Accuracy is essential when it comes to trucking. If data isn’t entered accurately, or if undocumented loads are being moved across state lines, a company could be in for a world of trouble come audit time! 

Knowing how to make sure that truckers have accurate and complete records can help you stay compliant and prevent costly mistakes. This blog post is all about helping you understand the importance of proper data tracking techniques when it comes to trucking so you can avoid ghost loads and lost income.

What Are Ghost Loads?

In the freight industry, the term “ghost loads” or “phantom inventory” refers to trucks that appear to be available for transport but, in reality, do not exist. It can also refer to a truck’s capacity, which can be divided among multiple clients; sometimes capacity availability isn’t updated by the shipper, so clients think space is available on a truck and book a phantom spot for their load.

How Do Ghost Loads Happen in the Freight Industry?

Phantom or outdated data can lead to ghost loads and phantom inventory across the industry. But how does it happen in the first place?

As you know, there are multiple marketplaces for e-commerce sellers to list goods and services. This means products and trucks are listed on platforms that don’t always talk to each other when transactions are made. While it’s helpful to have loads and capacity listed on multiple freight-matching platforms or load boards, it’s often the reason for ghost loads in the first place.

For example, when a load is listed on Site A and purchased, Site B may not know about it and still lists that inventory as available. The phantom load is then purchased on Site B, even though it no longer exists.

Why Are Ghost Loads a Problem in Freight?

Obviously, this can be a frustrating and time-consuming problem for trucking companies and drivers who rely on accurate information provided by digital freight matching services (DFM) to plan deliveries and manage resources. 

While technology has made it easier than ever to find and reserve cargo, the phenomenon of phantom freight highlights the importance of vetting load information and confirming that shipments actually exist before making commitments.

How to Avoid Ghost Loads

Freight load management is a complex world, but there’s nothing more frustrating than experiencing ghost loads. These fictitious shipments can lead to wasted time and lost revenue. That’s why it’s important to start at the load boards in order to avoid such headaches. 

Carriers and shippers need efficient electronic means of communication and tracking so they stay on the same metaphorical page when it comes to available inventory and trucks. By leveraging the power of DFM data and real-time updates, trucking companies can stay informed and ahead of any potential pitfalls. 

Digital Ledgers

A digital ledger or blockchain makes it easy to update data and avoid phantom loads. Accessible via the cloud, it means anyone with an Internet connection can see real-time updates. Digital ledgers can help reduce human error and provide information about who has accessed what, and what data has been input.

Digital ledgers and streamlined operations policies can help prevent theft, misplaced items, and enhance safety measures for both cargo and employees. With reliable systems in place, businesses can feel confident in their ability to complete orders on time and maintain a high standard of quality.

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or new to the industry, taking proactive steps toward load-board transparency is a smart move for any transportation business. 

Know You’re Not Alone

Unfortunately, you’re not alone in facing phantom or ghost loads. It’s an industry-wide problem that we all need to work together to fix.

Until there is a blanket solution, such as a DFM that updates every and all marketplaces with load data, phantom data will continue to strike.

Additional Tips for Accurate Data in the Freight Industry

Accuracy is crucial in the freight industry, and there are a few additional tips that can help shippers and carriers ensure that their data is as precise as possible. 

  1. Establish clear communication between all parties to accurately record information such as shipment weights and sizes. 
  2. Get to know your clients so the industry is united and working on the problem together instead of placing blame.
  3. Always double-check the provided data to ensure that there are no discrepancies and that the exact quantities are being reported. 
  4. Consider investing in technology that can facilitate data collection and analysis, such as GPS tracking systems or RFID tags. 

By implementing these tips, shippers and carriers can achieve greater accuracy and efficiency in the freight industry, ultimately leading to successful and satisfying business operations.

Understanding phantom inventory, freight, and loads in trucking is essential for maintaining a reputation for being dependable, and for being profitable as an owner-operator or freight hauler. Being aware of ghost loads and learning how to avoid them can help you make better decisions and maximize profits. Taking the time to track loads and record proper inventory from the loading process can help ensure correct cargo numbers. Also, streamlining data when a truck is no longer available will ensure your information stays up-to-date on all marketplace platforms. 

With the right resources and proper data collection in place, phantom inventory and phantom loads won’t haunt your business anymore! See how Omni Dispatch can help with our efficient eTicket software solutions available to operators, suppliers, and leasers.