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JB Hunt asks Google to match carrier with shipper




JB Hunt Transport Services Inc. is competing with digital starters in the cargo matching segment and is looking to Google’s AI to improve shipper-carrier pairing.

Truckers are working with Google to develop machine learning models that use the JB Hunt 360 platform to improve shipper-carrier matching, allowing shippers to understand future supply and demand needs. , Carriers for future fuel and other shipping costs.

The company in Lowell, Arkansas launched the 360 ​​platform in 2017, purely because digital players are entering the cargo matching market. Among them is Uber Technologies Inc.

Evan Armstrong, president of supply chain market research and consulting firm Armstrong & Associates, talked about the arms competition and the freight matching market.

He said traditional player digital start-ups and technological innovations are accelerating the pace of change. Markets are turbulent, he said, and companies that don’t continue to invest in technology are lagging behind.

Stuart Scott, Chief Information Officer of JB Hunt.Photo: JB Hunt Transport Service Co., Ltd.

Shelley Simpson, Chief Commercial Officer of JB Hunts, agreed that the industry is in turmoil as consumers demand more real-time access to information. She said the partnership with Google could accelerate JB Hunt’s digital transformation.

Started in 1961 with a few trucks and trailers, JB Hunt has grown into a nearly $ 10 billion business with 30,000 employees. According to the SJ Consulting Group, the company is the second largest airline in the US truck loading market by sales.

Freight matching services have been a long-standing feature of the trucking brokerage market, which has been digitized for many years. According to Armstrong, streamlined app-driven cargo matching services are recent, some driven by new digital players.

The digital platform captures the available carrier capacity data and information about what the shipper wants to transport and automatically matches the cargo to the carrier.

In addition to JB Hunt, CH Robinson Worldwide Inc. Other traditional third-party logistics providers, such as, have developed digital platforms. Technology companies such as Optimus Prime, Parade, and Uber’s Uberfreight Unit have also entered the space, Armstrong said.

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Investment is flowing into digital players. According to the latest figures available from Armstrong & Associates, US-based digital cargo matching startups raised $ 1.37 billion in investor funding between 2011 and 2019.

Uber Freight confirmed in the fourth quarter that total bookings increased 43% year-over-year. The company says this is a positive indicator of momentum towards 2021. In the third quarter of 2020, the company announced a $ 500 million round of funding. Green Briar Equity Group LP.

Total freight trading in the JB Hunts 360 market increased from $ 1 billion in the previous year to $ 1.4 billion in 2020, the company said. JB Hunt works with the owners of about 700,000 trucks. The number of cooperating shippers will not be disclosed. In addition to the shippers and carriers signing up to use 360, JB Hunt itself utilizes the platform.

JB Hunt and Google are collaborating to bring together data from 360 and other industry data sources to build machine learning technology for greater supply chain visibility.

Sherry Simpson, Chief Commercial Officer of JB Hunt.Photo: JB Hunt Transport Service Co., Ltd.

JB Hunt has a 360 platform with Microsoft Corp as part of its contract with Google. Move from Azure Cloud Platform to Google Cloud, a Google cloud computing company, with easy access to Google’s artificial intelligence expertise in particular.

One of the first projects the two companies said they will work on is a real-time tracking and forecasting model. According to Stuart Scott, Chief Information Officer of JB Hunts, this model is built to provide both shippers and carriers with more accurate pick-up time, delivery forecasts and price data.

Part of today’s problem is the fragmentation of the driver market, with more than 3 million drivers in most countries working for smaller carriers that don’t invest much in technology, Simpson said. Told. No information about trucks and drivers is shared, and as a result, many drivers spend part of the day waiting for their next package while a nearby shipper is looking for a carrier. She said she was.

JB Hunt will work with Google to build a machine learning model that analyzes 360 data in Google’s data warehouse and looks at the overall demand for the market. Carrier capacity; truck location, destination, load capacity.

JB Hunt hopes that the first model of the collaboration will appear later this year.

Write to John McCormick at [email protected]

Copyright 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. all rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

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