Why We Invested In Loadsmart’s $90M Series C: Sune Stilling of Maersk

Loadsmart announced a $90 million round in mid-November led by BlackRock, Inc.’s managed funds and included prominent strategic investors from the transportation space such as TFI International Inc. (NYSE and TSX: TFII), a North American leader in the transportation and logistics industry, and Maersk, the world’s leading ocean carrier and a Loadsmart investor since Series A.

The two questions you receive more than any others when you raise $90M are: why did they invest and what are you going to do with the money?

Our investors speak for themselves so we thought we’d let them do just that. We talked to Sune Stilling, Head of Growth at Maersk, Richard Perry, Founder at Perry Capital, William Abecassis, Head of Innovation Capital at Blackrock, and Andy Boyd, Founder at Bramalea Partners to discuss why they participated in the round and what they’re most excited to see Loadsmart accomplish with their investment.

Sune Stilling, Head of Growth at Maersk

Aaron: What do you look for in a company when you invest. What are those one or two things a company must have in order to move on an investment?

Sune: A lot of companies out there on the surface look extremely tech forward, but they actually haven’t solved the fundamental industry problems. They don’t drive efficiencies, they don’t drive scale, they don’t drive customer satisfaction. Essentially it’s a pretty web page, but with all the same problems as the incumbent players

We want to invest in companies and in people that are addressing real problems. We don’t want to invest in problems looking for solutions. Loadsmart addresses a real problem and also actually sustainably addresses it and makes some of the friction in the industry go away.

But one of the things we really really liked about Loadsmart back then and still like is Loadsmart is playing the long game. I think again there are a lot of companies in freight tech or in the broader log tech industry that are taking VC money or taking venture capital and using that to subsidize customers. And again anyone can deliver growth that way.

Aaron: What does the world or the supply chain look like when Loadsmart is able to maximize the investment we’ve received from our strategic partners?

Sune: The company is growing, it’s growing rapidly, but it’s growing profitability. And this has been achieved through a deliberate approach over the last five years. The way that Ricardo spoke about this when I first met him, he spoke about wiring up the pipes. First you wire up the demand side then you wire up the supply side and once you’ve actually done that you can more or less scale into infinity, right?

Learn More About Our Series C

Our announcement was covered in the Wall Street Journal, FreightWaves, TechCrunch, and VentureBeat, among others.

Loadsmart’s suite of investors now includes the largest ocean carrier in the world, the largest port terminal operator in the U.S. and one of the largest transportation and logistics companies in North America. The proceeds of the Series C round will allow Loadsmart to better serve shippers through doubling down on the tools to deliver excellent operational performance, as well as an expansion of value-added services like mode optimization, price transparency and data insights on supply chain optimization opportunities.

Loadsmart First Look Weekly Market Recap: Nov 24 – Nov 30

This is a weekly series that brings the insights we use to get your shipments from A to B from our carrier sales floor to your home office.

This week Loadsmart’s Direct of Carrier Sales, Jordan Abrams, breaks down what happened last week and what to expect this week in the freight market in less than 60 seconds.

What We Saw Last Week

  • The holiday week brought record volumes and continued rejection increases. 
  • Rejections sat 20 plus points higher than this time last year! 
  • Limited capacity continued to pressure rate to even higher levels
  • National rejections reached an all time high of over 28%. Lead by reefer rejections hitting 49%
Read More »

Loadsmart’s 2020 Freeway Front Liners: ACT Transport

As we approach the season of giving and end of year reflection, one aspect of our business kept coming up: our truck drivers. So, we’re giving recognition to three carriers that have gone above and beyond and reflecting on their contribution to our business, supply chain, and country.

One of the silver linings of the pandemic is trucking being recognized as an essential business, playing a key role in getting product to the American people when they are stuck at home. As with other essential businesses, the people who drive them forward are Essential Workers, also known as Front Liners.

We thought it was fitting to recognize our very best truck drivers and carrier partners as exactly that: Front Liners. But, their front line is a little different than the typical: the freeways all across this country.

