FreightWaves LIVE @HOME Day 3: Digitization, Diversity and Demos

A photograph of a man sitting down and facing a video camera.

Thursday was the final day of FreightWaves’ three-day-long virtual event FreightWaves LIVE @HOME. The event, which was originally scheduled to occur in Atlanta on May 5-7 but was changed to a virtual conference because of the COVID-19 pandemic, featured thought-provoking discussions, innovative company demos and interviews with many of today’s freight leaders.

Viewers could express their thoughts and observations at the event’s own Slack channel, and they could watch live versions of FreightWaves podcasts and shows, such as Fuller Speed Ahead, Put That Coffee Down, WHAT THE TRUCK?!?, FreightWaves NOW, On The Spot and #WithSONAR.

FreightWaves Founder and CEO Craig Fuller (“the Bull”) and FreightWaves Market Analyst Zach Strickland (“the Bear”) duked it out in the presentation “The Great Debate: Are Volumes on the Up and Up?” Viewers were asked on FreightWaves LIVE’s Slack channel to chime in on who they thought was the winner of the debate, which was moderated by FreightWaves President George Abernathy. Source: FreightWaves

Below are just some of the many highlights of Day 3, Thursday. Day 1 coverage can be found here, and Day 2 coverage, which includes the special recognition of Shipper of Choice Award winners, can be found here.

Freight transportation needs more women in executive roles

Companies that embrace diversity in their upper-level ranks tend to make money, and yet women make up only 15% of executives in the transportation industry. There is talent available, and the industry needs to be cognizant of that and willing to change company culture, according to panelists for “Driving Diversity.”

Panelists for the presentation on diversity in the freight transportation industry. Source: FreightWaves

“There’s a lot more we can do now,” said Luann Abrams, founder of CEOX and partner at venture capital fund Founders Pad. CEOX is an organization that seeks to connect female candidates to CEO roles. “Yes, we need to start early and start filling that pipeline earlier. Today I recommend companies need to question everything they’re doing.”

Other panelists included Tracy Black, operating partner at New Road Capital Partners and former J.B. Hunt executive, and Lori Heino, ambassador for CEOX and a former director at Daimler Trucks North America.

The presentation can be found here.

The usefulness of real-time logistics technology in the time of the coronavirus

The COVID-19 pandemic has unsettled freight markets, but using technology to address logistics needs in real time has been a huge benefit for some truckers, according to Bill Driegert, head of operations and co-founder of Uber Freight. Driegert was the speaker in the presentation titled “Responding to the Coronavirus Pandemic With Real-Time Logistics Technology.”

“When we think about the Uberization of freight, we think first about reliability, second is flexibility and third is transparency,” Driegert said.

Source: FreightWaves

The Uber Freight app, a logistics platform powered by Uber (NYSE: UBER), connects trucking companies with loads to haul. Driegert described how the app helped a shipper at the start of the pandemic get prices and move loads within hours. 

The app enables a shipper to “be confident that they’re getting a real-time capacity and a real-time price and a guarantee,” Driegert said. He also described the different stages in the freight industry’s response to the pandemic.

The presentation can be found here.

The value of insurance and data in the North American freight industry 

FreightWaves Founder and CEO Craig Fuller chatted with Loadsure Founder and CEO Johnny McCord about the benefits of having real-time, data-driven pay-as-you-go insurance as a stakeholder in the freight industry. Loadsure is a U.K.-based insurance startup offering such insurance.

Insurance can be key, especially for brokers, shippers and carriers that move large volumes of freight in the spot market daily, because it can protect insurance holders from liability as freight moves from point A to point B to point C. 

What’s also unique about the North American transportation industry is that the industry is very rich in data, which can be valuable during the underwriting process, McCord said.

“Each policy is underwritten using technology,” McCord said. “Because there is no human cost involved with it, the price is true.”

Where does the freight industry go from here?

Day 3 was action-packed with presentations from other thought leaders, including:

  • Steve Ferreria, CEO of Ocean Audit Inc., and Elaine Pofeldt, journalist and author of “The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business” (“Branding: How Your Personal Branding as an Extension of the Company You’re Working for Is Vital for Success Post COVID-19”).
  • Erik Anderson, vice president of enterprise accounts at Stratix, and Michael Vincent, co-host of WHAT THE TRUCK?!? and host of Freight Forecasting, FreightWaves (“How to Improve Fleet Performance with In-Cab Mobile Technology”).
  • John Larkin, operating partner at Clarendon Capital, and JT Engstrom, chief strategy officer, FreightWaves (“Role of Private Equity in Trucking, Logistics, and FreightTech Now”).
  • Darren Prokop, professor of logistics at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and Nate Tabak, Border and North America correspondent, FreightWaves (“Transportation and International Trade”).
  • Heather Devine, partner at Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP, and Rachel Premack, transportation reporter, Business Insider (“Cross Border Transportation of Pharmaceuticals, Like Vaccines and PPE”).
Elaine Pofeldt, journalist and author of “The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business” Source: FreightWaves

“You have to be very consistent about what you’re passionate about as you [express] your personal brand,” said Pofeldt. Personal branding doesn’t necessarily mean doing it all on social media; it can mean choosing where one does public speaking, deciding which podcasts to appear on and being selective on which outlets one shares expertise.

FreightWaves host Michael Vincent and Erik Anderson, vice president of enterprise accounts at Stratix. Source: FreightWavves

“As you start to get multiple applications running on a device … as a driver … [you say,] how am I going to pull all those applications into one and present the right data to me” at the right time, Anderson said of “avoiding app fatigue.” Stratix, a creator of client-specific enterprise mobility management systems, is developing a dashboard system that integrates drivers’ hardware with applications, and the company is working with customers who are looking to outsource their IT help desk.

Capping the day’s events were a wrap up by WHAT THE TRUCK?!? co-hosts Vincent and Dooner and a virtual icebreaker sponsored by Loadsure.