Persistence, Patience & Power: the Three Pillars of Building a Direct Network

Committed carriers can help end four decades of freight broker dominance

 

“Old school” truckers (of a certain age) will remember 1980 as a major turning point for the industry. That was the year President Carter signed the Motor Carrier Act of 1980, a move designed to reduce unnecessary regulation of the trucking industry. The goal, in part, was to give trucking companies greater independence and freedom over rates, and lower consumer prices.

The results, however, were mixed at best.

Driver pay plummeted, while the freight brokerage business exploded from just a few hundred companies pre-1980, to more than 17,000 licensed freight brokerages as of 2020.

Freight brokers continue to tear at the fabric of the independent trucking industry, siphoning massive amounts of revenue from small carriers while fighting pricing and process transparency tooth and nail.

This is precisely why LaneAxis launched the first Brokerless Shipper Direct Freight Network. It’s a massive, but much needed undertaking

Dismantling four decades of broker dominance is a marathon, not a sprint. That said, LaneAxis is laser-focused on transforming the industry quickly and giving power and profits back to hardworking truckers. But we can’t do it alone. We need the help of every carrier and owner-operator out there to be persistent in their efforts to connect with shippers inside the LaneAxis network while recruiting other carriers to join. The more carriers are in the network, the more shippers will follow. And remember, the LaneAxis sales team follows up on all carrier-to-shipper connection requests.

Your Success is our Success

Imagine in a year or two having your own “personalized” shipper-direct load board. That will happen as carriers continue to expand their network of shipper-direct relationships. You’ll be able to post your current and future locations, eliminate empty backhauls, and plan out your runs weeks in advance.

We want to be very clear and open with carriers/drivers in explaining that LaneAxis is not a load board. The heart of our system revolves around carriers and shippers connecting directly through our system and doing business directly with each other. This is a fundamental mindset change – one that moves carriers away from “reactive” obtaining of freight (via load boards and brokers), to a “proactive” model where you are empowered to go straight to the source of the freight and do business directly.

Remember, it costs just $60 for a 6-month LaneAxis membership into the Brokerless Network. Consider that on a $1,000 load, a typical broker might take 20%, which means you only pocket $800. With LaneAxis, you get the full amount (minus a small transaction fee). So just a single shipper-direct load will cover your membership cost several times over.

Long-Term Success + Immediate Benefits

While LaneAxis is preaching patience and persistence in building this direct network, we also understand the importance of offering immediate benefits that truckers can take advantage of today.

The LaneAxis FreightVISION app and desktop dashboard is an outstanding fleet management and cost-savings tool for carriers of all sizes – and it can be used right now.

FreightVISION provides:

  • Ability for Carriers to add drivers and create loads
  • Real-time tracking
  • E-docs
  • A tracking link to provide to your existing shipping clients
  • Fast, direct, and guaranteed payment from the Shipper following proof-of-delivery
  • Free truck-specific navigation
  • A suite of tools designed to lower your company’s overhead

In addition to these immediate benefits, a 6-month LaneAxis subscription includes free membership into the American Association of Owner Operators (AAOO).

Among their many benefits:

  • Free fuel card options that can save truckers up to $.50 cents per gallon
  • Telehealth – free for two months and just $8.99/month thereafter. A tremendous option for drivers who can’t afford health insurance.
  • Truck Insurance – AAOO partners with A-rated companies to provide affordable insurance options

Those are just a handful of incredible AAOO benefits carriers/drivers can take advantage of now.

“Our partnership with LaneAxis is based on our shared mission to improve the lives of owner-operators and small fleets,” says David Huff, Chief Executive Officer of AAOO. “A Brokerless Direct Network is long overdue. Our members want it. Our members need it. We’re proud to partner with LaneAxis because they’ve built it – and together with the trucking and shipping communities we are going to see it grow, and grow fast.”

Carrier Founders’ Circle

LaneAxis is also introducing  a program called the “Carrier Founders’ Circle.”

Here’s what that means.

As one of the original Carriers to join the LaneAxis Direct Network, you will be offered the following benefits and privileges:

  • Priority access to new Shippers enrolled in the Network
  • Identified in the network query search as a “Founders Carrier Circle” member
    Shares in LaneAxis (you will own a piece of the company!)
  • An open invitation to participate in monthly Q&A chat sessions with our CEO
  • A badge displayed next to your company name identifying you as a Founding Carrier
  • Bonus rewards for recruiting new Carriers into the Network
  • Additional benefits to be announced

We will unveil further details of the program in early January.

In short – we want hardworking, independent truckers to carry the LaneAxis flag. We are fighting for you and your future. If you stay active and involved in the network, and keep sending out shipper-connect requests, you will set yourself up for a better professional – and personal – life for years to come.

Visit LaneAxis.com to learn more.

