FreightWeb, a new Seattle-based company focused on the shipping of partial truckloads of freight, announced today it is making its official entrance into the market.
FreightWeb is financially backed by Madrona Venture Group and 8VC, with the latter having also backed Flexport, Flexe and other logistics technology-focused companies. The company is led by Will Payson, whom serves as co-founder and CEO, and its team has a combined 50 years of logistics experience in previous leadership roles at FedEx and Amazon, as well as various carriers and brokerages.
Company officials explained that FreightWeb is providing what it called a much needed service in the freight market, through shipping partial truckloads of freight, which it defines as Partial Truckload (PTL) transportation, noting that many service offerings require most shippers to pay for a whole truck while their actual freight may only occupy a small amount of trailer space.
FreightWeb said that PTL shipments are commonly referred to as loads between 6 and 20 pallets that do not fit neatly into the current freight service offerings within the trucking sector, pointing out that less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers are not as much of a viable option, calling them an “unpredictable and often more expensive solution for larger shipments,” whereas full truckload service is geared towards 26-to-30 pallet loads using all truck space. And it made the case that this leaves a gap for shippers needing to move a partial truckload of freight, as over time there has not been a way to obtain automated price quotes for PTL shipments, as is the case for LTL and full truckload shipments, which leaves shippers having to pay for a full truck or invest time in getting a quote, when they have half of a truckload of freight.
What’s more, a United States Department of Transportation study, cited by FreightWeb, pointed out that three-fourths of trailers on the road at a given time in the U.S. are less than half full by weight, adding that these partial truckload shipments represent a major opportunity to reduce transportation waste and preventable CO2 emissions as well.
And they added that FreightWeb provides shippers with various ways to secure freight through its portal, including:
competitive prices for loads of any size tied to the dimensional/weight capacity consumed (saving shippers an average of 25% over Full Truckload-based pricing); and
timely delivery with 24-hour customer support
In an interview, FreightWeb’s Payson explained that before the company became a reality, he had long been focused on the excess space within trailers that was not utilized.
“About 20 years ago, I was walking down a shipper’s freight dock and notice almost all the trucks had air above the pallets,” he said. “That is just wrong in that many large shippers were moving air, in a sense. We started thinking about the problem then, it is complicated problem that we have been focused on for a while.”
Referring back to the U.S. DOT study, which was issued in 2010, Payson explained that it drove home the point that only a small percentage of trucks on the road are near the maximum roadway gross vehicle weight of 80,000 pounds, with most trucks filling the trailer space to capacity, or cubing out, before reaching the maximum weight limit, or weighing out.
The main driver for FreightWeb’s entrance into the market, according to Payson, is to make things really easy for shippers to solve PTL.
“It used to be that a shipper would pay for a whole truckload after spending several hours getting a quote from a broker,” he said. “We are set up to give shippers a rate quote in five minutes. They don’t have to get a full truckload. We are selling truck capacity basically by the pallet, which is how it works with most of our customers. We are now open for business and are offering shippers an ‘easy’ button, so when a shipper has half a truckload of freight, they can save 25% for an easy and reliable shipping solution that is good for the environment.”
As for its carrier base, Payson said FreightWeb is currently building out its owner/operator fleet now, with the goal that they will account for most of the company’s linehaul capacity. He also noted FreightWeb partners with national network of cartage agents made up of LTL carriers focused on pick up and delivery.
“One of our goals is to provide a relatively fast and reliable product,” he said. “Our goal is to get down to the same speed as truckload. Right now it is closer to truckload transit time plus one [day]….with 25% savings, we think that is a pretty good deal.”
And he added that looking ahead, FreightWeb has applied for a patent for a proprietary piece of technology called a pallet rack, which is a modular metal shelf that stacks pallets within a truck that puts pallets on top of pallets and fills up empty space in a trailer, as well as moves them onto and off of trucks.
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