The Nation's Leading
Digital Freight Network

What is a digital freight network?

A digital freight network is an open, fully connected freight marketplace that uses machine learning, automation, and other software services to efficiently connect shippers and carriers. By design, as shipment volume increases across the network, trucks are better utilized, costs come down, and technology adoption goes up, leading to better prices and higher quality of service.

Solving decades-old problems of inefficiency in freight requires a new approach, one that starts with technology at its core. In 2015, Convoy started the world’s first digital freight network.

How does a digital freight network work?

A digital freight network uses machine learning and automation to efficiently connect shippers and carriers. As the marketplace grows, it creates a flywheel effect that benefits both sides. As more shippers join the network, drivers have better options, fewer empty miles, and fewer wasted hours, allowing them to earn more per day. As more carriers join the network, capacity increases and shippers see lower costs and higher service quality.

Benefits of a digital freight network

Lower shipping costs through automation

The average brokerage fee ranges from 15% to 20%, with a high degree of variability between each load. Brokerage success is built around capturing the highest possible margin on every load booked, so they often negotiate one deal at a time within their limited carrier set. Brokers need to charge this fee because their work is traditionally manual and labor-intensive. The “rip of the day” is celebrated as the biggest spread, and does the best job of maximizing what the shipper pays while minimizing what the driver makes.

A digital freight network automates the matching, pricing, and scheduling of trucks to shipments, drastically reducing the cost structure and the time it takes to find the most efficient truck for every load. Matching and pricing is the heart of the network, and shifting this from human-driven to a machine-driven process sets the foundation for all subsequent innovation.

Increased carrier earnings through more efficient routes

Traditionally, load matching to a truck is done one shipment at a time. This puts the burden on carriers to search across many brokers or load boards to fill up their schedule, often resulting in inefficient routes. On average, 35% of all miles truck drivers run are empty, and trucks spend hours waiting for poorly aligned appointments. This waste drives costs up for the carriers and ultimately gets passed on to the shippers. Of all the problems in trucking, this one is the most classic computer and data science problem.

A digital freight network automatically evaluates billions of load combinations to determine the ideal way to combine shipments. This results not only in less effort by truck drivers, but substantially more efficient routes, increasing earnings for drivers.

Increased efficiency by opening access to freight

There are about 3 million trucks and 1 million carriers in the US. To keep their trucks full, these carriers maintain relationships with multiple brokers in an attempt to get visibility into more loads. No matter how hard they try, most carriers see only a fraction of all available freight at any given time. This is compounded by the fact that more than half of all shipments are drop-and-hook. These loads have traditionally only been available to the few, large asset-based carriers who can afford to manage the massive trailer pools required for these operations.

A digital freight network democratizes access to freight, ensuring all loads are available to all carriers at all times, so the most efficient option is always available. Being able to match any truck to any shipment creates a more efficient network.

Real-time planning capability

Today, scheduling loads and planning the carrier’s week are static operations set ahead of time. But the real world is dynamic, with changing weather, traffic, breakdowns, varying hours of service, and unpredictable loading times. A delay at one facility can lead a carrier to miss their next load.

A digital freight network is constantly looking for ways to re-optimize. It automatically adjusts for changing conditions and unforeseen events to maximize efficiency and prevent waste. It is resilient to even the most unusual events (looking at you, 2020).

Transparent supply chain insights

Many shippers lose visibility of their freight as soon as it leaves the dock. Accessorials are incurred without the ability to identify the root cause. Operational issues often go unnoticed without a process for identifying patterns in problematic facilities. Key performance metrics including on-time pickup and on-time delivery are frequently inaccurate due to manual reporting. And carbon emissions go unmeasured and unchecked. The result? Millions of dollars in wasted shipper spend, increased truck costs due to driver dissatisfaction, and more wasted empty miles.

A digital freight network collects thousands of disparate data points and intelligently connects the dots to provide transparent visibility into freight operations.

By providing transparency and insights into every step of the shipment lifecycle, shippers benefit from lower costs, reduced waste, and higher carrier loyalty.

Watch how a digital freight network works

The Convoy digital freight network

We are at a pivotal moment in freight. Smartphones are in the vast majority of trucks, automation and machine learning capabilities are being deployed at scale, and companies of every size are trying to optimize their supply chains to improve their bottom line and reduce their carbon footprint.

This unique mix creates a very real opportunity to transform the decades-old business of moving freight with new and innovative approaches.   

Today, Convoy is leading that transformation with the most efficient digital freight network in the industry. 

The foundation of our network is an open and fully connected marketplace of shippers and carriers driven via automation and supported by a broad, ever-growing set of shipper and carrier capabilities.

That fully connected marketplace grows through the momentum of our flywheel. As more shippers join the network, drivers have better options, fewer empty miles, and fewer wasted hours, allowing them to earn more per day. As more carriers join the network, capacity increases and shippers see lower prices per mile and higher quality. In addition, as the network grows, insights emerge from the data that help shippers and carriers improve their businesses.

Join the leading digital freight network