row of semi trucks
An arrow pointing leftHome

This Bezos-backed trucking and logistics app is not sweating the high gas prices

  • Mike Pearl

Convoy, an AI-based app that connects truckers, companies and shipments was always designed to cut fuel costs.

If moving freight is your business, the fuel price hike that started in late January, and has not yet let up, should be the bane of your existence. But, as Ryan Gavin, chief growth officer at the trucking app Convoy recently said, things aren’t so bad if you’re the industry’s AI middleman.

“The secondary effects for shippers and carriers fully line up with the value of Convoy, which is a more efficient way of moving freight,” Gavin told the Seattle Tech section of BizJournal.

Gavin noted that a small carrier accustomed to spending $1,500-$1,600 per week on fuel is currently spending about $2,400. These costs have not, however, resulted in a hit to Convoy’s revenues. According to Gavin, such costs are “somewhat neutral in terms of our bottom-line effect.”

Originally funded in 2015 by a group of investors that included Jeff Bezos, and powered by Amazon Sagemaker, Convoy’s algorithm is trained on route data culled from the behavior of countless long- and short-haul drivers. It’s designed to “provide better matches for shippers and truckers, allowing them to move freight more efficiently” in terms of both time and fuel, according to a 2018 post on the Amazon Web Services blog.

When the system knows the route a driver is currently on, and which routes an individual driver is likely to accept in the future — say, because it’s the direction they’ll need to go next anyway to get home — truckers can be connected with loads closer to their deliveries.

This bundling of routes results in fewer empty trucks on the road, reduced fuel use per shipment, and less money needed for said fuel when the costs go up.

As of mid-March, the Convoy app dashboards of increasingly harried shippers began to automatically show live location information, and a feed of automated updates from drivers’ phones about delays and other problems on the road, according to a blog post on the Convoy website.

“You’d be hard pressed to find this end-to-end visibility anywhere else,” it reads, “and it’s all because our shipper platform is built on top of the most tech-connected network in the nation.”