DAT Services (www.dat.com) intends to make a big splash in the turbulent pool of Internet freight exchanges.

The load-matching company based in Portland, Ore., will introduce DATconexus, an Internet marketplace for carriers and shippers, at the ATA Conference in San Diego next week.
DATconexus will bring DAT's massive freight database to an Internet marketplace where shipper and carrier can find each other and agree on a price. From that point on, transactions will be handled traditionally with shipper and carrier dealing directly -- at least for the site's startup period, according to Susan Little, DAT Services VP, Marketing.
But in coming months, she said, DATconexus will "extend its functionality to the entire transaction." Shippers and carriers will be able to meet, negotiate a rate and complete the transaction entirely online at DATconexus.
Little said that DATconexus revenue will come from subscriptions initially, but the company will eventually charge a combination of subscription and transaction fees when services expand in the future. That pricing is not yet settled, she explained, but the transaction portion will be a flat fee, probably in the range of $3 split between carrier and shipper.
DATconexus will compete directly with many freight exchanges that have debuted in the past year. For example, it will allow customers to work with on an open market or within defined groups of preferred partners. Unlike many online market competitors, however, DATconexus will begin with a broad customer base.
"DATconexus is far more than another Internet business model; it's an existing industry leader offering another innovative business tool to its customers and their partners," said DAT Services President Marc Cameron. "We immediately bring to the transportation community what we've always provided: the largest network of customers, transacting more than 100,000 shipments per day together as partners."
DAT Services has been slow bringing its load-matching business, the largest in North America, to the Internet. Earlier this month, however, DAT announced the launch of a Web-based version of DAT Partners, a service that provides electronic access to the DAT database over a virtual private network. Those DAT customers will now be able to access the DAT database on the Web. The launch of DATconexus will position DAT Services astride the breadth of Internet-based load-matching and market-making services.