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November 11 2019

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36 The Journal of Commerce | November 11 2019 www.joc.com Surface Transportation TECHNOLOGY WILL DRIVE a revolution in domestic trucking in the next de- cade as digital platforms allow brokers and drivers to eliminate wasted min- utes, maximize efficiency, and provide greater real-time insight into capacity and rates, according to Shelley Simp- son, president of highway services at J.B. Hunt Transport Services. Simpson told The Journal of Commerce's Inland Distribution Conference the shift began over the last few years, with one in five Americans primarily using smart- phones for their internet activity. "The revolution will happen because now we have technology right in the palm of our hands that will enable us to continue to move forward as transportation service providers and shippers alike," Simpson said in a keynote address at the conference. As an example of the smartphone-as-desktop trend, Simpson said she purchased her last used car on eBay, bought new clothes from Stitch Fix, and booked last-minute lodging through Airbnb within the last couple years. Approximately one-third of the available hours of service for drivers are underutilized or wasted, accord- ing to Simpson, which is why there are so many technology startups seeking to better match loads to available drivers. "We don't think there's a driver problem. We don't think the driver shortage is actually as prominent as one might think," she said. "The problem is access to information, access to understanding what capac- ity is available at any one time. We actually don't believe people will be able to hide what the capacity looks like, or hide what price looks like over the next 10 years, because that information will come to market. We will understand what happens from a transparency perspective." Not only will price and capacity information be easier to access for shippers, but so will reviews of their facilities and drivers. Dock411, for example, is an existing web service that allows drivers to rate docks and give reviews — a Yelp for the transportation industry. Shippers, however, will also be able to rate drivers in the future, similar to pop- ular ride-sharing apps Uber or Lyft. Beyond track-and-trace Technology will also make track-and-trace capability common- place. Simpson noted we can track where our pizza order is in real time; watch our Grubhub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash orders door to door; and see where our Uber or Lyft vehicle is located and when it will arrive. The location of a pallet, however, is not so easy to track, particularly in the less- than-truckload (LTL) sector, in which there are often shipments from several cargo owners in one trailer. Small owner-operators that make up a vast majority of capacity have resisted efforts to be tracked every hour of every day. Drivers on Rate Per Mile Masters, a Facebook group with more than 25,000 members, say they are worried brokers will use the infor- mation on where they are and how many hours are left on their clocks to drive down rates and gain leverage in negotiations. "The problem is that we've only Trucking | Rail | Intermodal | Air & Expedited | Distribution Technology to 'revolutionize' US trucking industry By Ari Ashe Digital trucking platforms aim to maximize efficiency and provide greater real-time insight into capacity and rates. Shutterstock.com "The revolution will happen because now we have technology right in the palm of our hands." Digital overhaul

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