First and foremost we want to eliminate empty back hauls (trucks returning empty after their delivery). Our current supply chains actually ship more air than they do merchandise because of empty back hauls, partially loaded trucks and excessive packaging and we’re on a mission to change that.
Partially filled trucks are the result of small shipments being transported by themselves and are usually referred to as LTL (Less Than Load). They’re also very expensive because, due to time constraints, these small shipments are often all that’s on a truck when it hits the road. This leaves an enormous amount of wasted space that could be used if other small shipments destined for the same neighbourhood could be pooled or consolidated with it.
And, even if these shipments could be consolidated, they are still only utilizing half of the available space because any pallet that is carrying merchandise stacked higher than four feet is vulnerable to toppling over in transit. An effort to stack pallets on top of each other will crush merchandise underneath so trucks are still only “partially” filled to avoid this problem. As everyone knows, transportation is a major contributor of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions which is a leading cause of climate change so, if we could completely “fill” every truck on both delivery and return trips we could cut the number of trucks on the road dramatically.
There’s another side to the supply chain referred to as reverse logistics or the reverse chain. It’s the movement of “distressed” inventory back down the chain. Distressed inventory refers to store returns, overstocks, outdated merchandise, freight damages, perishable goods, label changes, the list goes on. All this merchandise needs to find a home or it ends up in landfills and most of it still has considerable value. They used to lump all of it under the term “salvage” in the industry but are now realizing the true value of this merchandise as feed stock for other value chains (the start of a Circular Economy).
We quickly realized that this reverse chain might alleviate these empty back hauls by filling trucks with distressed inventory for their return trip but, until trucks had delivered their load, this distressed inventory just got in the way. You had to make all your deliveries and then come back to pick up the salvage. There was no efficient way to do both at the same time.
If trucking companies ditched wooden pallets and plastic wrap in exchange for the sturdy, re-usable, opaque, lockable and sealable “modules” of the Cargo Carousel System they could drop off and pick up these modules on the same trip. They could also consolidate or pool the loads of as many different small shipments as they could handle to keep their trucks full in any direction up or down their routes while alleviating the need for route optimization software. Learn more…