Tag: Pandemic

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.

Truckers Revolt Against Brokers and Bad Pay; LaneAxis Shareholder Shares Delivery Nightmare

Small and independent truckers are absolutely fed up – especially with freight brokers. As the COVID-19 crisis has unfolded, freight rates have plummeted, all while drivers literally put their lives on the line to keep their families fed and store shelves stocked.

Anger boiled over last week when large groups of drivers staged highway protests in Los Angeles, Phoenix and Houston. Drivers at all three locations were cited for obstruction of traffic, with one Houston protestor charged with inciting a riot.

“The brokers are the ones who are breaking the economy and breaking truck drivers; they are killing us, literally,” independent driver Addiel Santos told FreightWaves. “Brokers [were] paying for trips from Houston to Midland-Odessa like $1,800 to $1,900 before. Right now they are paying $700.”

The drivers are accusing many freight brokers of price gouging during the pandemic. A petition has been set up on change.org, calling for the government to crack down on the largely unregulated freight brokerage industry. Most notably, they want to require brokers to disclose what their shipping customers are paying them per freight movement, thus revealing the profit margin between what brokers are bringing in and paying out to drivers/carriers. Currently brokers are allowed to keep that a secret.

More protests are scheduled for Friday, May 1, in Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington and elsewhere under the banner and hashtag #MayDay.

These protests dramatically underscore what LaneAxis has long advocated – and is now building: a shipper-to-carrier direct network that cuts out the need for freight brokers altogether.

As we’ve all seen first hand, the direct model works and is ingrained in our current way of life. Think of Netflix cutting out Blockbuster, or travel sites like Orbitz cutting out travel agencies. That’s precisely what LaneAxis is doing to intermediary “managed freight services” such as brokers. Bypassing freight middlemen creates transparency and trust between shippers and carriers, while eliminating inefficiencies and unscrupulous behavior.

LaneAxis shareholder Richard Moore recently posted a comment to our StartEngine page (unsolicited), describing his recent experience with the U.S. Postal Service losing THREE of his packages, then informing him they had no idea where those packages were. This is another example of bungled brokering.

And it’s not just the USPS. What Richard and many others may not realize, is that many organizations such as Amazon, FedEx, UPS, Walmart and other huge companies outsource excess loads to freight brokers as well – and once they do those millions of daily truckload shipments also go largely untracked.

The LaneAxis platform represents a fundamental shift in the way freight movements are managed and monitored. By connecting shippers directly to drivers/carriers, as well as providing real-time tracking, electronic rate confirmations, instant proof of pickup/delivery, e-docs, and much more, LaneAxis is paving a better way forward for the U.S. freight industry.

We invite you to watch the below video, posted just a few days ago, to get a true glimpse of the anger and frustration drivers are facing with the current freight market – particularly with freight brokers. LaneAxis is not affiliated with this driver, but we found this to be a powerful expression of what’s happening out there.

PLEASE NOTE: The video contains several expletives by the driver as he discusses his frustrations. We chose to share this anyway because we feel this driver speaks from the heart and from a place of knowledge. We don’t want to censor his passion, and we think you’ll agree why when you watch his message. Please take this into consideration as you choose where (and how loud) to watch the video.

To learn more about LaneAxis – and invest in the future of transportation – visit our campaign page at startengine.com/laneaxis-inc.