What began as a simple pilot project for digital freight startup Ontruck has helped overcome the ongoing transportation challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. A new service in full, national distribution, the first of its kind for the UK market, enables shippers to book national full truck loads for long-haul while also providing access to instant real-time quotes and driver availability.
This new offering links together core routes for distribution, connecting operations from Greater London to the North West, Manchester, and Yorkshire to provide shippers with a full end-to-end transport solution.
While adding a national product to its current regional activities was a logical next step for Ontruck, the company never imagined the significance this new offering would have for the industry. As the service launched in March, volatile market demand from the pandemic sparked a new need for the flexibility and full 360° service offered by this new national distribution.
“We always planned to roll out a resilient product for shipments of all urgency, but we never could have foreseen an extremity of this scale” explains Samuel McGuirk, UK Country Manager for Ontruck, “Overnight, shippers had to rethink their business models and fortunately, our national service came as a timely solution to help them move goods such as food, beverage, and PPE throughout the country in an efficient way that guarantees security and predictability”.
With this national service, Ontruck can quickly distribute demand for long haul transport across the UK. For truck drivers and transport firms whose sectors may have stopped amid the outbreak, this service can also provide new revenue opportunities to deliver goods in more active sectors. Already, the database of carriers joining the platform has increased by 20% as new drivers continue to sign up. Ontruck’s client base has also now grown to include PepsiCo, Decathlon and Amazon to name a few.
As confinement enters into phases of gradual de-escalation, the pandemic raises new challenges for businesses. However, these challenges will also present an opportunity for innovation. “This has served as a catalyst for businesses to rethink current transport models and traditional approaches to logistics” explains McGuirk, “Once trade recommences, there will not only be a new recognition for the roles of truck drivers but also a new focus on the need to innovate how we move goods to best protect our future supply chains”.