Empty miles are everybody’s problem, especially now that hours-of-service (HOS) limitations under the Electronic Log Mandate (ELD) can take drivers off the roads. Shippers are attempting to address the issue by increasing visibility through tracking and tracing, but that alone isn’t enough. Winning the long game requires cohesive shipping networks that limit empty miles and keep drivers rolling—while creating mutually beneficial scenarios for shippers and carriers alike.

Reduce Empty Miles with Winning Moves

Consider these three ways to reduce empty miles and create transportation wins:

1. Continuous Move Planning. Carriers who want consistent volume can entice shippers with this approach, which involves stringing loads together to maximize fleet utilization, offset unprofitable lanes, and make the most of driver time. Bundling low-volume and high-volume lanes together, carriers aggregate lanes across multiple customers and create closed loop routes that keep freight moving consistently. And shippers receive reduced per-mile rates because they’re making use of the carrier’s empty miles.

Because continuous move planning is complex, it requires predictability and solid execution. To ensure success, carriers must:

  • Regularly analyze their lanes and network, as well as shipper data
  • Employ Transportation Management Systems (TMS) technology for seamless network control
  • Work with shippers to manage loading and unloading execution, and avoid fines
  • Communicate with drivers to factor HOS requirements into scheduling

2. Co-Loading. Essentially “ride sharing” for freight, co-loading enables companies with a common shipping profile to share space in a shipping container or truck, and then split the expenses. Products, schedules, and destinations must be compatible, of course, but under the right circumstances, the benefits of co-loading can be even greater than less-than-truckload (LTL) options. In addition to reducing empty miles, co-loading reduces transit time for drivers, lowers risks, limits carbon footprints, and saves money.

3. Private Fleets. At first glance, private fleets may seem out of reach. But the idea deserves a second look. Shippers who work with a 3PL may have opportunities to access private fleet capacity through the 3PL’s customer portfolio. As with co-loading, this option requires synergies between shippers, but the right private fleet program can limit empty miles, reduce per-mile costs, and maximize driver time. It can also lead shippers and carriers to mutually beneficial, lasting partnerships.

Creating Empty Mile Wins with Capstone

Capstone’s technology and large carrier network enables win-win scenarios for shippers and carriers every day. Matching consistent freight to dedicated capacity is just a start. The Capstone team also optimizes load and route building while identifying private fleet, looping, and continuous move opportunities for clients.

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