There’s an app for that.
That ubiquitous phrase now, more than ever, applies to the multi-billion trucking industry that moves goods across the United States and accounts for 69 percent of goods moved in the country.
And while trucking is suffering from a driver shortage, technology is making things easier, more efficient and more cost effective.
Mobile technology, once the province of geeks and early adopters, has now trickled down to truckers – and the ride is getting better.
The apps cover a wide variety of trucking-related topics.
Here’s a few:
Trucker Tools – The Trucker Tools app provides many features to make life for full-time and interstate truckers simpler and easier. Some of the most used features of the app include information about; the distance and direction of the nearest truck shops and rest areas; real time fuel prices; fuel optimizers; and quick info about route restrictions.
FatSecret (Calorie Counter) – It can be difficult to find healthy eating options while driving in many parts of the USA. Truck drivers are working long shifts and have tight schedules. FatSecret allows drivers to combat unhealthy eating habits. The app provides nutritional information for food found at road-side restaurants. It also lets users scan barcodes on packaged foods, giving instant counts for daily calories, fat and carbs.
FleetSafer Mobile: Reading or typing text messages while driving can be fatal. This app eliminates the desire to text, email, browse the web, or answer calls by locking phones while driving. It keeps full attention on the road where it belongs. While it’s locked, FleetSafer sends auto-reply messages for all emails and texts.
New companies emerging in the trucking app market seem to pop up every day.
Here’s a few:
TugForce – A startup technology company specializing in providing on-demand trucking services for commercial shippers, launches May 2016. Known as the 'Uber of the trucking industry,' TugForce is set to revolutionize transportation for independent truckers and small truck fleets worldwide, according to the company’s press release.
"We created TugForce to bring convenience and efficiency to the massive trucking market," said Mohammad Ahsan, founder and CEO of TugForce, "By utilizing our services, drivers will no longer have to pay middlemen and shippers will get the best prices available while eliminating brokerage fees for their shipments. It's a win-win scenario for all parties involved."
TugForce.com will provide a platform for truckers worldwide to post their availability and eliminate driving long distances with no shipments. Often times, truckers drive to a destination with a shipment, and then drive back wasting time and money. Shippers are now going to be able to capitalize from trucks done with their transportation run, and hop on their original route. At the same time, drivers will be paid for a trip they were otherwise going to have to fund.
Convoy – A start-up in Seattle founded by former Amazon employees that has created an on-demand service for local truckers, raised $16 million in a new investment round led by Greylock Partners. New investors also include Jeff Wilke, a top Amazon executive, and Kevin Systrom, the co-founder and chief executive of Instagram.
Reid Hoffman and Simon Rothman from Greylock and Hadi Partovi, a serial entrepreneur who now runs the nonprofit Code.org and who previously invested in Convoy, have joined the company’s board of directors. Last year, Convoy raised $2.5 million from a group of investors including Jeff Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon. Convoy began its service last year with the goal of giving local truckers — who specialized in jobs that could be completed in a day — a more efficient way to connect with clients who needed goods shipped.
Local trucking is a heavily fragmented industry, populated by small operators, many of them with 10 or fewer trucks. Matching truckers with clients is typically handled by brokers, who do much of their work by phone, said Dan Lewis, the chief executive of Convoy, who has worked at Amazon.
The company is operating in Oregon and Washington, and has thousands of truckers active in its network. Clients that use the service include Scotts Miracle-Gro and a division of Nucor Steel. Convoy’s revenue has been doubling every month since the company started, according to the firm’s leadership team.
Toss in electronic logbooks, GPS units and internet connectivity, and the truckers of today are staying connected in a world of new ways.