Loadsmart, The Home Depot partner on flatbed capacity app | Digital LTL Council standardizes eBOL

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Technology Shorts

Technology news and briefs for the week of Oct. 3: 

Loadsmart partners with The Home Depot on flatbed capacity app

Freight technology company Loadsmart, in partnership with The Home Depot, has launched an automated supply-led flatbed platform that pairs capacity and price to a shipment instead of the reverse. Flatbed Messenger, the company said, 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 segment typically require two customers – one in each direction. As a result, fleets that are dedicated to one customer are often saddled with empty miles.

Flatbed Messenger feeds the truck's location, its price, and its destination into algorithms that match the information to a shipment, which gives shippers access to flatbed capacity that was previously earmarked for a dedicated shipper and adds visibility into lower flatbed rates through more affordable backhauls. Carriers in dedicated fleets can fill backhauls 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."

Capella said automated supply-led options will become increasingly important to the future of freight brokerage.

"Flatbeds are an essential transportation mode, yet the flatbed industry remains highly fragmented," added 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."  

Digital LTL Council releases API for standardized eBOL

The Digital LTL Council have made available via an API standardized electronic bill of lading (eBOL) attributes. Replacing paper bills of lading with a digital alternative increases visibility and reduces opportunity for human input error across the LTL shipment lifecycle, from shipper to carrier and throughout the last mile to the customer.

Companies wanting to achieve the electronic bill of lading API standard may access the approved eBOL API from the Digital LTL Council website. The Gold Copy bill of lading API features access to YAML file; request/response examples; field names and definitions; required fields; request/response schemas; and standardized enumerations.

According to the Digital LTL Council, digitalization can save organizations up to 2% of freight under management (FUM), saving the industry up to $1.2 billion. The Digital LTL Council recognizes that input from the industry is critical, and they expect to iterate on the standards moving forward.

“We believe that digitalization will have a huge positive impact on our industry and are excited to work with both our carrier partners and our shippers to adopt this new electronic bill of lading format to streamline our operations while increasing visibility for the companies we work with across the supply chain,” said Dolly Wagner-Wilkins, CTO at Worldwide Express.

Today, the Digital LTL Council is comprised of 29 member companies representing leading less-than-truckload (LTL) capacity providers, logistics service providers (LSP), shippers and technology providers.

“The Digital LTL Council exists to tackle the common challenges that plague organizations across the supply chain,” said Christian Piller, Digital LTL Council member and vice president at project44. “By establishing standards for an electronic bill of lading the Digital LTL Council is fostering scalable automation within the industry and easing common pains for shippers, LSPs and carriers alike.”

Tenstreet lands major investment

Tenstreet, a provider of driver recruiting software and workflow solutions for the trucking industry, has received an investment from private equity firm Providence Equity Partners (“Providence”), a leading private equity firm. Existing investor Spectrum Equity and Tenstreet Co-founder and CEO Tim Crawford will maintain significant minority stakes. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“Providence’s impressive track record of supporting the growth of technology-driven businesses, including in the transportation and HR compliance sectors, makes them the ideal partner for Tenstreet as we plan for our next stage of growth," Crawford said. "We are excited to work with them, along with our current investor, Spectrum, to promote the expansion of our platform and further enhance our solutions for customers.”