Loadsmart’s Freeway Front Liners

Our operations teams judged nearly 20,000 carriers who have moved a load with us in 2020 on a combination of Total Loads Moved and Service Metrics, most notably On-Time Delivery and On-Time Pick-up. From those 20,000 carriers the team unanimously came to three—hailed as Loadsmart’s 2020 Freeway Front Liners.

ACT Transport

ACT Transport, a small-fleet based in Columbus Ohio Market was an obvious choice. ACT’s 96.69% On-Time Delivery and 91.06% On-Time Pick-up across 552 loads would be considered exceptional in any landscape, but even more so when you consider most of these loads were moved during a national lockdown. And yet, when Joe Burks, Owner, was complimented on his service, he said “I’m not happy with 96%, I’m happy with 100%, so we’ve got work to do.”

With this attitude, it is no surprise that Joe just bought his 20th truck a few months ago, which brings ACT to 43 trailers, despite getting hit hard by the pandemic in March when he had to decontaminate his equipment.

His key to success? “Getting lanes that match what our drivers are doing.”
90% of the lanes ACT runs are within 150 air mile radius so it’s essential that they find lanes within those parameters so Joe can ” get the drivers home to their families because after all that’s why we’re working—for our families.”

We could not be happier to be able to provide consistent, daily freight that pays good to support ACT’s growth this year and to help him get his drivers home to their families.

Become A Loadsmart Carrier

We pride ourselves on our exceptional service, and the only way we can provide exceptional service is by working with exceptional carriers. We know these kinds of carriers can choose their customers, especially in the current landscape when capacity is tight. That’s why we go above and beyond to create lasting partnerships with our carriers.

Sign up today, and start building relationships like we’ve built with Joe Burks and the whole ACT family.

Loadsmart First Look Weekly Market Recap: Nov 17 – Nov 23

This is a weekly series that brings the insights we use to get your shipments from A to B from our carrier sales floor to your home office.

This week Loadsmart’s Capacity Solutions Manager, Jimmy Fahey, breaks down what happened last week and what to expect this week in the freight market in less than 60 seconds.

What We Saw Last Week

  • Last week we saw releases for industrial production, retail sales, and housing starts. 
    • Industrial production moved up 1.1% for the month, but is down 5.3% YoY. This shows some momentum building for manufacturing
    • Retail sales were positive for the month with a modest 0.3% gain, but the pace is slowing. Overall sales are still 8.5% above last year’s levels, but slowing as well and may continue to due so with the increase in COVID-19 cases, the lack of stimulus, and the possibility of more restrictions being put into place.
    • Housing starts were robust, up nearly 5% for the month and hitting levels not seen since 2017. Growth in single family homes lead the charge and builders are struggling to keep up with demand. 
    • The Cass Freight Index was released last week and showing its first YoY shipments increase in nearly two years during October. Shipments climbed 2.4% during the month with expenditures rising 3.1%. This shows the highest YoY growth since Oct. 2018 and 27.8% above the April bottom. Analysts expect this to continue through year-end, while analysts point to lean inventories as a catalyst for future growth. Stifel analyst David Ross expects the linehaul rate index to improve in the coming quarters as contracts are renegotiated higher. More rate increases are ahead for carriers in Q420 and 2021, but the debate is how high they will go, as increases between 6-12% have been mentioned.
    • The Federal Maritime Commission, the US Agency that regulates ocean commerce, announced an investigation on Friday into the practices of foreign-owned shipping carriers. US Exporters and truckers have complained that they often face disadvantages at the ports. The US agricultural has long complained that foreign carriers are rejecting their exports in favor of sending back empty containers to be filled with Chinese goods. The carrier’s reasoning behind the refusal is driven by money and the lack of containers needed to move Chinese exports around the world. 
      • US ag exports are cheaper to move and take longer to offload, while carriers can turn a larger profit by sending empties back to China and filling them with Chinese exports along the lucrative trans-Pacific waterway.
      • The Harbor Trucking Association has said that community in Southern California has paid over $100 million in penalties this year and that the carriers have created the perfect scenario to profit from inefficiencies.
Read More »

[NEWS] Digital Freight Platform Loadsmart Raises $90M in Series C Funding Round Led by BlackRock’s Managed Funds

