Convoy opens up digital freight network to truckload brokerages

Nov. 18, 2021
The new offering from one of the largest digital freight networks allows brokerages to tap into what Convoy called its “elastic capacity.” Convoy said its technology can help brokerages increase productivity while also improving service.

Digital freight network Convoy is offering freight brokers direct access to its network of more than 300,000 trucks operated by small carriers and owner-operators. Convoy for Brokers, which rolled out on Nov. 18, gives brokerages leads and visibility on capacity across its network. Convoy said its carrier compliance program also ensures brokers’ loads are delivered safely and on time.

“There’s a lot of waste in the freight industry, and we believe much of it can be avoided with new approaches to capacity sourcing and shipment automation,” said George Henry, SVP at USA Truck, which has been working with Convoy for more than a year to fine-tune Convoy for Brokers.

USA Truck, and other fleets and brokerages such as AFS Logistics, are already using the new program to tap into what Convoy called its “elastic capacity,” according to a news release. Convoy said its technology can help brokerages increase productivity while also improving service.

“Our partnership with USA Truck has been integral to the evolution of this new offering, and it’s led to an acceleration of the program and collaboration with other partners like AFS Logistics,” according to Brooks McMahon, VP of partnerships at Convoy. 

Over the last 18 months, brokers have seen a surge in demand for their services as shippers have needed more flexible capacity to respond to market volatility and fluctuating demand. With more than 18,000 freight brokers across the U.S., more than 40% of truckload shipments run through independent brokers or brokerage arms of asset-based carriers, according to Convoy’s analysis of U.S. Census economic data. Digital freight brokers such as Convoy have taken much of the manual process—such as emails and phone calls with multiple carriersthat went with brokering loads.  

“In order to source more capacity in a shrinking market, brokers must digitize and automate the process of matching shipments to available trucks,” according to a Gartner report by Bart de Muynck and Carly West. “The volume and demand is too great for manual processes to continue being effective and to allow brokers to be competitive.”

Over the last six years, Convoy built one of the largest networks of small carriers and owner-operators in the U.S., connecting more than 300,000 trucks. By using technology and data to automate its own brokerage—including pricing, load matching, verifying carrier safety and performance, scheduling appointments, real-time GPS tracking, automated backhauls, digital BOL and document management, and carrier payment—Convoy calls its service “the most efficient way to secure elastic, high-quality capacity and manage truckload freight.”

Convoy for Brokers will give brokers access to Convoy’s fleet and brokerage automation. The program links brokers to an online platform where they can manage their loads and incoming bids, TMS integrations that enable them to book and manage loads using their existing tools and processes, and a zero-risk pricing model in which brokers are invoiced after loads are successfully booked without additional subscription or posting fees. Brokers remain the broker of record on shipments, continuing to directly manage their shipper and carrier relationships, while Convoy’s technology and digital freight network facilitate the process. 

“While there are some areas where we compete with Convoy, there’s more opportunity for both of us when we work together,” USA Truck’s Henry said. “Convoy for Brokers complements our existing truckload offering—it’s helped us support additional growth in our load volume and increase the productivity of our team by making it easier to access trucks through Convoy’s digital freight network.”

Powering this new service are five innovations that save brokers time and enable them to provide better service quality to their customers and carriers: 

  1. Load matching at scale: Convoy enables brokers to quickly flex capacity as their customers’ demand fluctuates. Brokers get full control over carrier selection and can confirm loads as quickly as three minutes.

  2. Pre-qualified carrier network: Convoy’s carrier safety standards use data and machine learning models to ensure that every load is hauled by an extensively vetted, high-quality carrier. The company reports a crash rate 16% lower than the industry average and cargo-claims rate 20 times lower.

  3. Industry-leading visibility: With more than 95% of loads in Convoy’s network consistently connected through the company’s mobile app, brokers can see the precise location of their shipments on a map.

  4. Automated document management: Brokers can eliminate manual paperwork with online access to shipment documents, including BOLs, proof of delivery, and inventory photos, which can be uploaded directly from Convoy’s carrier app.

  5. Automated carrier payment: Through Convoy QuickPay, carriers can get automatically paid in two days with no hidden costs and no additional paperwork.

“As a rapidly growing third-party logistics provider, we are constantly evaluating new approaches for sourcing flexible capacity as our domestic truckload business expands,” said Andy Dyer, president of transportation management at AFS. “We are excited about Convoy for Brokers, as it provides incredibly efficient access to a large, pre-vetted carrier network with a unique pay-as-you-go pricing model that will scale with our growth.”

Convoy noted that its new offering could benefit fleets and owner-operators already on its digital freight network. As brokers add new shipment volume to the network, fleets gain access to additional loads, helping them to keep their schedules and their trucks full. 

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