Following on from a year like no other, 2022 is a very different, and somewhat uncertain, landscape for the transport industry. Rebecca Platts, DigiHaul's Carrier Engagement Director, explains how getting to know carriers and shippers better can unlock value and help smooth the bumps in the road ahead.

After the world emerged from lockdown, transport requirements skyrocketed. That, combined with the impact of Brexit and the driver shortage, was a huge disruption right across the industry.

We anticipated that there would be a capacity shortage around at the end of 2021 so we pre-procured traction shifts in key areas that our shippers needed during the peak season.

But this year the market is levelling out, with more demand for FTLs and lane rate requirements. Some shippers have also started their own driver recruitment campaigns, this is a slow process but we are starting to see a slight decrease in the sub-contraction market.

With the rise in inflation and the cost of living, we’re seeing a contraction in the retail market as consumers are spending less. And, of course, higher fuel prices are having a massive impact on carriers, particularly where they have fixed rates.

What can we do to mitigate these challenges?

As a business, we’re focused on putting more of our work on marketplace, enabling greater visibility across our network. We’ve launched live offers to enable carriers to choose the loads they want at a price that works for them.

We’re getting to know our carrier partners better which means we’re able to categorise them and find the right work for businesses of all sizes with a range of different vehicles. For example, if a single owner-operator business in a niche area of the country has built up a strong history with our shippers with a good level of transparency, we can spot suitable orders for them when they come in.

Although there is still a great deal of uncertainty in the market, we’re definitely seeing a shift from lack of supply to lack of demand. To help our carrier partners, we’re spreading the volume of work as much as possible across our portfolio.

We can’t control the ebbs and flows of the market, but what we can do is give as much visibility as possible to our carriers to help them find the best balance of work and make the best decisions for their business.

We’re also supporting our carrier partners by adjusting our baseline fuel rate to offset some of the extra fuel costs they are incurring. And we’re offering those who have a carrier rate agreement fuel hedging opportunities – purchasing larger amounts of fuel at a lower cost – through our ecosystem package.

One of our ongoing strategies is to continue to build strong relationships with our shippers and understand what their needs are. This helps us forecast better so we can communicate that with our carriers.

Using data insights to add value

In terms of short-term benefits of having greater visibility within our network, we’re focused on improving our level of self-service for our carriers. This includes launching a user-friendly dashboard on our Carrier Web which clearly highlights any outstanding actions.

We’re also increasing our transparency so carriers can see the tangible data that we’re collecting from them – such as prices, collection and delivery times and the whereabouts of an order. This day-to-day operations data helps our Service Delivery team offer the best possible service to our shippers.

In the background, we’re using this data to introduce longer term value such as benchmarking our prices so that we’re being fair to both our carrier partners and our shippers, and identifying opportunities for backhaul matching to reduce empty miles.

We’re always developing our technology to improve the user experience – our updated driver app will be released later this year. We’re simplifying the login process for drivers, enabling GPS when the app is running and setting reminders to take the onus off drivers for remembering to log each stage of a delivery.

Building close relationships with our carrier partners means that we’ve been able to listen to their feedback and use this to keep improving our service.

Our carriers often tell us what they like most about DigiHaul is not just our technology but the people behind it – there’s always someone here they can talk to, always someone to help resolve any problems if they crop up.

Read our case study from Director of JHL Transport, Vee Kaur Bal.


Join us at our next carrier event

Our next carrier event is in September 2022, our biggest event so far. Attendees can expect to hear industry insights from guest speakers, we’ll be sharing details about our app and service transparency and it will be a great opportunity to meet our team and network.


To find out more about our next carrier event or request a demo of our app, contact our Carrier Engagement team.


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