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We recently interviewed Matt Henn, Manager of Intermodal Operations for Bison Transport, about how he and his team are using the DrayNow platform. Bison, one of Canada’s largest freight carriers, has a growing presence in the U.S. Matt works out of the company’s (Indianapolis, IN) office.

 

Q: Can you tell us a little about Bison Transport?

Bison Transport is a 50-year-old, Winnipeg, Canada-based truckload and intermodal company. We move large volumes of long-haul freight across Canada, but our presence in the U.S. has been growing rapidly on both the truckload and intermodal side. This expansion has been aided by the acquisition of Wisconsin-based trucking company, H.O. Wolding, and the purchase of the intermodal assets of Celadon Group Inc., both in April 2019. I was part of that Celadon team and actually joined Bison as part of the Celadon deal.

 

Q: When did Bison begin using DrayNow?

It was early in 2019, but only on a limited basis. Celadon, on the other hand, was a large-volume user of the DrayNow marketplace in the U.S., so we continued to use it as Bison Transport after the acquisition.

 

Q: Why were you originally attracted to DrayNow?

We certainly liked the idea of posting a load for hundreds of carriers to see, simultaneously. But honestly, what drew us to DrayNow was the platform itself – having transparent visibility to the drivers and having paperwork all in one place. There’s a portal for your ETAs, for your in and out times, for your documents…It eliminates the need to call carriers or send a bunch of emails. The information is real time and you can get it without picking up the phone. It saves time for sure, but it’s the convenience and ease of use we like the most.

 

Q: What other benefits are you seeing from the DrayNow platform?

Aside from the neatness of having everything in one place, we like being able to get a competitive price when we need it and the ability to access capacity sources we may not otherwise have known about. DrayNow’s draymen include many one and two-truck owner operators.

 

Q: How do you benefit from this large base of owner operators?

It’s back to the convenience. Our team doesn’t have time to find and contact these smaller carriers. It would be more trouble than it was worth. DrayNow has already done that legwork and made it easy for us to reach them. And it also helps us get better rates for customers.

 

Q: How so?

Let’s say I have a load going to the North side of Chicago. If my regular carriers are based on the South side, the load may be less attractive to them. Through DrayNow, I might reach a carrier based in Southern Wisconsin who needs to get home and has got his eye out for loads in this lane, which he would handle for less. DrayNow gives our load visibility among quality carriers we don’t know.

 

Q: Are you using DrayNow’s market-wide pricing intelligence to set rates?

The Marketplace can help gauge whether our prices for certain lanes are on target. If I establish a price and it comes up as being highly competitive on the Marketplace, it might indicate that I’ve set the price too high.

 

Q: So you’re using the Marketplace to help get the best rate?

Yes. Marketplaces give you real-time feedback. If I bring down the price and the load is still snapped up in 30 seconds, it could indicate that additional savings are possible.

 

Q: What do your frontline brokers like the most about DrayNow?

That it’s easy to use and they don’t have to spend time hunting down documents and answers to customer questions. Also, fairly priced loads are accepted pretty quickly, so it’s been a pretty efficient way to get loads covered.

 

Q: For IMCs and other brokers that have been hesitant to try the DrayNow platform, what would you say to them?

Well, that would depend on why they were hesitant.

  • If the concern is around getting consistent rates, DrayNow does offer locked-in rates for steady freight.
  • If the concern is getting committed capacity for certain lanes, DrayNow can work with select carriers in its network to establish guaranteed coverage, often by the same select group of drivers.
  • If the concern is simply finding reliable capacity, DrayNow typically has access to many more trucks than even the largest drayage carriers.

It’s been a beneficial tool for us, but it does require a change in process. Brokers would just need to try it and gauge for themselves.

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