March 16, 2022

Overview of Digital Freight Models

We’ve been hearing more and more about digital freight models in the last few years, and about their promise to revolutionize the freight industry. These digital freight models are not new. Some have been on the market since the late 90’s, but most of them failed back then as the technology just wasn’t quite ready to meet the real-time needs of the industry. Things have evolved since then, and now the freight marketplace is now packed with dozens of different freight models with a variety of offerings—it’s a lot to keep track of and to understand.

The 2022 Gartner® Market Guide for Digital Freight Models for Road Transportation contains a wealth of information on the different digital road transportation models available and how they can best be leveraged. You can access a complimentary copy of the report here, or read below for a summary.

Overview of Digital Freight Models

According to Gartner, “Many new digital freight models and vendors have entered the market. The digitized freight network (DFN) is the most common freight model for road transportation. These DFNs provide an alternative to traditional brokers, load boards and the spot market, which remain time-consuming and collect information from carriers and shippers, but don’t support true collaboration. These digitized freight networks can help companies that are looking for real-time available capacity or looking to reduce transportation costs during the current crisis as well as during future challenging times.”

You may already be using a digital freight network, or some other type of freight technology to help with your shipping needs. But as supply chain issues continue to challenge us, fuel costs rising and labor shortages growing, it may be time to evaluate other digital freight models.

Gartner has classified the following subsegments within the digital road transportation models (see Table 1):

        ■ Digital brokers

        ■ Digitized freight network

        ■ Digitized freight network with assets

        ■ Freight insights technology platforms

        ■ Collaborative transportation platforms

        ■ Carrier relationship platforms

        ■ Technology provider with a digital freight platform

        ■ 3PL with a digital freight platform”

The model you choose will be dependent on your specific needs. You might be looking to manage a need for short term capacity or you may be focused on more strategic sustainability goals like eliminating empty miles from your network. Each model has its strengths. We believe the report is key to determining the best fit for your needs.

For a full summary of the different digital freight solutions and some of the vendors who offer them, check out a complimentary copy of the 2022 Gartner® Market Guide for Digital Models for Road Transportation. We’re also here to answer any questions you have!

Gartner, Market Guide for Digital Freight Models for Road Transportation, Carly West, Bart De Muynck, 7 February 2022. Gartner is a registered trademark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request from here.

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.


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