We also invite you to take a listen to LaneAxis CEO Rick Burnett’s appearance on the popular “My Company Story” Podcast. Rick breaks down the pain points LaneAxis is solving with its industry-first Brokerless Direct Freight Network. In this engaging 19-minute chat, Rick details how LaneAxis is solving contractual challenges for Shippers, the $200 billion in managed fees the Network will carve out, and also dishes out business advice including often-overlooked market penetration strategies. Click here to listen.

Another Curious Question: “Can On-Demand Freight Really Work for Trucking?”

Sure it can. With the right network in place.

In our most recent blog, we stood up to the somewhat perplexing question “Are Small Truckload Carriers Worth Saving” – a query posed in an editorial by a broker-based technology company.

Our answer was and will always be: Are you serious? Of course small truckload Carriers are worth saving. Of course! The primary goal of the LaneAxis Direct Network is not only to  “save” small Carriers, but to help them thrive.

In fairness, the editorial did present legitimate challenges facing small Carriers, some potentially existential. But there was hardly enough justification for asking such an over-the-top question as “Are Small Carriers Worth Saving.”

Questioning On-Demand Freight

This week, we’re pushing back against another eyebrow-raising question: “Can On-Demand Freight Really Work for Trucking?”

This provocative query comes courtesy of a different editorial posted in Transport Topics by a different broker-based technology company.

The author argues that “In theory, an on-demand freight marketplace sounds great.” The reality, he suggests, is that neither the Shipper or Driver communities have expressed much interest.

From the editorial:

“What we are seeing is that the automated solutions are basically mobile apps, and drivers don’t necessarily want to be using an app to book loads. Even with the on-demand market model, the shipper is not going to know who the carrier is because like the broker, the marketplace does not want the shipper to go around them and solicit the carrier directly.”

Both of these points are simply not true. At least certainly not true enough to apply such blanket assumptions.

Here are the facts:

  • Tens of millions of loads are posted on spot market, “on-demand” load boards every year.
  • The spot market represents a massive percentage of the truckload freight moved today: roughly 20%. That accounts for approximately $160 billion of the overall $800 billion dollars in revenue produced annually by the U.S. freight transportation sector.
  • Research firm Frost & Sullivan estimates trucking-focused apps could become a $35.4 Billion Market by 2025.
  • A Direct Network that caters to “On-Demand” Freight is EXACTLY what the industry needs.

A Brokerless, Direct Network with Top Tech Solves “On-Demand” Challenges

The LaneAxis Brokerless Direct Network – powered by the FreightVISION Driver App – is reinventing the way an On-Demand Freight Marketplace should work. The biggest key is removing Shippers’ reliance on freight brokers. A lack of true visibility into the available pool of 1.7 million U.S. Carriers has long been the major roadblock preventing Shippers from ditching brokers and engaging in a direct network. Those days are over.

LaneAxis now gives Shippers real-time visibility and access to this sea of Carriers when and where they need them. Drivers simply broadcast their current and future locations to provide that visibility.The irony is that many of these Carriers are ALREADY hauling these Shippers’ freight – but with brokers meddling in the middle and taking a hefty cut in the process.

Within weeks of launching the Direct Network, hundreds of Carriers had already signed up – ready and rarin’ to start making direct connections with Shippers and leave brokers in the dust. And you better believe all those Drivers and Carriers are more than happy to book loads through the LaneAxis Network and FreightVISION mobile app – primarily because they’re coming DIRECTLY from Shippers. That means direct negotiations, full transparency, and guaranteed, direct pay, with no broker margins, usually delivered 24 hours after proof of delivery.

On the Shipper side, the suggestion that Shippers don’t want to know who the Carriers are and don’t want to connect directly with them is also laughable. For decades, Shippers have lacked true visibility over their freight because of clumsy and costly middlemen like freight brokers. As we reported in a widely shared investigation, even Shippers working directly with large Carriers aren’t aware that many of their shipments are being outsourced to other companies at alarming rates, further murking freight visibility.

LaneAxis provides Shippers all the tools needed to overcome the challenges of managing multiple Carrier relationships at once, including automated contract management, monitoring insurance documents, Commercial Driver’s Licences (CDLs),  and providing real-time tracking and documentation throughout the shipment lifecycle. LaneAxis empowers small Carriers and Shippers of all sizes to do business together efficiently and profitably.

Shippers and Carriers are ready, willing – and thanks to the LaneAxis Direct Network – FULLY able to work directly together thanks to the long overdue marriage of patented technology with a Brokerless Direct Network.

To learn more, visit LaneAxis.com.

“Are Small Truckload Carriers Worth Saving?”

Are Small Truckload Carriers Worth Saving?
Yes. Absolutely, positively, yes.

The question itself is provocative, but ultimately absurd.

A recent editorial posted on FreightWaves by a broker-based technology company posited the question: “Are small truckload carriers worth saving?”

