How Carrier Sales Can Reduce Deadhead in Trucking Thru DFM

Deadhead in trucking is a necessary evil that most people know very little about, but it’s the antithesis of efficiency in a carrier-leaning market. There are a few things that freight management parties need to answer to stay efficient, including what does deadhead means in trucking and supply chain management, but even more confusing is how carrier sales can eliminate the question of what is deadhead in trucking too. Remember that deadhead in trucking is the process of driving a tractor-trailer without cargo. This often means long hours, wasted fuel for drivers, and unnecessary emissions. While there are environmental costs to consider, organizational factors are at play. More deadhead in trucking inevitably means a driver will effectively lose money and waste part of the trip. It's true that not all deadhead can be eliminated at every mile, but carrier sales can reduce the risk of deadheading through digital freight matching. Let's look at how. 

What Is Deadhead in Trucking and What Costs Does It Entail

Deadhead occurs anytime a truck moves without a fully loaded trailer. At the same time, some activities will require running partially empty, even if only 10% or less space, the solution is finding freight for that cargo space. According to, "It’s a well-known fact in the transportation and logistics industries that long-haul trucking is a leading contributor to carbon emissions. The transportation industry accounts for 28% of all greenhouse gas emissions, due in large part to the high mileage and heavy loads required to maintain the integrity of the supply chain."

A digital freight marketplace connects those with the capacity to cargo needs. In turn, that can help shippers access more mid-market carrier capacity across the sheer volume of owner-operators and smaller fleets in local, regional, and national routes. 

Even more troubling, up to 40% of truckers are driving empty miles somewhere in the supply chain. That's too much of a loss, and it doesn't make sense in an industry where limited capacity is still generating a gold boom of sorts for carriers.

How Carrier Sales Reduces Deadheading

Since deadheading is all about eliminating empty miles, new carrier sales mean brokers could expand their network partnerships and put the wasted capacity in front of those who need it. Furthermore, more carrier sales effectively enable continuous optimization of routes to squeeze out additional capacity savings and maximize every mile and cubic bit of space in the trailer. 

While deadheading might seem like it is only about the carrier, less deadhead in trucking really can benefit owner-operators and independent drivers as well. A digital freight marketplace that eliminates deadheading could mean more consistent income and profitability for a driver. 

With a more extensive selection of shipments to choose from on any given day, there is a good chance a deadheaded driver could find a load heading in the direction he needs to go or at least provide some relief on long hauls. Decreased deadheading also means fuel savings since an empty tractor-trailer doesn't burn as much gas as one carrying cargo.

Further, boosting carrier sales is the literal process of finding more loads for drivers. This eliminates deadheading in trucking and provides more potential revenue for carriers. It is a win-win situation that only requires some effort on the part of carriers or their brokers that are looking for loads. Furthermore, with more information and know-how on selling as a broker, freight intermediaries can help to improve carrier sales and avoid the issue of deadhead by taking these proactive steps:

  • Establish good relationships with your freight carriers.
  • Communicate effectively with your freight carriers.
  • Understand your freight carrier's business model.
  • Work with a reputable digital freight marketplace.

Put the Power an Easy-to-Navigate Digital Freight Marketplace to Work to Drive Carrier Sales Faster and More Effectively

The deadhead definition in logistics often means long hours driving for no compensation, but deadheading is even more frustrating without knowing exactly how to avoid it. This waste of time and money stems from a lack of communication or understanding between shippers (the companies that need their goods delivered) and carriers (freight haulers who deliver the cargo). Once these relationships are correctly established, deadheading can be eliminated through the efficient routing of trailers, and such relationships can even be a valuable tool to balance spot versus contract trucking needs. Request a newtrul demo now to learn more about how your brokerage can boost its carrier sales processes and streamline the digital freight matching process. 

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