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With truck capacity experiencing wide swings in availability, and shippers struggling to get product to market in a time of highly uncertain demand, it has never been more important to make optimal use of the space that’s actually available.

So goes the ideal — but in practice, the industry is subject to substantial amounts of underused over-the-road capacity. The culprit is deadheading: the running of empty trucks on one leg of a round trip. Estimates put the amount as high as 40% of all moves.

The problem is most acute these days in the truckload sector, both for private and dedicated fleets, which aren’t set up to accommodate multiple shippers on the same route. What’s more, they’re under intense pressure to meet rising customer expectations for next- or same-day delivery, giving them precious little time to solicit suitable freight that just happens to be going in the opposite direction.

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