The thinking, according to the author, is that small carriers have never fully recovered from the “Great Recession” of the late aughts, and are now in even greater peril because of the Covid crisis, which has turned the spot market into a roller coaster of rising and falling rates and capacity.

Additionally, rising insurance costs – including a proposal to raise minimum liability coverage requirements from $750,000 to $2 million – also poses an existential threat to many carriers, according to the author.

“If this change is approved, the premiums for this coverage could increase by 300% or more.”

Regarding the spot market, the editorial states:

“One reason for their concern, is that during the [Covid] shutdown, small truckload carriers found fewer loads available in the spot market. As a result, the rates paid for these loads often dropped below the carriers’ cost to operate their trucks. This created an even bigger rate gap with larger carriers, who are paid higher rates because they’re able to provide guaranteed coverage of their shippers’ loads.”

These points have merit, and solutions are certainly needed. But to question whether small truckload carriers are worth saving is – essentially – meritless.

Small Trucking Companies: Essential to U.S. Economy

The simple fact is this: 97% of truckload carriers are small and independent, owning just a handful of trucks. The mere suggestion that small, truckload carriers may not be “worth saving” is ludicrous. These small carriers are the economic backbone of the American economy. The country would collapse without their presence and persistence. Consider that they are already hauling much of the freight moved today – often through a process known as “Purchased Transportation” – whereby large carriers outsource their excess freight to the small “mom and pop” shops while taking a healthy margin off the top. It’s the same story for truckers running broker-based loads. Freight brokers consume margins ranging from 15-50%, cutting deeply into the profit potential for small carriers.

So what – or who – will “save” these small and independent carriers?

The answer is a Brokerless Direct Network that puts power back in the hands of small carriers and removes $200 billion worth of managed fees and inefficient processes.

LaneAxis has built such a system – the first-of-its kind “Brokerless Freight Network.”

“Freight brokers and large carriers have completely steamrolled small trucking companies,” says Rick Burnett, LaneAxis CEO & Founder. “Burdensome regulations and soaring insurance costs aren’t helping – but the heart of the problem lies in the lack of a shipper-direct network. The technology and processes LaneAxis is putting in place will level the playing field for these small carriers, giving them a chance not just to survive – but to thrive.”

The LaneAxis Network: Profit-Building and Cost-Cutting

The LaneAxis Direct Network features numerous profit-building and cost-cutting features that could buoy the entire small carrier industry. Most significantly:

  • No more brokers. So on a $1,000 load – a broker might take 20%, leaving only $800 for the carrier. LaneAxis does not take a margin off the freight payment (minus a small transaction fee). That’s a savings of almost $200 per load – potentially adding up to thousands of dollars of additional revenue per year.
  • Guaranteed direct payment, usually released 24 hours after delivery. This means no more “factoring” – or paying a third party firm yet another commission to provide immediate payment instead of waiting the typical weeks or sometimes months it takes to settle an invoice.
  • A free fuel card offered in partnership with the American Association of Owner Operators (AAOO) that offers average savings of $.42 cents/gallon – potentially amounting to thousands of dollars saved per year.
  • The ability to connect to and negotiate rates directly with shippers via the network portal, then manage the entire shipment in real-time via the FreightVISION driver app, which is tied directly to the portal. This could dramatically reduce overhead costs for carriers, while providing shippers the transparency and trust they demand.

These four factors alone could increase profit margins for small carriers by thousands – and potentially tens of thousands of dollars per year.

All 1.6M Carriers in the LaneAxis Network database can potentially connect directly with hundreds of thousands of shippers.

All 1.6M Carriers in the LaneAxis Network database can potentially connect directly with hundreds of thousands of shippers.

To be clear, a shipper-direct network alone won’t solve all the woes plaguing small carriers. Broker reform is desperately needed, as is the mitigation of “nuclear verdicts” that have put some trucking companies out of business. Outrageous insurance premiums must be reined in.But the question of whether “Small Truckload Carriers are Worth Saving” should be buried for good. The real question is “How Quickly Will a Direct Network Improve the Fortunes of Small Carriers?”Stay tuned. That reality is just over the horizon.Visit laneaxis.com to learn more.

“Shipageddon” Predicted for Holidays Because of Lack of Truck Capacity – But Why?

1 million trucks drive empty every day, totaling 20 billion miles annually

In a year filled with chaos and confusion, it should surprise absolutely nobody that the upcoming holiday season is shaping up to be a shipping nightmare.

In fact, things are expected to be so bad, the term “Shipageddon” is now being tossed about. UPS and FedEx just informed their largest shipping customers that most of their truck capacity has already been booked. Some analysts are predicting up to 7 million packages per day between Thanksgiving and Christmas could face delays.

“This will be an unprecedented peak season, and there will be days within the holiday season where the entire industry is constrained,” Brie Carere, Executive Vice President at FedEx, told NBC News. “We are working with all of our customers to really smooth their demand.”

This all begs the question: huh?

