Speed, transparency fuels the rise of ‘Book it Now’ options in load boards

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Updated Oct 27, 2020

Recent developments in load boards and freight-matching platforms are allowing freight brokers and carriers to bypass rate negotiations.

The faster speed and transparency of freight-matching information has benefited both ends of the freight spectrum. Parties now have instant visibility of market rates, as well as ratings and reviews to develop instant trust.

Load boards, rating engines, transportation management software (TMS) systems and other databases have integrated these and other capabilities to speed freight transactions.

Booking loads instantly

Several load boards have developed rapid booking features to automate the rating and freight-tendering process.

When freight brokers post loads to the DAT network, they have the option to designate them as “Book Now.” When carriers see this designation, they can lock in the rate and terms of the load using DAT’s app or website.

“This allows the carrier to make the first handshake with a broker in a digital way,” said Ken Adamo, chief of analytics for DAT. The broker and carrier still may have to discuss some details through follow-up conversations to ensure that load requirements are met, but “we see this as a step on the path to industrywide acceptance and a higher level of automation,” he said.

Carriers can search DAT’s load board for freight with a specific Book Now option. They also can use DAT’s RateView database as part of their regular workflow to see if rates for Book Now loads are fair market value.

Adamo said having the Book Now feature will assist DAT with collecting data the company can share about relevant successful and unsuccessful bids to assist brokers and carriers with pricing decisions.

In September at McLeod Software’s virtual user conference, load board and freight-matching platform Truckstop.com discussed a new TMS integration for brokers that use McLeod’s PowerBroker to post their “Book It Now” loads.

Truckstop.com has integrations with brokers’ TMS systems to send “Book it Now” loads to the mobile app used by carriers.Truckstop.com has integrations with brokers’ TMS systems to send “Book it Now” loads to the mobile app used by carriers.

The integration allows brokers using PowerBroker to tap into capacity from thousands of carriers that login daily to Truckstop.com, said Brian Sowul, senior product manager for Truckstop.com.

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The freight-matching application programming interface (API) with PowerBroker is designed to be fully automated, said Dacia Gulledge, product owner of interfaces for McLeod.

Gulledge said PowerBroker’s freight-matching control screen allows users to designate the carriers from Truckstop.com and other load boards that will have visibility to their Book It Now loads.

Loads that brokers designate in PowerBroker as Book It Now display a rate along with details for the pickup-and-delivery dates, mileage and equipment type for carriers that use the Truckstop.com app.

Once a carrier clicks on a Book It Now load, PowerBroker sends the carrier an email notification with a rate confirmation. The PowerBroker integration also changes the status of the load to “covered” and lists the carrier’s details, Gulledge said.

Dynamic freight matching

Trucker Tools and other freight-matching platforms for brokers and carriers use real-time location data.

About three months ago, Ryder began using the Trucker Tools platform to connect with small fleets and owner-operators. Trucker Tools’ app is used by more than 140,000 small carriers that manage 10 trucks or less.

Smart Capacity is a predictive freight matching platform from Trucker Tools that recommends carriers to brokers for loads.Smart Capacity is a predictive freight matching platform from Trucker Tools that recommends carriers to brokers for loads.

When loads are assigned to carriers, the Trucker Tools platform automatically captures location data from drivers’ smartphones and updates shipment tracking and estimated time of arrival (ETA) information every five minutes in Ryder’s TMS.

The platform also digitizes the freight-matching process with predictive technology that considers real-time and historical data such as the carrier’s profile, location, proximity and lane and load preferences.

“We have had very good success with the freight-matching capability,” said Dave Belter, vice president and general manager of global transportation management solutions for Ryder. “We are finding that we are matching freight sometimes in minutes. This is not always the case, but in the past, we were certainly less productive.”

The application considers where a carrier is going next and uses that intelligence to identify and rank future available reloads. With this capability, Ryder’s brokers are setting up multiple-leg moves for carriers, Belter said.