Trucking and logistics industry is an ever-growing and ever-changing landscape. From old traditions to new trends, the transportation industry has it all with a ton of money. The transportation and warehousing market size in the US has already crossed $1.5 trillion.

There are many terms in the trucking industry, from Dry van drivers to Flatbed goods and Freight haulers. But today, we are going to talk about one specific term, Drop and Hook Trucking.

Drop and Hook may be a whole new term for some while the cause of boost in revenue for others. So let’s get straight to the deed with the classic ritual of versus comparison.

Live Load Vs. Drop and Hook

What’s Live Load Trucking? It’s when the driver gets to the pickup location, and then the cargo is loaded while the driver waits. This waiting period costs the shipper a detention fee for the time the cargo was being loaded.

Live loads require more coordination from the shipper’s transportation team. The incoming and outgoing loads need to be operated within scheduled appointment windows. This way one can avoid traffic of freights and time wastage of the drivers. One slip in schedule can increase driver wait time and, in turn, detention payouts.

Now to answer the question, What does drop and hook mean in trucking?

The “Drop and Hook loads” is a trucking industry practice that resolves the issues with the live loading approach. It’s a practice is when a driver delivers a container at a warehouse in exchange for an already loaded container ready for departure.

The drop hook trucking practice is not only less expensive than live loading, but it’s the preferred method for high-volume shipping operations.

Traditional Vs. Modern Drop And Hook Freight

Now that we have proved that the drop and hook freight approach is far better than live loading, let’s take the comparison a notch higher. Traditional drop and hook Vs. Modern drop and hook approach.

One of the biggest drawbacks of the traditional approach is the limited capacity it holds for small and medium carriers. When the number of freights and carriers is low, the drop and hook approach may seem a stretch as the traditional approach was built for big enterprises that possess many warehouses and freight carriers across the country.

This unintentional bias towards small and medium freight transport companies can be removed and resolved with the modern version of the drop and hook freight approach. Another issue is that the traditional approach works efficiently only when a fixed fleet of trailers moves between a limited group of facilities. So, scalability would be tricky, and a sudden surge in demand will put the system in haywire.

On the other hand, the modern drop and hook freight approach brings the big guns to solve all their problems. Advanced technologies like Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence will be used to study, analyze, and simulate your business model and operations. Based on the simulations that these systems create, you’ll be given the best operating model and freight routes to minimize costs and loading time while maximizing profits per shipment.

Why Machine Learning Is Perfect Match For Freight?

The digital execution of the drop and hook mechanism has only been made possible due to the advanced machine learning technology capabilities we are witnessing at present.

Have you heard the statement that Mac Donald’s is not actually a fast-food company but a real estate company? It’s because their focus is not on selling burgers but owning the land where people would be eager to come and hang out.

Similarly, the freight transport business doesn’t run on fuel but data. Yes, data will help you scale your freight transport business, and machine learning will help you in doing so. Most trucking companies have a standard and a quite predictive drop and hook trailer and container transport routine.

The ML system will study these patterns and weigh in other factors like fuel consumption, percentage of container full or empty, the distance between all the warehouses and various pick-up and drop points, etc. After all that, the ML-based truck app like Uber transport software will provide a plan of action and a freight transport route that will maximize asset utilization for shippers and carriers.

There are several ways by which Machine Learning will raise your business revenue and operations model. We’ll look at all of them in the next section.

How Is Machine Learning Helping Drop And Hook Freight Transport?

Machine Learning is the prime factor guiding businesses and large industries to their long-term profitability and scalability goals. If we talk specifically about the drop and hook freight transport services, there are several benefits of integrating Machine Learning in the mix, such as:

  • Precise forecasting of trailer requirements weeks in advance.
  • Routing and tracking coupled as well as decoupled trailers.
  • Cases of lost or misplaced containers become virtually zero.
  • Complete visibility into all the drop and hook loads.
  • Reduced fuel consumption and higher resource usability.
  • Efficient trailer re-balancing across warehouses.

