way we use satellite technology has changed the industry. Obviously, we have not used all of its potential.

January 24, 2015 3:55:48 AM

The question now becomes whether or not you will have to have your own authority to run these loads or if your carrier is willing to let you run these loads. Uber has had an uphill legal battle over who is liable in the event of a crash, but Lyft actually includes insurance for their drivers. Technology improves the overall market, and I am excited to see the "sharing" business model branch into other sectors beyond cars and hotels (Airbnb).

January 23, 2015 13:47:28 PM

My pleasure! Lyft was actually the first one I had ever heard of because I kept wondering why I was seeing cars driving around with pink mustaches on the front of them. Turns out now they are actually ditching that signature trademark from their vehicles though.

January 23, 2015 10:03:58 AM

I haven't heard of any of these except Uber. Thanks for shining a light on them.

January 23, 2015 5:27:01 AM