Strategic Investors Include Maersk and TFI International

Loadsmart, a leading digital freight technology company, today announced the successful completion of its Series C fundraising. The $90 million round was led by BlackRock, Inc.’s managed funds and included prominent strategic investors from the transportation space such as TFI International Inc. (NYSE and TSX: TFII), a North American leader in the transportation and logistics industry, and Maersk, the world’s leading ocean carrier and a Loadsmart investor since Series A. The deal was co-led by Chromo Capital, with participation from Perry Capital, founded by Richard C. Perry; and Bramalea Partners, recently founded by Andrew Boyd, former head of global equity capital markets at Fidelity Investments. Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC served as Loadsmart’s financial adviser and Paul Hastings as its legal adviser.

The funding round cements Loadsmart’s position as a leader in the digital freight space. Loadsmart’s fiscally conservative strategy is unique among digital competitors and has allowed for capital-efficient, sustainable growth. Instead of growing by subsidizing its customers’ freight spend, the company focuses on organic growth driven by operational excellence coupled with API integrations, developing the technology to provide true value-added services to its customers. Loadsmart has grown revenues 250% since January 2020 while improving service quality, increasing gross margins and keeping operational expenses at 2019 levels.

“As the secular shift from analogue to digital has continued to accelerate throughout the logistics industry, in which volatility has become the norm, we are proud to help our customers leverage Loadsmart’s technology to secure capacity and exceptional service,” noted Ricardo Salgado, Loadsmart co-founder and CEO.

With the highest percentage of employees in software development and data science roles in the digital freight industry, Loadsmart was the first to market with the following: truckload instant pricing and booking in 2015; server-to-server autonomous truckload booking via API and TMS integrations in 2016; and drayage and transload digital services in 2019. This tech-first approach has allowed the company to set in place a fully scalable and automated distribution model. As a result, 85% of Loadsmart revenue is now generated (quoted and booked) with full automation.

Read More »

Loadsmart First Look Monthly Lowdown with Jim Nicholson and Kyle Lintner (K-Ratio)

Welcome to October’s Monthly Episode of Loadsmart First Look. This is a monthly series that dives into the domestic freight market, the economy as a backdrop to the trucking industry, and the latest developments and technologies that are changing the supply chain.

This month Jim Nicholson, VP of Operations at Loadsmart is joined by Kyle Lintner, Partner and Managing Director of K-Ratio to—among many things— discuss leveraging principles from the financial markets to improve efficiency in the freight industry, what a central clearinghouse for freight transactions would mean for the industry, and how universally agreed upon rate transparency might improve the flow of goods through the supply chain.

Lightning Round:

Jim: Outbound tender volume index will stay above 15,000 for 2020

Kyle: False, but not by much

Jim: Tender rejections will drop below 20% by the end of the year

Kyle: False

Jim: Tender rejections will drop below 10% in Q1

Kyle: That is a really tough one. False, but very very close.

Jim: Capacity in the marketplace will end up lower than where we went into it this year. So capacity will drop

Kyle: No, false.

Jim: Shippers will opt to move a smaller percent of their volume in contracts

Kyle: They will not put more stuff into spot, even though sometimes I think it does, flex contracts, option contracts, spot business whatever you call it, they’re going to run it on all three dedicated

Jim: Hottest trend in 2021 will be…

Kyle: More visibility

Read More »

Loadsmart First Look Weekly Market Recap: Nov 10 – Nov 16

This is a weekly series that brings the insights we use to get your shipments from A to B from our carrier sales floor to your home office.

This week Loadsmart’s Director of Carrier Sales, Jordan Abrams, breaks down what happened last week and what to expect this week in the freight market in less than 60 seconds.

What We Saw Last Week

–  Last week was exciting. We watched volume and rejections sky rocket, but it proved to be just another seasonal spike. National tender rejections started off strong at over 27% but decreased as the week moved on. 

– Along with the rejections increase earlier last week, well, so did Average LH rates as reported by Truckstop.com. We have already seen a 6 cent increase since November 1st

– Last week felt like the true kick off to this holiday season. We expect the coming week to be a challenge. It’s tight out there folks.