Certainly there are myriad reasons for capacity crunches, especially during the holidays, and especially during pandemic-related supply chain disruptions.

But the fact remains that every day in the U.S., roughly 1 million trucks roll down the highways COMPLETELY EMPTY. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), this adds up to an estimated 20 BILLION empty truck miles every year. Other estimates put that number closer to 50 billion empty miles.

The U.S. has over 1 million trucking companies and nearly 4 million drivers. So what gives?

A Lack of Visibility

Finding available capacity, even during the holidays – even during these holidays – should not be this difficult.

The biggest obstacle, one that has crippled the industry for decades, is simply a lack of visibility into the “true market” of small and independent carrier companies. This market is massive. Consider that 97% of U.S. trucking companies own just a handful of trucks, and in many cases just a single truck.

Most Shippers decided long ago that finding small “mom and pop” Carriers to work with and manage was more trouble than it was worth. A big reason is these smaller operations lack the technology to give Shippers the transparency and confidence they need to entrust them with their cargo. Freight brokers, third party logistics companies (3PLs), and mega-carriers have stepped in to fill the void. The result? Lower pay for truckers, billions of wasted highway miles, and massive supply chain inefficiencies that spawn unnecessary “Shipageddons.”

A Direct Network is the Answer

The LaneAxis Direct Network portal, which is integrated with the LaneAxis FreightVISION mobile app for Drivers, levels the playing field for small independent Carriers. Now armed with top-tier technology, these companies can connect directly with Shippers of all sizes. Truckers looking for broker-free loads can broadcast their availability and location in real-time, allowing Shippers to quickly find capacity when and where they need it. Shipment contracts, insurance documents, and Carrier payments are monitored and managed by the LaneAxis system. FreightVISION tracks the entire load in real-time, as well as providing e-docs, geoefence entry and exit notifications, immediate proof-of-delivery, and a complete load history. In other words, LaneAxis has removed just about every barrier preventing Shippers and small Carriers from doing business together.

While LaneAxis is focused primarily on the truckload sector, the platform can also be utilized and/or customized to handle less-than-truckload (LTL) freight as well as last-mile deliveries.

As the Direct Network continues to grow, real or imagined supply chain crises such as “Shipaggedon” should become a thing of the past.

Visit LaneAxis.com to learn more.

Truckers Shred Freight Brokers in Public Comments to Feds

Truckers Shred Freight Brokers in Public Comments to Feds
“If everything in the U.S. has transparency, then why [is] only trucking left behind?”

The ongoing Broker Battle fueled by furious Drivers and Carriers is reaching a fever pitch in the nation’s capital. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is in the midst of receiving and reviewing comments related to separate petitions demanding broker transparency and reform.

Truckers are not holding back in their comments – and piercing criticisms – of the brokerage industry. CDL Life compiled some of the most damning comments plucked from the roughly 1,000 submitted so far:

Sandra Grover:

“Broker transparency is becoming a SEVERE issue with disruptions in the food supply caused by this pandemic. The price gouging is ongoing. Postings yesterday was for 84 cents [per mile]. this is resulting in so much carryover of spoilage to lines down waiting on ingredients. Really hot… someone can explore contractual lack of transparency that is totally destroying our financial backbone. There is no culpability and accountability.”

Sunny Grewal:

“If everything in US has transparency then why only trucking left behind. We get cheated everyday by brokers. Every service [has fees], you pay the fees or commission and [you] get your stuff done. Brokers charge rates to customer to move their load. But they don’t give us that money.”

Ernest Brown:

“The example I have actually happened to me. The shipper was paying $.85 per bushel on a load of salvage corn . I called a broker who had listed the same load, but was offering $.50 per bushel. The broker was going to take 40%… off the top. If I had not seen the shippers rate I would have not known how much the broker was taking . In my world if the broker is taking more than 10% of the gross it is too much in most circumstances.”

Carl Mueller:

“They charge through the roof for freight and want us to haul it off for cheap and “break even”. As an owner operator, how when you have to pay for trucks, insurance, permits, fuel, repairs, and even hotels & and all sorts of other crap/equipment. You can’t make it hauling with these rates they give us, and they take a big ass cut out of the rate too. They should be a fixed low rate at most or no brokers at all. They aren’t the ones risking their lives on the road everyday to provide for their families miles from home. they sit behind a computer screen and a phone. As a driver I think truckers deserve more compensation for what they and cut out the middle man. That’s all I got to say.”

Hear, hear Carl.

These comments speak for themselves – and so does the LaneAxis solution. The Direct Network we are building will cut brokers out of the freight equation, resulting in total transparency, better pay, and better processes for Shippers and Carriers alike. The time for change is NOW – and LaneAxis is leading the way. Visit LaneAxis.com to learn more.

Brokers Shift Gears – Again – in Fight Against Transparency

Brokers Shift Gears – Again – in Fight Against Transparency
Latest argument employs “fear factor” of higher costs if truckers get their way

Freight brokers, by nature, are exceptional salespeople. It’s their job.

