Uber-Like Solution for Farm Shipments Connects Grains to Empty Trucks

(Bloomberg) -- Indigo Ag Inc. is looking to shake up the world of agricultural freight with a platform that could energize the thousands of unused trucks sitting on farms.

The smartphone-accessible platform called Transport connects shippers to carriers and aims to fix inefficiencies in moving agricultural products around the country, the Boston-based startup said Wednesday.

Most farmers own trucks, but only use them during planting and harvest. For much of the year, that’s effectively an unused fleet sitting on farms across the country, and an asset that farmers aren’t taking full advantage of, said Chief Executive Officer David Perry.

For transportation companies, they need optimized routes so that they’re not delivering loads and driving back empty. To solve that problem, companies currently call up brokers who then eat into 20 percent of profits.

“This is good for carriers and for farmers,” Perry said. “It’s undeniably bad for the brokers, but for the transportation industry, most existing players are better off.”

The platform’s release comes at a time when the freight industry is seeing a shortage in drivers and increased costs. Putting those unused farmers’ trucks and new drivers into play could add 10 percent to 20 percent to capacity, Perry said.

The U.S. freight industry ships about 8 billion tons of goods a year, with agriculture comprising 10 percent and representing $7.5 billion in transportation fees, according to Indigo.

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