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Schneider launches first digital marketplace for bulk shippers

Aerial view of a large distribution warehouse with loading docks and many trucks.

CCJ Digital reported that freight quoting and matching – accelerated by the Covid pandemic – has long gone digital, but bulk material haulers seemingly were left behind. The idea of having platforms that will ease the process of load quoting has been something carriers have been after for years. “Whether it’s from a safety perspective, an operations perspective, there’s a lot more checks and puts and takes, if you will, that go into executing a bulk load,” said Schneider Senior Vice President of Bulk Jason Howe. “It might be the right kind of tanker, the right prep for the tank, air unload, pump unload, how am I gonna get the commodity in or out of the tank? Certainly the safety data sheet – the commodity I’m hauling – what the safety is involved there. There’s a complexity that maybe has driven bulk in the past to remain more on the manual side.”

There’s also the fact that the bulk industry is dominated by private carriers, and beyond the top ten for-hire players, it “gets really small, really fast,” according to Howe. Schneider (CCJ Top 250, No. 9), one of only a few large carriers with bulk capacity, which it has provided for more than 50 years, launched a first-of-its-kind digital marketplace in August, providing bulk shippers with 24/7 visibility.

Schneider’s FreightPower marketplace, which launched in 2020, leverages the strength of the company’s pool of more than 11,000 trucks and 37,000 trailers to provide shippers with access to capacity. Schneider expanded its FreightPower technology and added “a few more steps that a shipper has to take, and a few more questions that they have to answer – or let’s say boxes that they have to check” to extend digital marketplace capabilities to its bulk customers, according to Howe.

Once registered shipper customers have chosen their product type, Green Bay, Wisconsin-based Schneider uploads the Safety Data Sheet and distributes it to its team, “and we do one last cursory review,” Howe explained. “So there’s still that initial payment. There is still that validation. So we get the very specific commodity information that comes through there, and as it flows into our system, the shipper receives an email confirmation of the order.”  The shipper then can track the load throughout the process with the ability to set up notifications.

Extending digital quoting and booking, according to Howe, also allows Schneider to pursue a larger share of the business of some of their most diverse customers. According to Howe, there is also an opportunity to attract new business by creating efficiencies in a previously mundane and manual process