May 15, 2018
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FRISCO, Texas — Truck capacity and how technology can help locate it were constant topics of discussion at the Transplace Shipper Symposium here last week. When it came to rate hikes, the questions were how high they might go and how long they would last. Shippers are moving past sticker shock and looking for ways to regain some control over transportation costs. Trucking executives say they have their own problems with tight capacity and rising costs.
The following observations, quotes and insights, from the three-day symposium highlight what’s on US shippers’ minds this spring as they look toward the fall peak shipping season.
At the moment, shippers want visibility technology to locate their freight. Shortly, however, they will demand technology that can locate truck capacity. The boundaries of visibility solutions will be extended to predict where shippers will find capacity and help them secure it before they need it, speakers at the symposium said. The question shippers are asking is “if you see the freight, can’t you let me know where there’s carrier capacity available?” said Mike Dieter, chief technology officer at Transplace.
Artificial intelligence or AI, coupled with machine learning, is key to building “predictive” systems that will not only help shippers find capacity but protect them from sudden price swings and better manage transportation costs, Dieter said. “The idea is to use AI to predict better pricing. We want to predict that if we get a load off the West Coast that a carrier will pick it up with a certain service level at a given price.” That means applying AI and machine learning across Transplace’s 30-terabyte database.
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