Today’s high trucking rates suggest that peak retail season has been upon us since summer, as the industry works hard to replenish stocks. But with e-commerce giant Amazon moving its annual Prime Day to Oct. 13 and 14, the season for holiday shopping is literally arriving 75 days early this year.
Logistics and technology providers across the industry work tirelessly to bring continuity of service to an often fragmented market — especially in drayage. The Harbor Trucking Association estimates that of the 10,000 drayage drivers in the Long Beach, California, market, 9,600 are owner-operators.
Port X Logistics was featured on Monday’s episode of WHAT THE TRUCK?!? as an asset-based logistics company that aims to digitize not only the drayage market, but also transloading and trucking. When Brian Kempisty founded Port X in 2017, he had already built and sold a company in the logistics industry and understood that the root of the drayage market’s problem is the lack of communication. He also understood that building an authentic and aspirational company culture is key to providing proactive service.
“You had to pull teeth to get information,” said Kempisty. “In starting Port X, I wanted a pleasurable experience for myself, the customer and our entire team. We work our asses off in this industry and we should be afforded a pleasurable experience across all fronts, whether it’s drivers, owner-operators, employees or customers. We hadn’t seen that in the marketplace and especially on the asset-based side.”
Adopting the right technology, Kempisty said, is key to executing better communication. Port X has partnered with Turvo, a collaborative technology that sends customers alerts when the vessel is on the water, when it berths in a port, when the container is taken off the ship, and when it becomes available to pick up.
“All of those things would be done by our customers, which are generally the larger freight forwarders in the market,” said Kempisty. “We’re taking all that off their plate. When the container gets back to our warehouse, we can post photos of the transload to Turvo. The customer in nearly real time can see the photos of their cargo being transloaded from the container to the over-the-road truck. Then the customer can see as the driver progresses along his route in real time.”
Turvo allows for visibility in one place that can be shared up and down the supply chain. While the freight forwarder controls the financials, any entity that has a stake in the shipment can seek permission from Port X and communicate within Turvo, rather than sifting through hundreds of emails that go back and forth for one shipment from LA to Dallas, for example.
“This visibility and constant communication allows our management, field crew and customers all to have the confidence that these time-sensitive shipments will be delivered as expected,” said Adam Lincoln at Timberbuilt, an energy-efficient home manufacturer. “One click on the link, and everyone, no matter location or time zone, has all the info about the shipment in one place on any device.”
If customers provide the delivery order 72 hours prior to the vessel’s arrival, Port X Logistics guarantees no demurrage fees for its customers. This allows customers and freight forwarders to have peace of mind and focus their communication on the end user without worrying about the nuances in the middle.
“Port X Logistics has consistently supplied the highest level of customer service, timeliness and visibility for my job site deliveries,” said Lincoln. “Not always do we have a lot of time to plan as there are many moving parts to coordinate in production, finishing and job site availability, but they always come through.”
When Timothy Dooner, host of FreightWaves’ popular podcast WHAT THE TRUCK?!?, asked Kempisty his hopes for the fourth quarter of 2020 and the holiday season, Kempisty predicted challenges for the West Coast port operations as they handle the high volumes of cargo.
“I think drayage and trucking rates out of LA are going to continue to be high. People are going to look for alternatives on how to avoid some of that congestion and get faster sailings from Asia. That could be using the Canadian ports of Prince Rupert and Vancouver and then trucking out of there.”
East Coast ports like Savannah, Georgia, and Norfolk, Virginia, he predicts, will grow rapidly and gain more Asian imports. To this end, Port X Logistics just opened a new operation in Savannah.