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March 27 2023

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20 Journal of Commerce | March 27, 2023 www.joc.com Guide to Warehousing and Industrial Real Estate Special Report more ecient to release empties into a marketplace," rather than automatically returning empty boxes to the port, he said. Qualle is currently connected to six liner carriers on the US West Coast and four in other markets, none of which the company can publicly disclose, Sellers said. The funding revealed in early March has been used to build up connections with carriers and drive drayage providers to use both the street turn product and pro- vide empties to the marketplace. "Sending drivers into the ports to grab empties...should not happen in a country that imports far more than they export," Sellers said in a statement. "There are more than enough empty import containers on the streets to match with export freight. You just need to connect the dots. Our goal is to get empty containers out of the hands of those who do not need them and into the hands of those who do." Qualle has more than 500 truck- ing companies signed up to the plat- form, with more than 50 percent of them "active users," Sellers said. Lisa Wan, director of operations at Carson, California-based drayage carrier RoadEx America, said in the statement that Qualle provides "a centralized platform for truckers to exchange empties with fellow truck- ers, which eliminates the traditional blast emails or group messages and creates visibility and records of all actions." JOC email: eric.johnson@spglobal.com twitter: @LogTechEric being street turned. Several existing platforms, notably Aventida and Matchback Systems, have provided mechanisms to facilitate those equipment interchanges, but a web of regulatory and commercial constraints has prevented the con- cept from achieving scale, despite numerous attempts over the past two decades. Qualle provides both a platform to enable street turns and an empty container marketplace for exporters looking to find equipment. "Around 8 to 10 percent of trucking companies we reach out to are street turning," said Sellers, who previously worked at short- haul drayage broker and technology provider Cargomatic. "But the ones who aren't can still use our empty container marketplace." Building connections Sellers said there will never be an export match for every empty import box, especially if, for exam- ple, an intermodal marketing com- pany has hundreds of empties in a particular market. "Even if we know there will never be a match for every box, the [drayage] companies still know it's QUALLE, A PROVIDER of "matchback" technology based in Nashville, plans to expand from the six US cities it currently serves to every North American container gateway by the end of 2023. Founded in May 2022, Qualle said in early March the expansion is being enabled by an early stage $1.5 million investment it landed last summer. Qualle CEO Tyler Sellers told the Journal of Commerce the plan is to broaden the company's reach from Los Angeles, Long Beach, New York, Savannah, Houston, and Memphis to every US and Canadian port by the end of the year. Matchbacks, also called "street turns," occur when an empty import box is filled with an export shipment outside a port or oš-dock facility. Street turns are seen as a way to better utilize drayage capacity, reduce trac in container hubs, and cut down on emissions associated with the return of empty containers to ports. But solving the challenge of matching empty import boxes to exporters needing a container has been largely elusive, with fewer than 5 percent of empty imports Match point US matchback tech startup aims to expand throughout North America By Eric Johnson "Even if there will never be a match for every box...it's more e€icient to release empties into a marketplace." Qualle is using a $1.5 million investment from 2022 to fund its North American expansion. Shutterstock.com

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