Redwood Blog

Find Hidden Freight Capacity in Private Fleets

If you were looking for freight capacity with a high level of consistency and reliability, one of the last sources you might look would be the private fleets of manufacturers and retailers. After all, they’re “private” and used exclusively for the asset owner, right?

Actually, according to the National Private Truck Council, nearly two-thirds of all private fleets have for-hire operating authority.

Private fleets are enormous investments when you consider the cost of the assets themselves, the maintenance, and the drivers. The line item receives careful scrutiny by board members and CFOs, who want to know the return the company is getting on these assets. As a result, private fleet managers must run their operations like profit centers, leveraging unused capacity to haul freight for other shippers.

Line of trucks. Private fleets are a valuable investment.

According to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, there are 662,544 private carriers in the U.S., compared to 408,782 for-hire carriers. And enough private fleets are hanging out the “capacity for hire” sign to make this a very interesting option for capacity-strapped transport managers.

Flexible Freight Capacity with the Reliability of an Asset-based Solution

Perhaps the most appealing aspect to tapping private fleet capacity is the ability to gain an asset-like experience without a long-term commitment of freight.

  • • You get driver consistency by capturing the backhaul on a private fleet operator’s regular outbound routes
  • • You get a higher quality of driver who makes $62,000 compared to around $43,000 in the for-hire sector
  • • You get reliable capacity since private fleet operators don’t chase spot freight during tight-capacity seasons, as your for-hire carrier might do

Why is Private Fleet Capacity “Hidden?”

Why aren’t more shippers leveraging the freight capacity of private fleets? Frankly, it’s hard. Traditional freight brokers just don’t have the tools or resources to research and capture the networks of carriers and private fleets.

The good news is that a new breed of larger, technology-driven freight brokers are creating a hybrid solution that gives shippers on-demand capacity combined with an asset-like experience. Brokers like Redwood Logistics work closely with private fleet operators to document their networks and backhaul capacity. The data is loaded into advanced freight management systems and, when new freight requests come in, the system checks for matches.