Transportation industry suffers from too much of a good thing

Consolidating freight moving in the same geographical direction is a long-standing operational challenge.  As e-commerce drives shipment sizes smaller, lead-times shorter and LTL prices inexorably higher, that challenge has become increasingly difficult and expensive for shippers with smaller shipment sizes. 

On Tuesday, legacy asset-light brokerage Smith Transportation announced that it has rebranded to iShared Transportation as it focuses on its tech-enabled signature service —  Shared Truckload Transportation — which offers a shared truckload service to LTL shippers but with the full truckload market’s pricing, simplicity, flexibility and available capacity. 

iShared brings decades of specialized experience as a full-service truckload and LTL brokerage covering all of North America with terminals in Florida, California, Chicago and New Jersey. 

With this rebranding, iShared emphasizes its Shared Truckload (STL) solution, targeting shippers in the sweet spot between LTL and Full Truckload (FTL), shipping between three and 14 pallet positions. iShared is leveraging visibility tech, AI and its industry credibility for a service once performed on yellow legal pads and Excel spreadsheets ⁠— a service that Smith has provided its customers on over 400,000 shipments over the past decade. 

“Through technology, we allow our customers to take what would otherwise be high-volume LTL shipments and move them on truckload capacity,” said Jonathan Adams, CEO of iShared. “Why would you want to escape the LTL market and ship full truckload instead? Well, there are many reasons, including speed, flexibility, lower cost and significantly lower damage rates. But the fundamental reason is market concentration and capacity. The top 20 LTL carriers control over 90% of the LTL market. If you deal with them, you deal with them on their terms: a complicated tariff system, accessorial charges based on weight and dimensions, and a price point that is very high and getting higher.”

By taking LTL shipments out of the LTL network and gaining access to truckload capacity, shippers can avoid reclassifications, rebills and accessorial charges.⁠ Instead of dimensional pricing, iShared’s STL solution charges the shipper a simple per-pallet fee.

“LTL carriers don’t really want 10-pallet orders. If you’ve got a 10-pallet order, an LTL provider might hesitate to move it, but when it does move, it’s a spot quote, and in the LTL world, spot quotes don’t move at full cargo liability,” said Bill Morrisroe, chief sales officer and EVP of iShared. “They move at $1-$2 per pound. We’re going to move those 14 pallets and cover that cargo liability up to $5 per pound.”

iShared leverages its cloud-based Revenova TMS System to help dispatchers combine similarly sized shipments from an origin city going to the same destination region. A driver might pick up three orders of eight pallets each in Los Angeles on a Thursday, from three different shippers, and by Monday, deliver those shipments to Florida destinations such as Pensacola, Tampa and Miami ⁠— where the driver will then reload another multi-stop shipment and head to the next destination. 

“The average LTL shipment cross country hits about 3.8 cross docks and we hit fewer than one,” Morrisroe said. “We don’t double stack freight, we don’t break down cartons off of pallets to use as top freight, because it’s delivered and picked up en route, so we’ve got more intact and on-time shipments. Shared Truckload eliminates OS&D and the hassle or damage returns and delivery shortages. Door-to-door service is a better way to ship large LTL orders. It shouldn’t be a surprise that customer satisfaction skyrockets when you can offer an in-tact and on-time delivery.”  

iShared is working on additional AI applications that learn how to accommodate the needs of individual shippers and adapt the network to achieve further efficiency savings and even higher customer satisfaction.   

“iShared Transportation is a collaborative platform that allows shippers with smaller shipment sizes to access the size, scale and capacity of the Full Truckload market⁠ —  similar to the way Airbnb’s platform allows ordinary American families to stay in ski lodges, lake houses or waterfront mansions,” said Adams. “We’ve been operating this service manually for many years⁠ — we call it ‘Sharing Trucks and Saving Bucks.’ But what’s really exciting about our new iShared technology is we can roll it out on a far bigger scale and offer even greater benefits to our customers.”

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