Freight Logistics in 2021 - A Conversation with Quickload
We have all read the stories about the congested freight ports in the United States and worldwide. Covid-19 put an added strain on the freight logistics industry. We spoke with Ozan Baran from our portfolio company, Quickload, about what he and his company are doing to improve freight logistics and what they see happening in the industry this year.
What is Quickload, and what is the fundamental problem you are solving?
Quickload is a smart trucking network for innovative shipping companies. In 2015, I was a truck driver, and I saw that our trucks did not function efficiently. Truckers would deliver goods and drive back with an empty truck, which costs truckers money. Quickload connects shippers to truckers. Truckers struggle to fill their rigs, and shippers struggle to locate trusted drivers. With Quickload, shippers get their goods delivered quickly, and truckers eliminate empty miles. A win-win scenario.
We have taken this a step further and also pair shippers with shipping containers at ports.
Are there other benefits of using Quickload?
Definitely, our platform lowers trucking costs and emissions, improves utilization of drivers and equipment, and reduces port congestion.
What type of supply chain problems affects ports and moving containers on land?
The pandemic showed us the effect congestion has on ports. Right now, the U.S. is really grappling with import congestion. Increased online ordering leads to increased shipping with leads to increased congestion at ports. On the other hand, other countries are struggling to export their goods due to increased demand.
Since last summer, the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports have experienced a surge in shipping volume because manufacturers need to rebuild inventories depleted by Covid-19. As a result, retailers are waiting for goods stuck on ships at sea or at the port. You are based in Miami. Are you experiencing the same problems? If so, how is Quickload handling them?
Yes, Miami has this problem, too. It’s unlike anything we have ever seen. There is incredible congestion, and many retailers are waiting for containers stuck at the ports. We have also seen some ships mistakenly unload in the Bahamas, which causes even more delays.
Shipping costs have increased, too. Covid-19 reduced the number of truck drivers at ports, and many drivers have raised their congestion/wait fees. We have seen our shipping container costs almost double.
What are you doing to manage efficiency during this time of port congestion?
We have always tracked our cargo ships and worked with their schedules. Because of the congestions, we added weekend operations. We also started paying “late gate” fees which means we pay the port to stay open an extra hour. By moving our goods on the weekends and in those additional hours, we decrease port congestions, increase revenue and eventually optimize efficiency.
Automation is a buzzword in logistics. What are you doing to automate your business?
Currently, 15% of our software team works on automation projects. We are looking at ways to automate our efforts with ports, freight companies, and warehouses.
Looking at 2021, what trends or changes do you see happening in freight logistics?
Currently, integration is one of the biggest challenges in freight logistics. The industry anticipates 2022 to be the year technology merges into freight logistics systems. That makes 2021 the year that companies begin the process by really thinking about technology, especially how it relates to ports and containers. For example, technology will allow access to container numbers entering ports. As for Quickload, we have started to integrate our software technology with some port systems and anticipate we will work with more ports throughout the year.