Read More »

Loadsmart First Look Weekly Market Recap: Nov 2 26 – Nov 9

This is a weekly series that brings the insights we use to get your shipments from A to B from our carrier sales floor to your home office.

This week Loadsmart’s Carrier Sales Manager, Jimmy Fahey, breaks down what happened last week and what to expect this week in the freight market in less than 60 seconds.

What We Saw Last Week

  • Bullish container news continued to pour in over last week, as equipment lessor Triton International reported Q3 2020 results and described Q4 2020 demand for equipment as exceptionally strong. Market conditions are expected to remain strong at least thru early next year. Chinese factory capacity is booked thru 2020 and market conditions are expected to remain tight thru Chinese New Year.
  • A powerful snowstorm has been moving thru several states since Wednesday and intensified over the weekend. Roads stretching from California to Colorado, Montana and the Dakotas will be dangerous for drivers. Blizzard-like conditions will be heading through parts of Montana with wind gusts reaching 35-40mph and snowfalls anywhere from 2-14 inches depending on the elevation. Snowfall in the Sierra Nevada region will also affect drivers along I-80 and Highway 50 in the area. Outbound tenders have increased in some markets along the storm’s path and it is possible that many drivers will shift to other markets over the coming days to avoid the storms.
  • The US economy added 638,000 jobs in Oct., pushing the unemployment rate a full percentage point lower, to 6.9%, even as a resurgent virus threatened to slow future hiring. The rate, less than half of April’s level, is still almost twice as high as before the pandemic struck in March. Further clouding prospects is the expiration of extra unemployment benefits with no added federal stimulus yet in view. 
    • Long-term joblessness jumped, with the number of Americans unemployed for 27 weeks or more rising 1.2mil to 3.6mil. 
Read More »

Loadsmart First Look Weekly Market Recap: Oct 26 – Nov 1

This is a weekly series that brings the insights we use to get your shipments from A to B from our carrier sales floor to your home office.

This week Loadsmart’s Director of Carrier Sales, Jordan Abrams, breaks down what happened last week and what to expect this week in the freight market in less than 60 seconds.

What We Saw Last Week

National Tender rejections continued to hover at the 25% mark. VOTRI sat strong at 24% while RFR rejections steadily decreased through the week from 44% to 41%

That wasn’t the only drop we saw. TS 7 day Avg Linehaul Rate dropped $0.12 to $2.83/mi since the first week in october. This is the most significant drop in Avg Linehaul since early May. With volumes and rejections easing, rates seem to settle. 

Let it snow! We had winter weather N TX, OK and in the upper midwest Causing capacity constraints heading into the EOM. Freeze protection is starting early and is expected to roll south as temps continue to drop. Expect RFR capacity to continue its tightness!

Read More »

Loadsmart First Look Weekly Market Recap: Oct 19 – Oct 25

This is a weekly series that brings the insights we use to get your shipments from A to B from our carrier sales floor to your home office.

This week Loadsmart’s Carrier Sales, Jimmy Fahey, breaks down what happened last week and what to expect this week in the freight market in less than 60 seconds.

What We Saw Last Week

  • New jobless claims fell close to their lowest level last week since the pandemic began. First time flings in the week ended Oct. 17 totaled 787,000, above pre-pandemic norms but below the almost 7 million claims during a week in March when the virus prompted widespread closures.
  • White House officials and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are closing in on a nearly $2 trillion dollar deal to provide another round of stimulus checks, reinstate extra weekly unemployment benefits and extend aid for small businesses, airlines, and state and local governments. This all comes as COVID-19 cases rise to their highest levels since the middle of summer and cooler weather will hamper the ability for outdoor activities. However, if the White House and House Speaker Pelosi reach an agreement, a vote would most likely have to wait until after the election
  • Union Pacific doubled it’s surcharge on small shippers sending excess contract cargo out of the Seattle market from $500 to $1000 per container starting Oct. 25th. The upcharge comes three months after it began charging fees in the LA and Stockton-Oakland markets, but the surcharge has done much to lower demand as UP’s 3rd quarter volumes jumped 24% from Q2, the largest quarter over quarter increase in the company’s history
Read More »

Loadsmart First Look Weekly Market Recap: Oct 12 – Oct 18

This is a weekly series that brings the insights we use to get your shipments from A to B from our carrier sales floor to your home office.

