Emerge’s truckload RFP platform brings more capacity to shippers

Scottsdale, Arizona-based freight technology provider Emerge is little more than a year old and it has already attracted hundreds of the nation’s truckload and less-than-truckload shippers to its cloud-based freight rate contract optimization platform.

Emerge, which was started by brothers Andrew and Michael Leto, set out to break down traditional barriers to how shippers find reliable truck capacity at competitive rates.

“We want to change the way shippers procure their freight transportation,” said Andrew Leto, founder of Emerge, in an interview.

The Leto brothers understand the intersection between freight and technology, having developed one of the country’s largest software-driven, third-party logistics companies, GlobalTranz in the early 2000s. After selling GlobalTranz in 2016, they created freight tracking software company 10-4 systems, which they sold to Trimble (NASDAQ: TRMB) in September 2017.

Andrew Leto said he and his brother could have retired. “Challenge is what draws me,” he said.

At FreightWaves LIVE Chicago on Nov. 13, Emerge took 19th place among the coveted 2020 FreightTech 25 awards that were announced at FreightWaves LIVE Chicago on Nov. 13. The company was selected from among 100 freight technology companies by shippers, carriers and third-party logistics services providers as an industry innovator.

Emerge describes itself as “a private marketplace connecting shippers to direct carrier rates, reducing operational costs and helping to improve service on everything from quote to delivery.”

Through Emerge, shippers essentially create their own cloud-based load boards, which not only allows them to manage contract rates with their top 20 to 50 freight brokers and carriers but opens them to a world of potentially thousands of smaller carriers with 20 trucks or more scattered throughout the country, Andrew Leto said.

“We replace the spreadsheets and emails that have been traditionally used by shippers to bid for their truck capacity,” he said.

“With spreadsheets and emails, lots gets lost in the mix because you limit the number of carriers and brokers that you can do business with,” he added.

Andrew Leto noted that even existing online load board tools still limit the number of carriers and brokers to 99 that can potentially bid for a shipper’s freight.

“We allow the shipper to bring in all their incumbent carriers and brokers into the marketplace,” Andrew Leto said. “This is actually our number one value proposition.”

So far, about 275 shippers have signed on to the Emerge platform. The larger shippers tend to integrate with the platform through their existing transportation management systems (TMS). “We’re complimenting the shippers’ TMS,” he said.

“Emerge has been a game changer for Parker,” said Joe Bocian, director of logistics and transportation at Parker Hannifin Corp. (NYSE: PH), a Cleveland-based motion and control technologies manufacturer. “The setup and practicality have enabled our divisions to implement the tool quickly and obtain capacity at very fair prices.”  

Bocan continued, “We are confident Emerge will continue to expand its capabilities, helping us further optimize our logistics. We are fortunate to have discovered this platform and look forward to a growing partnership.”

Denver-based insulation products manufacturer Johns Manville is not currently using Emerge technology, but the company said it is evaluating the platform for possible future use.

“We look forward to learning more about the technology Emerge is bringing to the industry,” said Laura Fisher, director of logistics in Johns Manville’s Global Procurement and Logistics Group. “Its value proposition, to secure high-performing carriers at optimal cost, closely aligns with our objectives. The technology could create value for carriers alike in reducing empty miles and increasing equipment utilization.”

Emerge also offers a breadth of truck capacity and rate tracking tools within its platform that effectively allow smaller shippers to have TMS-like functionality. It allows shippers to generate detailed reports and analytics around their truck lanes.

The company estimates that it now has about $1 billion in freight moving through its platform, and with an estimated $300 billion in the total marketplace has plenty of room to grow, Andrew Leto said.