Loadsmart launched an automated supply-led flatbed platform that pairs capacity and price to a shipment. Flatbed Messenger combines Loadsmart’s advanced algorithms with dedicated capacity from The Home Depot to help other shippers find flatbed capacity at lower rates.
Backhauls in the flatbed industry, or cargo carried on a return journey, typically require two customers – one for each direction. As a result, fleets that are dedicated to one customer are often plagued with many empty miles. Flatbed Messenger feeds the truck’s location, its price, and its destination into algorithms that match the information to a shipment, which benefits both shippers and carriers, Loadsmart officials said in a press release.
The platform allows shippers access to flatbed capacity that was previously earmarked for a dedicated shipper. Shippers also gain visibility into lower flatbed rates through more affordable backhauls, company officials said.
The platform allows carriers in dedicated fleets to fill their backhauls, reducing empty miles, and reduce deadhead miles by being matched to optimal pick-up locations
“Automated supply-led booking doesn’t exist at scale today, not for lack of interest, but because of feasibility challenges,” said Felipe Capella, co-founder, co-CEO and president at Loadsmart. “In order to begin with capacity instead of a shipment, the broker’s AI system must know exactly where a truck will be, empty/full status, driver hours-of-service, the price that is needed to move it, and where it wants to go. Through our work with a forward-thinking shipper like The Home Depot, we’ve been able to implement this novel approach that makes dedicated fleets more efficient via technology while greatly reducing risk.”
The Home Depot and Loadsmart worked closely on the concept, design framework and rollout of Flatbed Messenger to make sure the platform meets the needs of shippers and carriers. The Home Depot is focused on bolstering the customer experience, reducing empty miles, lowering its carbon footprint, and helping other shippers and carriers do the same by sharing truck capacity, company officials said.
“Flatbeds are an essential transportation mode, yet the flatbed industry remains highly fragmented,” said Robin Baggs, director of transportation for The Home Depot. “This platform presents shippers and carriers a unique opportunity to increase communication and collaboration to move freight in an easy, user-friendly way that’s more affordable, efficient, and environmentally friendly than traditional methods.”
The Home Depot has invited select vendors and carrier partners to participate in the service. Flatbed carriers have been onboarding since the announcement was first made at The Home Depot Carrier Summit earlier this year and are already being matched to a select group of shippers’ flatbed loads.
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