Nov 21, 2020

Convoy Go: Enhancing Shipper Productivity

Supply Chain
Convoy Go
Oliver Freeman
3 min
Industry 4.0.
Convoy launches new enhancements for its marketplace with access for all...

Convoy, an American trucking software company, has very recently announced the launch of enhancements to their shipping network Convoy Go, their ‘drop & hook’ marketplace released in 2017, inherently designed to improve productivity in the shipping sector by ‘allowing any carrier or owner-operator to start hauling pre-loaded trailers - and to operate at the same level as large asset-based carriers.’ 

By utilising their ‘Universal Trailer Pool’, Convoy’s national pool of company-managed trailers which can be used by any Convoy network driver, Convoy are able to offer carriers and owner-operators a kind of ‘grand-and-go’ system, where a carrier and pick and load a pre-loaded trailer and be out on the road. 

Convoy identifies that their data shows up to a third of the cost of truck freight in the US is attributable to time spent either waiting at the dock to load or for appointments to come through. Convoy Go reportedly reduces driver wait time in facilities from an average of 3 hours to less than an hour, while also providing driver flexibility with 5 to 10-hour operating windows, by leveraging its Universal Trailer Pool. And, somehow, it’s about to get a lot better. 

So, What’s New? 

The enhancements that Convoy Go is offering go above-and-beyond with modern technology enhancements explicitly designed to streamline the process entirely, with tech such as: 

Automated Reloads and Batched Routes

  • Batched routes are designed to combine three or more runs in a single multi-stop job, through pre-established automated reloads, which provide greater efficiency and service quality 
  • Automated reloads can combine multiple drops and live loads into a single trip 

Predictive Trailer Routing 

  • A machine learning model is used to analyse billions of route permutations and utilise historical shipment data in the process, to predict several weeks in advance how many trailers customers will need across hundreds of facilities nationwide
  • Through this, Convoy Go is able to proactively route empty trailers to customers’ facilities, and draw from a wealth of data to employ the most efficient route 

Smart Trailers Powered by The Internet of Things 

  • Convoy Go trailers are now equipped with advanced telematics that provides data, which is fed to a machine learning model that analyses shipment progress, flags issues, and notifies if a course correction is necessary. 

Tito Hubert, head of product, Convoy Go, noted the unique advantages of such a system: “The complexity and associated risks of trailer management have been a blocker to other companies successfully scaling trailer pools,” he said. “Convoy uses technology to develop algorithms to scale trailer routing and manage this complexity. Our willingness to innovate in the market and lead with technology allows us to compete with asset-carrier trailer pools while expanding the availability to shippers of all sizes.”

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Jun 21, 2021

Elon Musk's Boring Co. planning wider tunnels for freight

2 min
Elon Musk’s tunnelling firm plans underground freight tunnels with shipping containers moved on “battery-powered freight carriers”, according to reports

Elon Musk’s drilling outfit The Boring Company could be shifting its focus towards subterranean freight and logistics solutions, according to reports. 

A Boring Co. pitch deck seen and shared by Bloomberg depicts plans to construct wider tunnels designed to accommodate shipping containers. 

Founded by Tesla CEO Musk in 2016, the company initially stated its mission was to offer safer, faster point-to-point transport for people, particularly in cities plagued by traffic congestion. It also planned longer tunnels to ferry passengers between popular destinations across the US. 

The Boring Co. completed its first commercial project earlier this year in April. The 1.7m tunnel system is designed to move professionals between convention centres in Las Vegas using Tesla EVs. It says the Las Vegas Convention Centre Loop can cut travel time between venues from 45 minutes to just two. 


Boring Co.'s new freight tunnels

The Boring Co.'s new tunnel designs would allow freight to be transported on purpose built platforms, labelled as “battery-powered freight carriers”. The document shows that, though the containers could technically fit within its current 12-foot tunnels, wider tunnels would be more efficient. Designs for a new tunnel, 21 feet in diameter, show that they can comfortably accommodate two containers side-by-side, with a one-foot gap between them.

The Boring Co.’s new drilling machine, dubbed Prufrock, can tunnel at a rate of one mile per week, which is six times faster than its previous machine, and is designed to ‘porpoise’ - mimicking the marine animal by ‘diving’ below ground and reemerging once the tunnel is complete. 

Tesla’s supply chain woes 

Tesla is facing its own supply chain and logistic issues. The EV manufacturer has raised the price of its vehicles, with CEO Musk confirming the incremental hike was a result of “major supply chain pressure”. Musk replied to a disgruntled Twitter user, confused as to why prices were rising while features were being removed from the cars, saying the “raw materials especially” were a big issue. 

Elon Musk Tweet

Car manufacturing continues to be one of the industries hit hardest by a global shortage in semiconductor chips. While China’s chip manufacturing levels hit an all-time high in May, and the US is proposing a 25% tax credit for chip manufacturers, demand still outstrips supply. Automakers including Volkswagen and Audi have again said they expect reduced vehicle output in the next quarter due to a lack of semiconductors, with more factory downtime likely

Top Image credit: The Boring Company / @boringcompany

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