But when the sales pitch frequently changes, or is based on shaky assertions (or both), their credibility rightfully takes a big hit.

So it goes in the ongoing battle royale between brokers and owner-operators/small carriers. As LaneAxis reported during the height of the Covid crisis this past Spring, Carriers finally erupted in anger over their belief that brokers have been fleecing them for years. Low rates and a lack of pricing transparency sparked nationwide trucker protests stretching from SoCal to the White House.

Original Argument: Too Much Capacity

At the time, the broker coalition angrily refuted accusations of “price gouging” and a lack of transparency, claiming low demand was to blame for low rates.

“Brokers and 3PLs are not price-gouging – there is simply not enough freight to support all of the carriers,” said Robert Voltmann, CEO of the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA), a lobbying group representing brokers and third party logistics. “There are too many trucks chasing too little freight,” added Voltman, who made the comments in May, 2020.

Fast forward a few months, and the freight market is bouncing back strong, particularly in the spot market. Now that capacity has tightened up, especially with the upcoming holidays, brokers are taking a new tack in their fight against broker reform: stoking fear of higher costs for truckers and consumers if trucking advocates get their way.

New Argument: Too Much Cost

ArcBest, a self-described “multi billion dollar” 3PL, recently warned government regulators that if proposed broker reforms are enacted, every broker will incur at least $500,000 in additional costs every year – costs that will inevitably be passed down to Carriers and consumers.

“Essentially, any benefits received from carriers in modifying [regulations] will result in a substantial detriment to shippers, consignees and consumers and most likely to carriers as well,” wrote Barney Long in a mid-September letter to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Long claims revisions being sought to the brokerage industry will increase equipment, software programming and personnel costs to the tune of at least half a million dollars per year.

Long was responding directly to a petition filed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), which seeks to improve broker transparency by:

  • Requiring brokers to automatically provide an electronic copy of each transaction record within 48 hours after the contractual service has been completed.
  • Explicitly prohibiting brokers from including any provision in their contracts that requires a carrier to waive their rights to access the transaction records as required by existing law.

A separate proposal seeks to require broker contracts exclude any stipulations or clauses that exempt brokers from having to comply with transparency requirements.

“If it wasn’t already clear before, it’s clear now: The freight brokerage industry is doing everything it can to maintain its iron grip over freight transportation,” says Rick Burnett, LaneAxis CEO and Founder. “No matter the season or circumstances, they need to maintain control and will always manufacture excuses for preventing broker reform and transparency. They have no incentive to drive cost savings into the transportation network. By nature, their model is margin driven with price masking baked in. LaneAxis has been fighting this uphill battle for years, knowing full well that independent truckers have had enough of the deception and excuse-making. We have been building a Shipper-direct network specifically for those truckers – so they no longer have to put up with this abusive and deceptive behavior.”

The LaneAxis Direct Freight Network is the first BROKERLESS network in trucking history. LaneAxis is empowering Shippers and Carriers to connect and do business directly with each other on the basis of total transparency and trust, backed by the patented technology LaneAxis provides.

To learn more, visit LaneAxis.com.

It’s National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. A Nice Gesture – but not Enough.

It’s National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. A Nice Gesture – but not Enough.

One of the silver linings of the Covid pandemic has been the near universal effort to redefine – or at least expand – the definition of the term “hero.” Law enforcement, military personnel, firefighters, and others who regularly put their lives on the line rightfully earned the title long ago. But the pandemic opened our eyes to whole new groups of Americans who merit the same accolade. The term “essential worker” is now part of our national consciousness, reflecting the risks and sacrifices taken by nurses, caretakers, grocery store workers, cleaning personnel, and – of course – truck drivers.

This week (September 13-19) marks annual National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. It’s a well-deserved acknowledgement for the 3.5 million men and women who hit the highways every day to keep our economy moving. Given all that has happened in 2020, this year’s salute to truck drivers takes on added significance.

“Appreciation” is a worthy sentiment – but it’s not action

Almost 6 percent of Americans work in the trucking industry, amounting to 7.5 million jobs. 97% of these truckers work for small, independent carriers owning just a handful of trucks – and in the cases of owner-operators, just a single truck.

The men and women of the trucking industry have stepped up in countless ways to serve our country and fellow citizens during this emergency.

They drove straight into COVID-19 hot spots to deliver ventilators, personal protective equipment and other medical equipment to hospitals. When a panicked public made a run on store shelves, they hustled to make sure essentials like toilet paper and other household necessities remained available to consumers. They risked their own health and safety in a time of need, often spending days and even weeks away from home.

“Thank you” is a good start – but it’s not nearly enough. National Truck Driver Appreciation week must be followed up by action. 