This week Loadsmart’s Director of Carrier Sales, Jordan Abrams, breaks down what happened last week and what to expect this week in the freight market in less than 60 seconds.

What We Saw Last Week

We are finally starting to see some semblance of stabilization in the market. National Tender rejections continued to drop last week to the mid 25% and VOTRI decreased a smidge while ROTRI held steady at the 43%.

That being said, don’t be fooled by the term stable. Volumes remain strong with seven straight weeks above 15k and 52% above 2019, but even volumes have started to stabilize and we expect them to continue through November.

Hurricane Delta seemed to put most of its hitting power into LA, but not much elsewhere. Lake Charles and New Orleans were a challenge to move to or through due to flooding and road closures.

What To Expect This Week

The gap between average contract rates and spot rates continues to grow. Currently, average contract rates sit at $2.27 while spot sits at $2.44/mi. This is causing more and more carriers to give back their contracts and renegotiate their lanes as we head into the final months of the year.

SoCal, E PA, NJ maritime shipments continue to be strong. These markets make up 14% of the domestic freight market (S Cal 8% and Newark/E PA 6%). As long as these markets are hot, expect capacity to be limited and rates to be high

Stay Up to Date

With all the latest weekly and monthly market insights on our Youtube page. Questions about anything you saw? Email sales@loadsmart.com and let’s talk about how we can help you take advantage of real-time market conditions.

Loadsmart First Look Monthly Lowdown with Jim Nicholson and Brent Hutto (Truckstop.com)

Welcome to September’s Monthly Episode of Loadsmart First Look. This is a monthly series that dives into the domestic freight market, the economy as a backdrop to the trucking industry, and the latest developments and technologies that are changing the supply chain.

This month, as freight demand and volumes exceed the 40-year record highs we saw in 2017 and 2018, our VP of Operations, Jim Nicholson, brought in a little help from Brent Hutto, Chief Relationship Officer @ Truckstop.com to discuss the boom bust and boom again market.

Jim: It’s been a wild year with the pandemic and the shift in consumer behavior that’s thrown freight markets out of whack. I’m curious to hear what you guys are seeing at Truckstop.

Brent: I’ve been alive for 53 years and you see a lot of ups and downs and the old saying is “may you live in interesting times” and certainly we are living in interesting times. Who would have thought that we would have seen something more different or better than 2017/2018 that was a 40 year high in an industry. That was remarkable – people set their careers and retirements on how well they did in 2017/2018 and who would have thought that something would exceed that and we are at that point and have been for the last 7 or 8 weeks above 2017/ 2018 40 year historical highs, which is remarkable considering where we were in March and where the marketplace has come from. 

Read More »

On the Road with Loadsmart Ep 5: Lightning Transport

We’re in the business of connecting the logistics industry, but that doesn’t stop at connecting shipments with carriers. This is our second episode of On the Road with Loadsmart, a platform to connect the industry to the stories that matter, inspire, and are essential for giving credit to the unsung heroes of the road we have the privilege to work with every day.

In this episode Aaron from Loadsmart sits down with Matt Deaton from Lightning Transportation to discuss how they’re dealing with growing a driver pool of 375+ drivers to keep up with the recent shifts in demand and volume.

Aaron: To dive right in, do you want to tell us a little bit about Lightning Trans?

Matt: We are a drayage service provider all over the East Coast. I work with our operations teams, sales, business development, working directly with our customers. We’ve been in business since about 1987. We started with one terminal in Baltimore and we’re up to about eight terminals now.
All the major ports and rails and actually we were looking to expand this year.

Right now we’re up to about 375 and counting with the shift in volumes recently coming out of COVID-19 we’ve got a nice, strong pipeline of drivers that we’re trying to rapidly increase that count as we speak to meet the demand and the recent shifts in volumes.

Aaron: Do you want to tell us a little bit about what your main challenges were at the beginning of the year and when the East Coast shut down and a lot of the ports did what those goals and challenges transitioned to?

