Industry Insights & News

Three Ways to Address Empty Miles to Help the Environment and Gain Efficiency

July 27, 2022

There are clearly no benefits for any party, shippers or carriers, when a truck is deadheading. It is estimated that 35% of the trucks over the road today are running empty. As a result, those empty trucks account for an estimated 72 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent emissions yearly. Let’s talk about three ways that companies can reduce empty mileage or benefit from doing so:

Direct Communication Between Shippers and Carriers

Building relationships between shippers and carriers is a great way to tender lanes that work best for everyone. To ensure that these relationships can be created and managed effectively, it is important for both parties to communicate directly with each other. When carriers are running loads with short deadheads and these loads make sense for their business, they have more opportunity to offer great customer service. In turn, shippers are able to find better rates on trucks when they are working with carriers on lanes that fit the carrier’s operation. Not only are these companies potentially reducing emissions by cutting down on their deadhead miles to pick up freight, but they are also building mutually beneficial relationships. 

Utilizing Freight Procurement Technology

Empty backhaul mileage is costly and detrimental to the environment with the added unnecessary emissions. By successfully utilizing freight procurement platforms carriers have the ability to book a backhaul before the truck runs the original lane. Having access to a wide variety of lanes exponentially reduces the chances of having to run an empty backhaul. Whether you are trying to get back home or make your way to a busier market, technology platforms exist to help you stay loaded throughout the process. Carriers are able to reduce empty miles this way while shippers are able to find the best truck for their cargo.

Integrating Visibility Tools

The use of carbon reducing technologies saves operational bandwidth for companies. This allows for the focus of business efforts to be shifted to other pressing matters. Visibility is crucial in understanding where your company stands logistically, from a data analysis standpoint, as well as recording environmental impact. Not only can visibility tools help you geographically track your shipments or calculate your on-time pick percentage, but you can also use these platforms to benchmark other important factors such as yearly deadhead, empty mileage on backhauls, and overall environmental impact. Without having insight into your environmental impact and tracking it makes it hard to know exactly where you can make a change. Visibility platforms give you the opportunity to do so, as well as improve on your sustainability measures. 

Empty miles have a detrimental environmental impact, that is apparent. As we have highlighted in this blog, there are ways to reduce empty miles by using tools available to anyone in the market today. Not only can the industry feel better about choosing the most optimal carriers for every lane from a sustainability standpoint, but their company can also reap many other benefits from reducing empty miles. 

This blog was written by Emerge interns, Michael Jada, a student at Arizona State University , and Ethan Clark, a student at the University of Arkansas.

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