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Shipping giant signs on with Convoy, will post loads to app

Nov. 2, 2016
Load matching tech targets owner-ops, small fleets

In another step toward validating the concept of using mobile technology to directly connect shippers to carriers, Seattle-based Convoy has partnered with consumer products giant Unilever North America in a multi-year trucking agreement. The deal is billed as one that will “help advance Unilever’s operations, improve the lives of drivers and ultimately help to reduce the environmental impact of trucking.”

After a thorough evaluation of modern, on-demand trucking service providers, Unilever selected Convoy because of its commitment to superior service, driver safety, and ongoing development of innovative technology solutions that streamline procurement, improve on-time delivery, empower drivers, and deliver savings through operational efficiencies, according to the companies.

“Unilever is one of the largest companies in the world, yet they’re incredibly agile and forward thinking—especially in their approach to supply chain innovation,” said Convoy co-founder and CEO Dan Lewis. “Their vision to reduce manual processes and make trucking more efficient aligns directly with ours."

Convoy is led by a pair of Amazon.com veterans with backing from the founder of the giant online marketplace, to say nothing of additional financial support by some key players such as Uber, eBay and private equity firms, just to name a few. The startup has raised $18.5 million to date in venture capital funding. The team also boasts marketplace experience from the Army Transportation Corps, Uber, Starbucks, Rover, CH Robinson, Coyote Logistics and other freight brokerage and trucking companies.

It works like this: Shippers visit Convoy.com to book a shipment, such as moving pallets or a truckload of pipes from a warehouse to a job site. Convoy automatically calculates a competitive price based on distance, weight, and other variables, and determines which carriers have the required equipment, capacity, and availability for the job. Convoy’s mobile app automatically offers the jobs to pre-approved carriers, who use the app to accept or decline and assign the job to drivers.

There is no waiting, haggling over price, or managing paperwork. The result is designed to be a fast, hassle-free user experience.

With the technology, Convoy will allow Unilever North America to maximize each shipment by leveraging high quality, local trucking resources to reduce the amount of empty miles driven while enhancing the livelihoods of drivers.

“The goal is to use the technical experience a bunch of us on our team have to make a better experience for truck drivers and carriers, in particular independent owner-operators and small truckers,” Convoy Founder and CEO Dan Lewis told Fleet Owner last year after the company launched.

Reginaldo Ecclissato, senior vice president, Unilever Supply Chain Americas, added that’s he’s been impressed with Convoy’s approach to technology-enabled trucking services.

“Equally as important, we share a focus on driver health and well-being,” Ecclissato said. “Convoy has put the driver experience at the forefront of their proposition and delivered a progressive app to address many of the long-standing issues facing the driver community. We are excited to build-out this partnership.”

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of food, home care, personal care, and refreshment products with sales in more than 190 countries and reaching 2 billion consumers a day—a good customer for any freight broker, or technology-based transportation alternative.

About the Author

Kevin Jones | Editor

Kevin has served as editor-in-chief of Trailer/Body Builders magazine since 2017—just the third editor in the magazine’s 60 years. He is also editorial director for Endeavor Business Media’s Commercial Vehicle group, which includes FleetOwner, Bulk Transporter, Refrigerated Transporter, American Trucker, and Fleet Maintenance magazines and websites.

Working from Little Rock, Kevin has covered trucking and manufacturing for 15 years. His writing and commentary about the trucking industry and, previously, business and government, has been recognized with numerous state, regional, and national journalism awards.

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