Matchmaking for trucks so fewer run empty after deliveries

[ These apps have the potential to prevent some trucks from returning empty after their delivery, which wastes finite diesel fuel.  See the full article here.

Alice Friedemann  author of “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation, 2015, Springer]

Russ Banham. February 23, 2016.  How “Uber For Trucking” Apps Are Driving Change In The Freight Industry. Forbes.

Nearly 70% of all freight moved in the United States travels by truck,  10 billion tons each year, according to the American Trucking Associations, a trade group.

Without trucks, the American economy brakes to a halt.

Despite the industry’s importance, its progress has long been impeded by its fragmentation into tens of thousands of small trucking carriers needing intermediaries to transact business with shippers. Such brokers typically rely on telephone calls to engage the parties, which is neither the most efficient or cost-effective way to move cargo. Brokers aren’t cheap. For local trucking jobs, the fees can be up to 45 percent of the job.

Several mobile applications hope to change this by replacing the traditional middleman linking truckers to shippers and vice versa. These apps could end up being as disruptive to the trucking industry as Uber was for the taxi business.

One of these new apps is Cargomatic, the brainchild of a tech entrepreneur from Silicon Valley and a logistics expert from Los Angeles, which launched in 2014. Another is Convoy, a Seattle-based startup launched in September 2015.

Not surprisingly, both companies leverage the similarities of their apps to Uber in their marketing materials. The comparisons are obvious, although the apps transport freight and not people. Like Uber, both companies have created algorithms that address the transportation needs between two parties, with all the financial logistics, such as billing and payment, handled by the app.

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7 Responses to Matchmaking for trucks so fewer run empty after deliveries

  1. Eclipse says:

    FAMILY CARS AND LIGHT TRUCKS can be EV’s. All electric garbage trucks and buses cost more up front, but are saving city council’s tens of thousands of dollars in fees.

    Today’s electricity grid and power plants, if turned up to full, could charge 84% of family cars and light trucks. Sure that would burn more coal and gas, but as more renewables and nuclear power came online, these electric cars and light trucks would at least replace oil, which can be a national security and infrastructure challenge in an oil crisis.

    There are emergency rationing, sailboat and other strategies for getting through a sudden oil crisis or energy bottleneck.

    But longer term it’s hard to pick which renewable energy carrier would replace oil, as there are a few interesting options. Hydrogen has problems with storage and the expense of fuel cells, but if it is limited to trucking, wouldn’t trucking companies create their own hydrogen fuel at depots for their own fleets the next day? It’s just water + electricity and some equipment and tanks. Trucking companies could make it themselves, on site, for their own trucks until some standard was established nationwide. But I’m not even a fan of hydrogen!

    The other 2 options are synthetic diesel and boron powder.

    SYNTHETIC DIESEL from seawater can be affordable, with the cost of building the nuclear power plants that run the process included! So diesel trucks can gradually switch over to synthetic diesel which is infinitely renewable as the industry ramps up the other side of any peak oil bottleneck or rationing crisis.

    BORON POWDER can be a metal powder or pellet that can be burned and then recycled afterwards as a replacement for oil or diesel. It does not leak like hydrogen.

    It only burns in a very high-oxygen environment, making it inert, safe, and easy to store for years. Oxygen tanks or miniaturised oxygen concentrators would be attached to car engines. In high oxygen, boron is 4 times as energy dense as gasoline . It “takes a quart of boron to match the energy in a gallon of gasoline.” (Dr James Hansen, link below).

    Boron is an effective energy carrier, but is not the energy source. Think of it as a battery. Once it is burned, nuclear power plants would power the smelts where they melt it down and strip the rust off, and recycled boron would be cheaper than petroleum products.

    Boron solves the chicken and egg problem of a hydrogen economy. All it takes is one boron recycling centre in the country, and then people can mail used boron to it for recycling. It is so safe and cheap to mail that even with the cost of mail and recycling, it would still be cheaper than oil. Initially you could buy 2 or 3 tanks worth of boron, and then just recycle those forever. Eventually as the boron economy grew you would swap old for new at your local garage or shops.

