Partnership to address flatbed capacity challenges

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

Loadsmart and The Home Depot have teamed up to help shippers find flatbed capacity.

Flatbed Messenger is an automated supply-led flatbed platform that pairs capacity and price to a shipment instead of the reverse. The first marketplace of its kind, Flatbed Messenger combines Loadsmart’s algorithms with dedicated capacity from The Home Depot to help other shippers find flatbed capacity at lower rates.

Backhauls in the flatbed industry, or cargo carried on a return journey, typically require two customers – one for each direction. As a result, fleets that are dedicated to one customer are often plagued with many empty miles.

Flatbed Messenger feeds the truck’s location, its price, and its destination into algorithms that match the information to a shipment, which benefits both shippers and carriers.

Benefits for both shippers and carriers

Shippers gain access to flatbed capacity that was previously earmarked for a dedicated shipper and gain visibility into lower flatbed rates through more affordable backhauls.

Carriers with dedicated fleets can fill their backhauls, reducing empty miles. They also reduce deadhead miles by being matched to optimal pick-up locations.

Both shippers and carriers reduce emissions and improve sustainability.

“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.” 

Reducing fragmentation

The Home Depot and Loadsmart worked closely on the concept, design framework and rollout of Flatbed Messenger to make sure the platform meets the needs of shippers and carriers.

“Flatbeds are an essential transportation mode, yet the flatbed industry remains highly fragmented,” said 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.”   

The Home Depot has invited certain vendors and carrier partners to participate in the service. Flatbed carriers have been joining since the announcement was first made at The Home Depot Carrier Summit earlier this year and are already being matched to a select group of shippers’ flatbed loads.

“Automated supply-led options will become increasingly important to the future of freight brokerage,” Capella said.

“Our many years of experience wiring up the pipelines of supply and demand, and partnering with industry leaders like The Home Depot, uniquely positions Loadsmart to usher in a more efficient, environmentally sustainable future, reversing the traditional dynamics that are increasingly obsolete in a more volatile and complicated supply chain.”