Read More »

Loadsmart First Look Weekly Market Recap: Oct 5 – Oct 11

This is a weekly series that brings the insights we use to get your shipments from A to B from our carrier sales floor to your home office.

This week Loadsmart’s Carrier Sales Manager, Jimmy Fahey, breaks down what happened last week and what to expect this week in the freight market in less than 60 seconds.

What We Saw Last Week

840,000 Americans applied for first-time unemployment benefits last week, a number that is highly relative to pre-pandemic levels and worse than any week of previous recessions. Jobless claims are down from their peak in the spring, but have remained stagnant since the summer months and refuse to drop further.

Lawmakers haven’t made much progress in working out a compromise for a new stimulus deal, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected a standalone package for airlines without a larger deal in place. Carriers last week furloughed more than 30,000 workers and anticipate further service cuts if more aid doesn’t come soon.

Reefer rejections continue to climb, just ahead of the protect from freeze season. ROTRI is currently at 44.04 nationally, while some markets are seeing rejection rates in the 60’s and 70’s. With short supply, anticipate rejections to continue to climb in the coming weeks with increased demand and carriers looking to take advantage of the lucrative spot market rates.

As of 8am Friday morning Hurricane Delta (the 25th named storm of 2020 and 9th hurricane) was listed as a high-end Category 3 Hurricane and looking to make landfall over southwestern Louisiana. The hurricane is expected to bring 10-15in of rainfall in parts of the impact zone, with 6 to 12ft storm surges. Significant flash flooding, urban flooding and small stream flooding are expected over the weekend.

What To Expect This Week

FMCSA announced last Friday that they will be holding a session on Oct. 28th to hear petitions on broker transparency. Two of the petitions, from OOIDA and Small Business in Transportation Coalition, seek to strengthen brokers’ reporting requirements, while TIA is looking to eliminate outdated regulations and receive guidance on dispatch services to remove bad actors in the marketplace. We will look for more commentary this week on the announcement.

Both contract and spot rates continue to increase, while shippers are renegotiating their contracts earlier than at previous points. As consumers adjust to the new at-home lifestyle, there is increased consumer spending, which has caused an increase in truckload demand.

Current sentiment is that there will be a double digit rate increased into 2021. With the shift in increased consumer spending and the need to still restock, analysts are expecting import volumes to continue to remain strong well into 20201. As most of the trans-pacific volumes flow through Western US ports anticipate an increase in long haul freight into the market, which will further drive up rates and tighten capacity.

Stay Up to Date

With all the latest weekly and monthly market insights on our Youtube page. Questions about anything you saw? Email sales@loadsmart.com and let’s talk about how we can help you take advantage of real-time market conditions.

Loadsmart First Look Weekly Market Recap: Sep 28 – Oct 4

This is a weekly series that brings the insights we use to get your shipments from A to B from our carrier sales floor to your home office.

This week Loadsmart’s Director of Carrier Sales, Jordan Abrams, breaks down what happened last week and what to expect this week in the freight market in less than 60 seconds as we head into October aka pumpkin season.

What We Saw Last Week

The EOM and EOQ push continued through the week. Capacity was limited and at a premium.  

We are now on two months of rejections over 25%. If you thought this was just a phase, snap out of it. This is the new normal. National Tender rejections sat sturdy and finished the week at just under 26%.

The story last week was Reefer rejections with a massive 6 point jump in the last two weeks. RFR rejections finished the week at just over 45%. RFRs are in limited supply and heading to the spot market to take advantage of the name your rate market. Expect it to be tight nationwide!

What To Expect This Week

Volume increases and market tightness still influenced by massive amounts of freight entering the market through the ports (Los Angeles, Newark). Expect SoCal and E PA to remain tight.

As we enter october expect late year produce to start ramping up!

We expect TS Linehaul continue at their historic levels currently at $2.93/mi but let’s not be surprised if the jump closer to $3.

Stay Up to Date

With all the latest weekly and monthly market insights on our Youtube page. Questions about anything you saw? Email sales@loadsmart.com and let’s talk about how we can help you take advantage of real-time market conditions.