    You can store extra boron in your garage for years. Your car could operate as a backup power station during blackouts. This is not that big a deal here in Australia but in North America could be the difference between life and death in a snowstorm and power outage.

    Boron to replace oil is discussed in Prescription for the Planet, a book Dr James Hansen recommends. See Chapter 5 “The fifth element” on page 155.

    James Hansen has summarised it here. (Page 8) I’ve copied and pasted it below.

    More technical specifications by Graham Cowan, who calls them ‘ash ingots’ or pellets

    • energyskeptic says:

      None of these ideas solve the issue that we need to replace billions of heavy-duty diesel engines in trucks, locomotives, and equipment with SOMETHING ELSE in is less than 20 years. something else can’t be boron, hydrogen (fuel cells) etc (see other posts at energyskeptic, a wikipedia of aspects of the energy crisis). 80% of communities depend entirely on trucks and have no ports for sailboats or rail lines. Trucks mine the ore that makes everything else, and they log, plant and harvest crops, dig, excavate, haul concrete, deliver goods, and so on. Light trucks and cars can’t do that. Their gas engine longevity, ruggedness, ton miles/gallon, traction and power don’t touch diesel engine or come close to being able to accomplish as much. Diesel engines are the basis of our wealth and survival today.

      • Eclipse says:

        There are “Estimates of 15.5 million trucks operate in the U.S.. Of this figure 2 million are tractor trailers.”

        Maybe in America 61% of communities are dependent on trucks (maybe minus a few percent to allow for rail) because only 39% of your population lives in counties on the coast.

        But that is not the average worldwide. “HALF the world’s population lives within 60 km of the sea, and THREE-QUARTERS of all LARGE cities are located on the coast.”

        Are you saying this UN statistic is not true? In a real crisis, cargo ships CAN be fitted with sails. Some people are already doing it now from a climate rationale. This next forum has a whole discussion about it.

        The old argument that it takes energy to make energy forgets that we have *too much* fossil fuel energy left. From a climate point of view I hope we don’t burn all the remaining all, let alone the coal and gas which would cook us 5 times over. But, in a geopolitical liquid fuels emergency, rationing + sailing + cycling + a massive growth in EV’s + dirty oil like coal to liquids would all be ramped up so fast we’d HAVE enough oil to build out the alternatives. You’re forgetting that the GFC cut oil consumption by 25% across America, and that was without the force of legislation! It just shows how many trips are discretionary. I’m thinking you’d survive a sudden overnight cut of 75% of your oil! Survive. Not enjoy. The economy would be hard hit, trillions would be lost on the stockmarket, but eventually the economy would sort itself out. There is a VAST difference between a Great Depression and Mad Max. There is law and order, prioritising, Presidential commands, and things like the Hoover Dam being built during a Great Depression. The New Deal kicks in, in this case, the New New Deal. Once the American Military Industrial complex was put to work building out the next big thing, I think you’d be astonished at how fast you could wean off oil. Nukes like the SPRISM will come rolling off the production line, ready to power ever more seawater diesel or boron. The more they roll off, the more diesel / boron there is to power the next nuke and get society out of emergency rationing mode! Sure, there might be a bottleneck for the rest of us, but they’ll prioritise the most important stuff. And a lot can be accomplished on not very much. Remember, the American superhighway project was built in the 1950’s. Just go back and see how little oil they were burning then, and that’s one of the largest engineering infrastructure projects the human race has ever conducted.
        It takes energy to build more energy infrastructure, but you’ve got plenty. America should nearly join OPEC you’ve got so much! I can only hope peak oil kicks in again, because with Trump in, alternative energy systems may not get a look in before you cook the planet with all your tar sands, shale oil and fracking.

