Brokers

Brokers align with TMS providers in push for data-driven supply chains

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© Yota Nik

Amazon Freight is expanding its reach into the commercial trucking arena.

The e-commerce giant’s truckload brokerage division is partnering with transport management system (TMS) provider MercuryGate, in a move designed to funnel traffic from shippers using the TMS to Amazon Freight’s trailer fleet and its portfolio of third-party carriers.

The partnership gives MercuryGate’s clients another capacity channel to use for their non-contract loads as they can solicit quotes up to two weeks in advance of shipment.

Amazon has gradually built up its efforts to market its proprietary and dedicated trucking capacity to boost its network utilisation.

For Hannah McClellan, VP of Amazon Freight, it is the first alignment with a TMS provider, but she indicated that it wouldn’t be the last. For its part, MercuryGate has teamed up with multiple freight brokerages, including Uber Freight and Loadsmart.

Over the past year, digital brokers have turned to TMS providers to broaden their reach. According to one observer, most of them have at least one TMS partner.

Trucking software providers are also striving for wider reach through partnerships with brokers and TMS providers. This month, Cargo Chief, which offers procurement and pricing software for brokers, aligned its digital freight matching, capacity and pricing functionalities with Tai Software, a TMS that primarily targets freight brokers.

The former wants to partner with TMS providers to offer its tools to 3PLs and freight brokers, while Tai Software’s clients can use Cargo Chief’s pricing capability to forecast up-to-date rates based on recent transactions and offer high-to-low pricing suggestions.

Last month, Trucker Tools, which offers digital freight management tools for truckload carriers and brokers, integrated its platform with Freightflow, a cloud-based TMS provider that serves primarily shippers and brokers in the produce sector. Users of the TMS can now post available loads for bids from carriers on Trucker Tools that can accept a load, set up automated tracking and send electronic documents to speed up the load management and payment processes, according to Freightflow CEO Butch Peri.

Trucker Tool’s mobile driver app is used by nearly 190,000 operators, most running fleets of 10 trucks or fewer.

In March, Parade, which offers software to freight brokers, integrated its capacity management solution with the BrokerWare TMS software from 3PL Systems.

This proliferation of partnerships has been energised by the drive to supply chain digitisation and the rise of cloud-based solutions. Previously, it was difficult for shippers to get a centralised view of their freight management. With these integrations, they don’t have to switch back and forth between systems.

The push for data-driven supply chains with information flowing between multiple players is accelerating this trend. This will likely trigger further alignments as providers strive to offer comprehensive solutions.

Ultimately, this may require a supply chain orchestration platform that can cover all activities, from sales order to delivery of goods and the concluding cash collection.

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