Skip to main navigation Skip to content

At most intermodal marketing companies, frontline employees spend a good part of each week calling drayage companies to arrange moves to and from rail yards.

But when did IMCs become operations owners? Having to call dray carriers for coverage is time consuming and takes away from the true purpose of an intermodal freight broker: to market intermodal to their customers and book more loads.

Though at one time this may have been necessary, there’s a fix for these inefficiencies in the digital age. They’re called marketplaces, and this technology enables a direct connection between intermodal supply and demand.

On the DrayNow marketplace, brokers post their load, and with an average time on marketplace of 10 minutes, it will be in the hands of a carrier in no time. Brokers can track progress on the platform, from load acceptance to final delivery. Fast, easy and, most of all, efficient.

Why should the intermodal industry embrace the marketplace model?

Freight brokers should embrace marketplaces for sourcing dray capacity for several reasons:

  • Improve productivity. We’ve heard from our own customers that using DrayNow eliminates the time and energy spent to find capacity and get all of the necessary documents from each trip. IMCs don’t have to spend hours each week on manual tasks that could be avoided using the automation of a digital marketplace.
  • Improve shipper satisfaction. The efficiency of your customers’ supply chains depends on everyone showing up on time. Shippers need accurate ETAs on shipments. Without technology, brokers would have to track down carriers and get a subjective ETA that may or may not be accurate. It doesn’t need to be this way. With DrayNow, drivers use the app to update location data and documents in real time.
  • Access untapped capacity. There are a limited number of larger, asset-based drayage companies. DrayNow’s core base of carriers are smaller owner-operators who have shifted from long-haul to intermodal. That’s untapped capacity ready to haul your freight.
  • Get a competitive price. Prices do fluctuate on marketplaces due to constant shifts in supply and demand. This is also true of the industry as a whole, where the minimum price to get a carrier on the road could change by the day. With the TRUprice tool, DrayNow provides instant feedback on rates based on real-time marketplace conditions.

Barriers to marketplace usage

Despite the advantages of marketplaces, actually accepting and adapting them can be a slow process. IMCs have long-standing relationships with drayage companies and the manual ways they have of working with these carriers are well entrenched.

One complaint from brokers about marketplaces is having to leave their TMS to enter loads – an extra step. That doesn’t have to be the case! Through electronic data interchange (EDI), IMCs can integrate their TMS with the DrayNow platform and still get access to all of our features.

There may also be some concern over getting technical support if something goes awry. Who does the broker turn to for help? Behind the DrayNow marketplace is a group of dedicated operations experts making sure everything is running smoothly. And support can be reached right in the platform so that IMCs can get solutions as quick as possible.
As you can see, the marketplace model is adaptive to the needs of the user rather than requiring a substantial change in procedure.

Change is not optional for the intermodal freight industry

What’s playing out in the intermodal freight industry today is the classic historical battle: Inertia vs. Change.

Inertia is a powerful force, particularly when processes have been in place for decades. Intermodal has historically been slow to adapt to new solutions. Shipper demand for efficiency and data transparency will force change. New technologies are available in other freight markets, like OTR, and intermodal should be no different.

Moving forward, IMCs should consider when they are going to incorporate new intermodal technologies and how they are going to go about implementation, like using DrayNow as their digital solution.

In the battle between Inertia and Change, Change usually wins. Companies just jump on at different times.

For intermodal freight brokers, that time has come.

Sign Up

Shipping Freight? Get our new E-book.

Download our free e-book "Is there a future for Intermodal Marketing Companies?" and get DrayNow updates delivered straight to your inbox.