        • energyskeptic says:

          No, 80% of communities in the U.S. depend on trucks on 4.1 million miles of roads (vs 25,000 miles of waterways and 95,000 route miles of RR tracks). Off-road agriculture is the most important, tractors and harvesters traverse millions of miles of farmland. Logging, mining, and transmission trucks traverse off-road as well. If a ship pulls into the port of Oakland, how are you going to get the goods to inland cities? Trucks! Ships can always go back to sailing. We are at peak oil (, peak coal (, and peak natural gas ( A report that Robert Hirsch did in 2005 for the Department of Energy about how to prepare for Peak Oil stated that you’d want to start at least 20 years ahead, now it is 12 years AFTER CONVENTIONAL oil peaked, and unconventional won’t be able to fill in the gap much longer, especially with population still growing at an exponential rate. Vaclav Smil wrote a book on energy transitions and said it takes at least 50 YEARS.

          How does nuclear power solve peak phosphorus (absolutely essential for growing crops) and other peak minerals essential to keeping the electric grid up? How does nuclear compensate for depleted aquifers and topsoil that grow America’s food? How does nuclear prevent nuclear wars, EMP attacks, the generation of toxic wastes, depletion of fisheries, lack of arable land to grow food on for the next 2 billion people, destruction of rain forests, bioinvasions, and hundreds of other issues?

          Since all this is covered at energyskeptic, I’m going to stop replying — do some research!

          • Eclipse says:

            “How does nuclear power solve peak phosphorus (absolutely essential for growing crops) and other peak minerals essential to keeping the electric grid up? How does nuclear compensate for depleted aquifers and topsoil that grow America’s food? How does nuclear prevent nuclear wars, EMP attacks, the generation of toxic wastes, depletion of fisheries, lack of arable land to grow food on for the next 2 billion people, destruction of rain forests, bioinvasions, and hundreds of other issues?”

            Typical doomer rant! If nuclear power provides abundant reliable affordable electricity FOREVER (billions of years from seawater), then why not just be grateful for that? Far out! The OTHER important issues have OTHER important answers! NPK fertilisers for land based agriculture will be supplied from the sea!

            15 minute TED talk by Bren Smith on Vertical Ocean Farming (Or 3d farming) and tell me what you think?
            He says the area of Washington State could feed the world… if we were ‘seafood vegetarians’. But there’s more. He’s not just growing kelp, but restoring ocean ecologies so that oysters and other shellfish grow in his farms, and fish return. He’s creating artificial reefs. He’s created an OPEN SOURCE MODEL so anyone can copy him and run their own farms!

      • Eclipse says:

        PS: Check this statistic out.

        “How much fuel does the trucking industry consume?
        The trucking industry accounts for 12.8% of all the fuel purchased in the U.S. Compared to automobiles and light vehicles accounted for 63% of the fuel purchased.”

        That means only 13% of your liquid fuels must be replaced, because EV’s can do the rest cheaper and cleaner than oil anyway. While EV’s might be more to buy, electricity is about half the price of oil and so consumers will save in the long run.

        • energyskeptic says:

          Overall diesel engines use 22% of fuel (don’t forget tractors, harvesters, logging, mining and other industries). Trucks can’t burn gasoline, diesohol, jet fuel, or ethanol. Only a fraction of every barrel can be made into diesel, which is just one of at least 60 products refineries make. Two-thirds of electricity comes from finite fossil fuels, and most nuclear plants are going to retire by 2030, or become unaffordable. The amount of electricity that comes from renewables is minuscule and will be needed to make steel, cement, glass, bricks, and all the other products made with fossil fuels now, many of these products don’t have a process to use electricity, so that needs to be figured out as well. In “When Trucks Stop Running” I show why the electric grid can not be 100% renewable and that trucks can’t run on electricity, so NUCLEAR POWER DOESN’T SOLVE THE PROBLEM. NOTHING THAT GENERATES ELECTRICITY DOES. California is already running into problems with renewable generation, see How is California’s AB2514 experiment with utility scale battery storage coming along? at and read the California Energy Commission’s December 2016 report tracking progress resource flexibility about how already California is having trouble with having enough balance wind and solar generation. Overgeneration is also a concern at