Ch Robinson Market Rate Iq Truck Graphic

New C.H. Robinson technology identifies spot-market savings for shippers

Sept. 22, 2021
3PL company says Market Rate IQ reveals $75 million in potential savings across $1.2 billion in freight during incubation phase

With tight trucking capacity and market volatility pushing more freight into the spot market, global logistics provider C.H. Robinson recently launched Market Rate IQ—a new tool it says shows companies how their spot rates compare to a trusted third-party benchmark, and breaks down where they could save money.

Created by C.H. Robinson’s technology incubator, C.H. Robinson Labs, Market Rate IQ is a tool that shows shippers which factors in their U.S. spot pricing are market-driven and which they can control. It’s also the only tool in the industry that incorporates DAT’s RateView, the most comprehensive and reliable database of U.S. spot freight rates, the company said.

“Virtually every company is looking for a solution to help them navigate the spot market, so we built one,” said Tim Gagnon, head of Robinson Labs and C.H. Robinson’s vice president of analytics and data science. “Now, for the first time, they can see what’s driving their rates and what they can do about it. Then we take that transparency a step further and show them how their rates compare to the average for each of their shipping lanes and locations.

“It’s like going to the grocery store and instantly being able to see how the price of everything on your list compares to the market. Who doesn’t want to know if they’re paying more than market?”

Companies have had to turn to the spot market more as global disruptions ripple through their supply chains, requiring more last-minute changes and short-term decisions. Since January 2020, load postings are up 176% while postings from trucks looking for loads are down 5%. That imbalance drives rates up and companies often cope with that by spreading their spot freight among many transportation providers—even though that added effort doesn’t always result in better rates.

During its incubation phase, Market Rate IQ uncovered $75 million in potential customer savings across $1.2 billion in spot freight spend, C.H. Robinson maintained. These were the Top 5 reasons customers paid more than they might have needed to, even when their rates were below market average:

  1. Lead time: Carriers charge a premium when given too little lead time for pick up.
  2. Uneven freight: Because any given shipping lane has a finite number of trucks, putting too much freight in the same lane on the same day instead of spreading it out means you might be paying extra for carriers elsewhere to drive out of their way.
  3. Weekend pickup: To avoid the higher cost of Saturday and Sunday pickups, some companies might find it beneficial to run freight out of their warehouses only five days a week.
  4. Multiple stops: Adding too many stops to fill a truck has diminishing returns. Other optimization strategies could be more cost-effective. 
  5. Delivery geography: Carriers charge more if they have to drive empty to get their next load. When shippers have spot loads going to a remote destination, they could save money by working with a logistics partner who can pair up loads originating nearby. 

Market Rate IQ is offered within C.H. Robinson’s Navisphere platform and powered by C.H. Robinson’s freight dataset. Some of the largest retailers in the world, as well as other global B2C and B2B companies, have now begun taking advantage of this technology built by and for supply chain experts, the company said.

“Market Rate IQ gives us this window into our spot rates that just wasn’t possible before,” said Terry Laluk, senior director of logistics of Valmont, a global provider of infrastructure for transit, utilities, agriculture, and other industries. “We have confidence and assurance that we’re getting good rates, especially under market conditions no one has ever experienced. But it’s also so easy to see where adjusting our shipping strategy could add to our bottom line.

“We just started using the tool, and the potential for significant cost savings is already clear.”

C.H. Robinson teamed up with DAT on Market Rate IQ because DAT’s spot rate benchmark, based on $110 billion in shipment data across 68,000 shipping lanes, is widely considered the industry standard. 

“Shippers don’t have to be at the mercy of these uncertain times,” said Mike Weaver, vice president of sales at DAT. “The right technology and data can make a powerful difference. Market Rate IQ represents two industry leaders coming together to help all parties negotiate with confidence, transparency and the most trusted rate benchmarks in the industry.”

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Commercial Vehicle Staff

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