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1/15/2016 4:01:00 PM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Brokers, 3PLs Turn to Technology to Track Loads

This story appears in the Jan. 11 print edition of iTECH, a supplement to Transport Topics.

Freight brokers and third-party logistics providers have traditionally relied on manual check calls to update the status of a shipment, but are increasingly turning to tracking technology to satisfy shippers’ demands for greater visibility.

In today’s supply chain environment, timely information is crucial, said Steve Covey, executive vice president of Choptank Transport Inc., a 3PL based in Preston, Maryland.

“This isn’t the trucking business. This is the information business,” he said. “If you’re a transportation service provider and don’t have a mastery of data and information, you’re behind the curve.”

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Choptank tracks shipments with technology from MacroPoint, one of several suppliers that are part of an emerging niche in the technology sector focused on helping shippers and brokers monitor freight, regardless of the carrier.

“Brokered loads have historically had no active technical support for tracking,” said Glynn Spangenberg, a senior vice president at MacroPoint. “This generic concept of tracking a brokered load regardless of the technology in the truck is revolutionary.”

MacroPoint’s technology uses drivers’ mobile phones or electronic logging devices to automate check calls.

“It simply pings the driver’s phone and triangulates where the phone is based on the communication tower it is pinging,” Spangenberg said. “It essentially is like the broker itself that is calling, but it is happening in the background.”

MacroPoint can be used with any device that can send and receive a phone call and understands where it is geographically, he said.

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By Mindy Long
Contributing Writer

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