When trucks are booked to deliver goods, the arrangement is usually made for a one-way journey.
This means that when the truck returns to its base, it often runs on empty miles — where no goods are carried on its back. These empty miles translate into wasted fuel, time and money.
To deal with this inefficiency, trucking companies began to look for opportunities for trucks to deliver goods from its destination back to the truck’s point of origin. This process of carrying goods back over all or part of the truck’s route is known as backhauling.
Backhauls are aimed at maximizing the resource utilization of logistics companies by converting empty miles into revenue-generating miles. At the same time, it reduces the carbon footprint and the environmental impact of the truck’s road trip.
Besides carrying their own product and waste, companies have taken up the practice of filling their vehicles with loads belonging to other companies – including competitors – to reap cost savings and other benefits.
Today, the opportunities for backhauling are even greater thanks to the advent of new technologies, including apps that facilitate the process or link companies up with one another so that trucks top out their load efficiency.
Logistic firms are also tapping on telematics and the Internet of Things (IoT) to generate data-driven insights that can better customize routes for backhaul scheduling.