US trucking industry on the verge of freight-tech revolution

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(C) Julian Peters For those of us outside, the size of North America’s haulage sector never ceases to amaze – it is currently worth £875bn a year, involves around 2m trucking operators serviced by more than 17,000 freight brokerage firms. But an inventory glut combined with fears that consumer demand may be falling is leading to a weaker freight rate environment and ousting many under-pressure participants.

And none more so than in the freight brokerage segment, according to this Bloomberg report, which suggests smaller brokers that have failed to invest in new technology may be particularly vulnerable to the triple threat of the big incumbents that heavily invested in transaction and quotation tech, Silicon Valley-based start-ups and larger hauliers developing tech-enabled brokerages themselves.

“The brokerage battlefield is pitting legacy brokers, such as CH Robinson and RXO that are expanding automated systems, against digitally native newcomers, such as Uber’s freight unit and Convoy.

Large trucking companies, including JB Hunt and Werner Enterprises, are adding more competition by building their own digital brokerages.”