Trucker challenges & the LaneAxis perspective

Multiple studies have shown that truck drivers suffer significantly poorer health than the general population. The most shocking statistic of all: according to the CDC, the average life expectancy for a commercial truck driver is only 61 YEARS OLD. That is roughly 16 years lower than the national average.

That stunning statistic has many contributing factors, but the stress, uncertainty, and inequities of the trucking industry as it exists today certainly isn’t helping. This year’s massive protests against unscrupulous freight brokers exposed one of several major fault lines fracturing the industry.

Here’s just a snapshot of the challenges facing truckers:

Trucking troubles:

  • Poor pay
  • Dishonest and manipulative brokers
  • Non-guaranteed payment
  • Long delays for payment – forced factoring
  • Billions of dollars and hundreds of hours lost to detention time
  • Burdensome HOS restrictions
  • Scattershot and confusing legislation impacting drivers’ livelihoods (e.g. California Assembly Bill 5)

And this barely scratches the surface.

LaneAxis has long recognized these issues and troubling trends, and built a system designed to directly address many of them.

Most significantly – the LaneAxis Direct Freight Network is focused on empowering Carriers to connect and negotiate directly with Shippers. This dynamic network will solve many of the pain points plaguing truckers. Crucially, this includes eliminating the need to work with brokers, which in turn puts more money in Carriers’ bank accounts. For example, if a broker takes a 20% fee on a $1,000 load, you only make $800. In our model you will receive nearly the full $1,000 (minus a small transaction fee). LaneAxis also guarantees payment to the Carrier prior to the load being tendered, usually within 24-48 hours of delivery – so no more need for factoring.

Our FreightVISION feature provides real-time shipment tracking data, including geofence entry and exit notifications. This will dramatically reduce detention time disputes. The system also provides in-app messaging (no more check calls), truck-specific navigation, and instantly uploaded e-docs. All of these features are designed to reduce overhead costs for Carriers.

On the legislative front, LaneAxis supports all efforts to improve conditions for drivers – particularly as it relates to abusive brokers and detention time. We are proud to partner with the American Association of Owner Operators (AAOO), which lobbies on behalf of small, independent Carriers, along with providing a wide range of benefits. AAOO membership is included at no cost to subscribed members of the LaneAxis platform.

LaneAxis proudly salutes all truckers during this National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. Now let’s all get to work by taking concrete action to improve their professional and personal lives. Visit LaneAxis.com to learn more.

LaneAxis vs. the “Competition” – an Assessment

LaneAxis vs. the “Competition” – an Assessment

The LaneAxis team is often asked how we compare to this product or that platform or how we match up against giants like Uber Freight.

The answer is generally the same: we don’t compare. That’s because we don’t have any true, direct competition out there.

Here’s why we’re comfortable making that bold statement: LaneAxis is building the first-ever completely brokerless Shipper-to-Carrier direct freight network. No such network exists today, which is precisely why the freight transportation industry is so badly broken. Independent truckers remain in a state of near-revolt against freight brokers who continue to tighten their stranglehold on trucking, all at the expense of efficiency and fairness.

LaneAxis is breaking new ground.

But What About all the Apps & Trucking Tech Out There?

After spending decades stranded miles behind the technology curve, the trucking industry is finally catching up. A glut of trucking-focused apps and software “solutions” have flooded the market – each aiming to solve disparate pain points.

Make no mistake, companies like Fourkites, Convoy, Macropoint, and yes – Uber Freight – provide valuable tools and services for the freight industry. But it’s more than reasonable to consider all those companies similar enough to each other to warrant being lumped together under the same categorical umbrella. Whether offering freight matching, load boards, “track and trace” visibility, or supply chain analytics, these ambitious companies are duking it out on the same playing field using similar tech and tactics.

Most notaby, they all work closely with – and actively seek – the business of freight brokers. There’s simply too much money to be made. Freight brokering is a roughly $85 billion industry in the U.S., and is expected to grow another $41 billion by 2024. Convoy and Uber Freight in particular are, in principle and practice, digital brokerages that take a healthy slice off every shipment. Considering that many of the loads posted on those platforms are actually submitted by traditional freight brokers, you’re now looking at double-brokered loads, which means even more money snatched away from Carriers and drivers.

Ultimately, broker-reliant tech may streamline some processes and add varying degrees of load visibility, but in the big picture freight brokers are more of a hazard than a help for the trucking industry. Carriers are the ones feeling the most pain from this largely inequitable process. Despite this, trucking tech is loath to untether itself from the behemoth brokerage industry.

Shifting the Focus

The LaneAxis focus is strictly on Shippers and Carriers – and leveraging technology and smart ideas to empower both sides to deal directly with each other and kick brokers to the curb.

