New apps aim to replace brokers, 'reinvent' trucking

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New apps and services from Convoy, NEXT Trucking have been designed to give truckers more control over loads, a bigger slice of the of shipping payment.

At NEXT Trucking, the carrier takes the lead in the next generation supply chain. Co-founder Elton Chung has seen firsthand how the supply chain can be cruel to truckers, and that difficult environment has contributed heavily to driver and capacity issues within the industry.

Chung, who has been a shipper, broker, and a carrier, owns iDC Logistics, which specializes in electronics and delivers approximately 18,000 loads per year, totaling up to $2 billion dollars of merchandise annually. The company ships to big box retailers including Walmart, Target, Kmart, Sears, Costco, Best Buy, JCPenney, and Kohl's.

He designed NEXT Trucking to connect shippers directly with vetted truckers who are willing and able to carry the freight. And, unlike Convoy, the platform is immediately targeting over-the-road trucking.

“We’re trying to eliminate the broker,” he tells American Trucker. “We don’t need them anymore. As long as we know the shipper’s and trucker’s needs, we can connect them without paying for the broker.”

Rather than a broker “passing information around,” technology can do it more efficiently—and at a fraction of the cost.

Carriers submit their route and rate preferences on the NEXT mobile app, and shippers post their jobs on the marketplace. Shippers can then see nearby truckers whose preferences match their posted job. Once the shipper selects a carrier, the mobile app notifies the trucker to pick up the freight, and the shipping process begins as usual.

The entire process, including paperwork and payments, is handled by the NEXT marketplace and app. Shipments can be tracked in real-time via GPS. After the shipment is delivered, shippers can rate carriers, ensuring quality standards.

Additionally, NEXT Trucking offers an expedited pay option.

Because of the connection to iDC, NEXT Trucking has immediate access to a base of 2,500 active shippers, Chung notes.

“A trucker’s offer is available just like merchandise on Amazon,” explains founder Lidia Yan, who brings brings online marketing expertise from global e-retailer NewEgg.com. “So shippers go to our website and key in shipping details. The shipper can shop for truckers: He can see the price, the trucker’s history, documents, even previous reviews from other shippers.”

While NEXT Trucking doesn’t set rates like Convoy does, parameters in the system set high and low limits to keep offers reasonable. The point, after all, is to get truckers loads at favorable terms—not to post unrealistic listings.

“Why don’t we create a trucker community? They’re always the underdog,” Yan says. “We really want to gather them together and let them make the call. This is the first app that was designed for them. They are the boss. We give them visibility to the market so that shippers can see them directly. By helping them make more money and get the job they want, we can really stabilize the market.”

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