- Next Trucking, a California-based drayage and freight-booking startup, announced it will expand access to its drayage marketplace for more drivers after the successful conclusion of its pilot-phase operations at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
- Next initially ran its drayage operations using its own fleet to test its Relay program where trucks engage in dual transactions, picking up and dropping off containers in a single roundtrip. According to data Next has collected, shippers saw a 167% increase in the number of containers pulled and the program allowed drivers to make shorter, more efficient trips while earning 20% to 50% more than they would usually.
- Opening up its app-based digital freight marketplace to new drivers is the next step, "enabling marketplace drivers to utilize what we’d learned, and empowering them to increase income while staying local," Next's Chief Product Officer Jim Patterson told Supply Chain Dive in an email. "For NEXT, this proof of concept with a select group of marketplace drivers validates our path to scalability for drayage."
The marketplace will open to a "select group" of drivers that have been vetted and possess the appropriate certifications for drayage operations, according to Patterson.
A key draw for drivers, in addition to having access to the marketplace app to view and book loads, is Next's focus on short routes and cutting down empty miles. An analysis from Convoy found as much as 40% of miles driven by Class 8 trucks are empty.
The pilot program focused on short distances "with fast turns and many runs per day, per driver," Patterson said. "The goal was to enable any driver to move a container just a few miles from the port, drop off the container, and then return to the port with an empty container. In this way, drivers are able to do multiple runs, while being compensated for each leg of their trip (they are never driving empty)."
The program has resulted in positive feedback from Next drivers thus far, according to Next CEO Lidia Yan. They have noted it is "important to be close to home, whether that’s to sleep in their own bed or to be around their families," she said in a press release. "Our drayage marketplace pilot proved this is an option, while increasing earnings; last month, we paid a driver more than $1,000 in a day over 850 times."