BOSTON — A new digital logistics platform harnesses technology in an effort to improve availability and reliability in the $7.5 billion agricultural transportation sector while boosting transparency and profitability for producers, carriers and shippers.
Launched in October 2018, Indigo Transport is the latest venture from Indigo Agriculture, the digital marketplace for connecting growers, grain elevators, food processors and others in the food supply chain. Transport also may be used to move grain for transactions conducted outside of Marketplace. But as an add-on, sellers have access to a wide pool of buyers beyond their immediate market.
Indigo Transport allow sellers to select the best bid for their transportation needs from among a network of independent carriers vetted for quality and reliability of service and equipment. More than 3,000 trucks have been approved thus far after evaluations for safety on the road and at origins and destinations, insurance coverage and adherence to food safety transportation policies. Indigo encourages growers who are commercially licensed and own their own transportation equipment to enroll as carriers, adding an additional revenue stream using their expensive, under-utilized on-farm assets.
The platform manages all aspects of on-farm pick-up, transportation and delivery. Buyers and sellers can see detailed progress during shipping on the Transport smartphone app. Delivery issues managed by Indigo include replacement equipment and substitute drivers in the event of carrier cancellations. The company, an insured, bonded and licensed grain trader in the states in which it operates, pays growers directly upon grain delivery and is registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
By phone or using the smartphone app, carriers can find loads that fit their schedules and tap in to exclusive contracts with Indigo Marketplace sellers, currently numbering in the thousands and representing $10 billion worth of grain inventory. Contract details are released immediately at booking and Indigo handles payments when grain is delivered. Carriers are not under contract to Indigo, thus can continue to service pre-existing customers and other new business.
Indigo Transport promises shippers the chance to “book delivery, not trucks,” underscoring access to simple logistics management, the growing network of trucks, and the potential savings inherent in carriers competing for business.