LaneAxis is creating the first freight-direct network backed by patented Intellectual Property (IP), which many companies are likely in violation of. FreightLINK represents the network-connectivity component of the LaneAxis platform. Our database, containing one million+ Shipper contacts and one million+ Carrier contacts, creates limitless opportunities for compatible Carriers and Shippers to create their own personalized freight networks, sans brokers. Shippers can search for optimal Carriers – and vice versa – based on any number of queryable attributes such as preferred freight lanes, freight types, real-time driver location and availability, performance history, and more.

FreightVISION handles the contractual side of managing loads, an often frustrating and time-consuming process that historically has been a top reason Shippers sought out brokers in the first place. Now LaneAxis is on the scene to manage and automate most of those cumbersome tasks. Shippers and Carriers can now negotiate rates directly, transparently and equitably. FreightVISION then provides automated shipment management including real-time GPS tracking, geofence entry and exit notifications, and instantly uploaded and archived shipment documents including proof-of-pickup and delivery.

How Will You Compete with Self-Driving Trucks?

First, it’s important to remember that while autonomous trucks are creating lots of buzz, there will always be a need for independent drivers to haul freight – and by extension the need for a freight direct network. Even once autonomous trucks hit the road with regularity, which is likely a decade away, this will almost certainly account for just a fraction of overall freight transportation movements. This technology, after all, is not cheap. Having said that, LaneAxis is developing the ability to connect to any Electronic Logging Device (ELD), which is now government mandated equipment in all cabs. This will make the LaneAxis solution compatible with future technology like autonomous vehicles, drones, and more. With or without a driver, the core LaneAxis software will confirm the pickup, delivery and all KPI data sets, as well as continuing to track all movements in real-time. When the network moves to autonomous trucks, it will not affect our future growth as we are a software company, not a hardware company.

A Holistic and Unrivaled Solution

LaneAxis is quite literally reinventing the way freight transportation operates in the U.S. Creating a network environment for direct connectivity is the starting point. Optimizing and automating all aspects of the actual freight movement – while providing critical internal and industry-wide data – injects cost-savings into the operations of both Shippers and Carriers.

Partnering with the American Association of Owner Operators (AAOO) also gives us a unique advantage over others in the space. All Carriers who join the FreightLINK Network will automatically receive free membership into AAOO. That means free access to their exhaustive list of benefits, including discounted truck and health insurance, tire discounts, business assistance, and a fuel card that saves the average member $2,500 per year!

Niche tech solutions abound in trucking – and many do a fine job.

But simply stated: no one is tackling industry challenges in the holistic and groundbreaking way LaneAxis is.

To learn more, visit LaneAxis.com.

4 Years After LaneAxis Study, Freight “Outsourcing” Still Weighing Down Industry

4 Years After LaneAxis Study, Freight “Outsourcing” Still Weighing Down Industry
Controversial Purchased Transportation practice hinders true visibility and direct connectivity

It’s long been trucking’s “dirty little secret” – although for industry insiders it’s hardly a secret at all.

Four years ago, a widely shared and discussed LaneAxis report revealed that the country’s biggest publicly-owned trucking companies outsource, on average, over 42% of their freight to small Carriers and owner-operators – a practice known as “purchased transportation.” When this happens, most shipping companies contracting with the “big boys” have no idea that small mom-and-pop Carriers are the ones actually hauling their freight. This is commonly referred to as a “double-brokered” load.

Fast forward to 2020, and most of the companies on that list are still at it.

Take JB Hunt for example – the third biggest trucking company in the U.S. In 2016, after evaluating publicly available filings, we reported that JB Hunt spent roughly 48% of its annual revenue on purchased transportation.

Four years later that number hasn’t changed a single digit. Per its most recent public filings outlining its 2020 Q1 and Q2 financials, JB Hunt is still spending exactly 48% of its $2 billion+ operating revenue on purchased transportation.

Meanwhile, Landstar Systems – the fourth biggest trucking company in the U.S. – just announced it spent 92% of its revenue in Q1 2020 on purchased transportation (or as the company calls it: “BCO” – Independent Business Capacity Owners).

These two trucking titans are hardly alone in committing so much capital to a process that can thwart true Shipper visibility while cutting profits for independent Carriers.

FedEx, for example, now commits a full 25% of its cash to purchased transportation.

“A quarter of FedEx’s total expenditures goes toward purchased transportation, which includes the costs of services purchased from contractors,” reports Forbes. “This figure has been going up for the company over the last few years, as it partnered with third party vendors to meet the volume growth. In fact, it is even higher than that for its peer, UPS.”

Forbes says UPS spends about 20% of its total expenditures on purchased transportation.

Lost Visibility for Shippers AND Consumers

In the cases of FedEX and UPS, when freight is outsourced it’s not just shipping companies losing visibility, it’s all of us – the consumers losing visibility. Consider that Amazon itself outsources much of its freight to UPS and FedEx (in addition to independent carriers). So if UPS outsources a shipment that Amazon outsourced to them, real-time package visibility is often gone. How many times have you clicked a tracking link from UPS, FedEx or Amazon, only to realize your package is currently residing somewhere in freight purgatory? No one seems to know where your package is, and two-day delivery promises are often shattered.