Wish to learn more in detail about all these benefits of Machine Learning? Then, let’s get to it.

Trailer Re-balancing

A freight transport company has multiple warehouses to manage and store trailers. But, with the freight management systems, the chance of freight imbalance can be reduced to another level.

For instance, a rental bicycle service that operates for a hilly range will have an equal amount of bicycles on top and the bottom of the hill at the beginning of the day. But as the day ends, the bicycles seem to be mostly at the bottom and none at the top, as no one is interested in pushing it to the top to return it.

This is the same problem that freight companies face as some warehouses will have a lot of empty freight while others will not have enough. The traditional approach to re-balancing is that trucks take empty trailers to the warehouses where they are needed. This approach is a huge waste of time, fuel, and resources.

With Machine Learning, however, things become more interesting. These analytical beasts can calculate millions of scenarios and suggest the best one. So, the software will study all the active trucks’ routes and stops, and create an itinerary and road map making drop and hook trailer re-balancing possible in the most cost-effective way possible.

Trailer Optimization

The old school drop and hook freight transport only works for fixed variables of trailers, warehouses, and lanes. If you change any or all variables, the working goes haywire. But with Machine Learning on your side, the freight transport business can scale for any size and demand.

It is said that the computing power this technology brings to your business is massive. For instance, if there are about 2500 shipments, you wish to build a plan for and 22 alternate routes your trucks commute. The system will analyze 222500 permutations and provide the most optimized route and itinerary list for each truck that is on duty.

Fun fact, if you try to calculate just the number of combinations for 222500 on the internet, the site will give up and just say infinite. So, one could say that with Machine learning, trailer optimization occurs on a virtually infinite scale.

Automated Reloads

The drop and hook freight trucks usually have two kinds of shipment, headhaul and backhaul. The headhaul is the main shipment heading to its destination, from point A to B. Which would naturally make backhaul, the shipment that the truck makes while returning from point B to A.

An empty truck returning to point A will cost money, time, and fuel; that’s why backhaul services were started. But getting a precise backhaul order from point B to A on your choice of dates is not always possible. But what if you can get two backhauls, B to C and then C to A? That’s why automated reloads are becoming the new trend, thanks to Machine Learning.

The system will study all the shipping requests and assign vacant freights to those loads while returning. So, instead of making perhaps a 200 mile long empty backhaul, your truck could do 175 miles of loaded backhaul to point C between A and B and just 25 miles to get back to the warehouse.

Smart Trailers

Smart trailers have already been around for some time, and every freight transport enterprise that has implemented them is getting a massive return on their investment. In short, Smart trailers are IoT-enabled trailers that are connected to the system like any usual IoT device.

The smart trailer’s IoT device has unique identifiers used to transfer data to the enterprises’ network without needing human interaction. In simple terms, all the vital information like what shipment the freight is carrying, the destination, current GPS location, size and weight of the containing shipment, etc., are stored in the IoT device of the drop and hook trailer and sent directly to the over-viewing digital system of the enterprise.

Your freight transport enterprise can build an ecosystem of IoT-based smart systems with a trusted IoT solutions agency.

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The power of technology will always help the industry and the business that accepts it with open arms. Machine Learning can become your drop and hook freight service’s best decision if developed and designed smartly.

From re-balancing the trailer pool to optimizing the overall freight transport working model, you can improve and achieve any goal with Machine Learning. All you need is a transport software development agency experienced and skilled in making your custom truck dispatch software solution.

Excellent Webworld has helped several transportation-based enterprises in 10+ countries, and we can help your enterprise too. Just talk to our business representative and learn about our promising digital services.

Mayur Panchal

Article By

Mayur Panchal

Mayur is the CTO of Excellent WebWorld and a Web & Mobile App Development Company. He is updated with all the latest trends in the mobile app technology field. He writes blogs which are helpful for businesses to implement technology in the operations. You will find him swimming whenever he is free.