The market place understanding of “Freight Software” and where it fits into the transportation automation and process for most freight shippers.
In most commercial operations today, there is a distinction in shipping terms that describe cargo. Usually this meaning refers to parcel shipping, which is made up of containers 100 pounds and lower and freight shipments that exceed 100 pounds per container or item.
Parcel shipping is a very mature marketplace and specializes in delivering packages that are under 100 pounds and usually are in the range of 0-30 pounds so they can be easily handled without mechanical assistance. Common carriers are FedEx, UPS, and US Postal Service with 7 to 10 other regional carriers. The most common application for parcel shipping is seen by almost everyone today through internet purchases and delivery.
Freight shipping usually refers to the everything else that is heavier than 100 pounds all the way to 10s of thousands of pounds and uses many different modes of transportation to move those goods from origin to destination as follows:
- Less than Truckload – (LTL) Freight is moved over the road in the typical 18-wheeler-van vehicle commonly found on the interstate today but can be comprised of hundreds of cases of products that must be handled with mechanical devices, like a pallet jack. There are about 3,000 LTL carriers in the market today.
- Truckload – (TL) This is like the LTL vehicle, but because the trailer is completely full, terms and availability of moving the shipment are different than the LTL move and constitute different ways of hiring carriers and can involve brokers to assist in consummating a shipment together. There are over 10,000 TL carriers that operate just in the US market every day.
- Ocean – Common terminology for ocean shipments are “container” based and somewhat like the truckload terminology, where the use of full container (FC) usually a 44 foot in length and Less than Container (LTC), which may be a mix of shipments or use a smaller 20-foot container. However, the complexity of moving ocean/international shipments across international borders is much more involved when compared to the movement of goods just throughout the United States.
- Rail – Moving freight shipments on rail is usually dependent on the type of goods in transportation. Typically, heavy goods like commodities of gain, coal, oil, autos, that do not have tight time constraints and look for the lowest cost per pound per mile will use rail.
- Inter-modal – This is a common way to combine rail and truckload together to make the most efficient move through rail on the long haul and the truck for the convenience of bringing the goods to the door. In some cases, inter-modal can include an ocean container that is placed on a rail carrier for a leg and then delivered over the road by truck to the destination.So, it is easy to conclude that Freight Software will have to be much more capable and complex to move freight shipments over that of just shipping parcel packages.
Freight software usually has a planning component that is used to pre-plan shipments and may even involve “what if” scenarios that can be used to make sure the shipments are being executed with the lowest costs at the highest service level possible.
Complexities like real time spot quotes and broker quotes on ocean and rail seem to be better handled when quote requests and responses occur in near real-time because of changing shipping capacity and availability both affect the final price of the shipment.
ClearView has the capability to plan, execute, track, audit, and settle freight shipments in all modes including parcel shipments. This makes ClearView one of the few transportation management system software products in the market that can do both modes of shipping well.