LaneAxis CEO Rick Burnett expounded on the problem in the company’s original report: “Our findings are clear – many Shippers likely aren’t getting the visibility they think they are,” he explained. “Large Shippers and Carriers may be able to manage their own fleets effectively, but with so much freight being outsourced to small Carriers with six trucks or less – which is 97% of the trucking industry – that’s a problem. There’s very little visibility into that network.”

In essence, these massive Carriers and delivery companies are serving as de-facto freight brokers, which is exactly what LaneAxis seeks to eliminate. FreightLINK by LaneAxis now gives Shippers the ability to deal directly with the very same small Carriers that are already hauling their freight – often surreptitiously – via purchased transportation.

Squashing the Status Quo

In trucking, the more things stay the same, the more they tend to stay the same. That’s because the status quo benefits too many big players.

LaneAxis is focused on squashing the status quo. Purchased transportation adds an extra layer of inefficiency, cost, and diminished visibility that must be eliminated.

LaneAxis has long had an accurate pulse on the heartbeat and inner-workings of the trucking industry. It’s a major reason our Shipper-to-Carrier direct solution is resonating with so many across the freight transportation landscape.

To learn more, visit Laneaxis.com.

Shippers Brace for a Covid Christmas

Shippers Brace for a Covid Christmas
How Joining a Direct Freight Network NOW Can Prevent Supply Chain Nightmares Later

Well, 2020 has certainly been an interesting year.

On the business front, the swirling storm of a deadly pandemic, geopolitical tensions, and general unease has many companies struggling to maintain steady footing amid all the chaos.

So what happens now that the holidays are here?

Wait. The holidays are here? In August?

For manufacturers and other companies that move freight, they most certainly are. August is when retailers and other Shippers start ramping up production and putting holiday logistics plans into place. It’s also the beginning of the traditional peak season for the trucking industry.

Of course very little has been “traditional” this year – which has Shippers and Carriers alike struggling to read the tea leaves as they plot out their holiday logistics strategies. Will the usual freight surge take place this year? Or will Covid cripple holiday spending, which for retailers can represent as much as 30% of annual sales?

Apart from a guaranteed economic spike, the best gift Shippers and Carriers might receive this year is the birth of a direct freight network such as the one LaneAxis is building. FreightLINK AND FreightVISION are designed to help companies effectively and efficiently maneuver through times of supply chain uncertainty. And in “trying times like these” – uncertainty is about the only constant.

Just looking back to last Christmas, it wasn’t Covid, but another big “C” – Celadon Trucking – that threw a wrench into the holiday freight season. Just two weeks before Christmas, 2019, the Celadon Group – at one time a $1 billion company – unexpectedly filed for bankruptcy, marking the largest truckload bankruptcy in history. In addition to 3,000 drivers instantly losing their jobs, Celadon’s collapse left many of its high-profile customers scrambling to find capacity just before Christmas. That list included corporate titans such as Target, Walmart, Proctor & Gamble, Alcoa, General Electric, John Deere, and Philip Morris.

Those massive companies undoubtedly had the clout and cash to power through the disruption using a variety of “Plan B” tactics – most likely reaching out to freight brokers and 3PLs. Fortunately, LaneAxis is now on the scene to serve as a Plan A, B, and C.

Capacity at Your Fingertips

The ability to tap into a vast network of on-demand Carriers at a moment’s notice is indispensable. By directly connecting with hundreds or thousands of Carriers that run their preferred lanes, Shippers of all sizes are not only mitigating risk, they are now empowered to completely reinvent their logistics strategies with efficiency, cost-savings, and total visibility at the forefront.

It’s important to remember that 97% of the U.S. trucking industry is comprised of small and independent Carriers owning just a handful of trucks – in many cases just a single truck. So when Shippers scramble to find capacity through a broker or 3PL, those loads are almost certainly being hauled by the very same Carriers LaneAxis is now offering direct access to. During times of calm or chaos, LaneAxis is eliminating the need to utilize intermediaries such as freight brokers.

With FreightLINK, a Shipper can now have hundreds, or thousands, of independent Carriers all under contract – with insurance, Worker’s Comp, and all other contractual requirements managed and monitored by the LaneAxis system. Once a shipment starts, FreightVISION then automates management of the actual movement by providing real-time tracking, geofence entry and exit notifications, in-app messaging, and instantly uploaded e-docs including proof-of-pickup and delivery. Once all parties sign off on the delivery, payment is automatically released to the Carrier.In this year of unprecedented uncertainty – LaneAxis can bring some holiday peace of mind to Shippers. Remember – in the world of freight logistics the holidays are already here. If Shippers/Manufacturers truly want to weather any supply chain storms come Christmastime, they should start building their independent Carrier network NOW.To find out more, visit laneaxis.com.