Over-the-road (OTR) for-hire truckload is an extremely competitive business. This comes as no surprise to anyone who has spent any time in the industry. It is a business defined by high fixed costs, heavy capital intensity, huge driver turnover, near-perfect competition, low barriers to entry, high commoditization and a lack of pricing power for all but the largest or most niche carriers. Combined with rising driver costs and soaring insurance inflation, sustainable growth and rising profitability are hard to come by and have proven elusive for most carriers.
As a result, a host of traditional and digital upstarts are starting to experiment with new truckload business models that attempt to strategically maneuver around or solve for these secular pressures. Today, we give an overview of three new business models in transportation that are tackling traditional industry pain points and are worthy of your attention.
First, we discuss Variant by U.S. Xpress. Variant is a digital fleet concept powered by apps, technology and artificial intelligence.
Second, we look at Haul, founded by ex-Uber Freight executives and designed to be the “Uber of freight.” Haul, a digital employment platform that connects trucking fleets with CDL drivers, is hoping to solve the wider driver retention and recruiting cost problems plaguing the industry.
And lastly, we review J.B. Hunt 360. J.B. Hunt 360 is a freight platform that is completely mode and asset agnostic and offers both shippers and carriers a flexible and holistic solution.
Our overall conclusion is that each of these concepts is making incremental inroads that will take time to fundamentally alter the landscape of the transportation industry, but all represent promising and innovative solutions. Many kinks will have to be worked out and there are plenty of roadblocks and issues that must be overcome. However, our eyes are always on the lookout for potentially transformative concepts (from public or private companies) that have a chance to revolutionize the industry in the future and each of these fits the bill.
You have selected content that's only available to members of FreightWaves Passport. As a member, you gain immediate access to the most in-depth and informative freight research available. It's your gateway to continuing education.
Members also get:
- Access to exclusive community dedicated to discussing the most important challenges facing freight.
- Monthly and Quarterly Freight Market reports keeping you informed of industry trends.
- Much, much more!
Click below to learn more and sign up today!
Existing Passport subscribers may log in using the form below.