Drop-and-hook and trailer pools aren’t exactly new ideas. But technology such as trailer telematics, load-matching apps offering “power-only” runs, and route optimization algorithms have made it possible to vastly expand their use.
Shippers increasingly have been using drop-and-hook strategies, where shippers have extra trailers that get loaded and unloaded without a truck driver having to wait.
However, most motor carriers with five trucks or less rarely have the trailers to be able to participate in a drop-and-hook program in a traditional sense, because they need those trailers to be rolling all the time in order to make the business work, explains Grant Goodale, co-founder and carrier experience officer of Convoy.
“We had this idea that if we could flex trailer capacity efficiently and automatically across shippers and across the country, there was a massive efficiency gain to be unlocked," Goodale said. "Convoy Go [launched in 2020] was the outgrowth of that insight."
Convoy Go and other “power-only” apps allow small carriers to pick up a loaded trailer, or pick up an empty trailer and take it to a shipper, and be able to move more efficiently into and out of shipper facilities.
Loadsmith calls its third-party tech-enabled brokerage offering “capacity as a service” — a trailer pool without the capital investment. Carriers can book, track, and monitor trailers in real-time through the mobile Loadsmith Driver App and Carrier Portal.
Some other trailer pool and power-only options include J.B. Hunt 360box, Schneider FreightPower, and Transfix Drop.
This article appeared in the March 2023 issue of Heavy Duty Trucking, as part of the "How Freight Movement is Changing" series.
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