Freight Friends: Tugboats, Barges, and Uber Freight’s Carrier Summit Recap
Episode Transcript
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Join Grace Sharkey and Blythe for the latest installment of Freight Friends, where they give some love to the unsung modes of shipping: tugboats and barges. Grace also gives us insight into Uber’s third annual Carrier Summit, and gals close out the show by talking about the illegal ivory supply chain, Hubble Network, and good freight marketing.


  • “Conventionally, tugboat captains move close to the assisted vessel to be able to grab the messenger line from the assisted vessels troops, often even under the bow or in the turbulent. A minor floor in the maneuvering can result in major damage or injuries of the deck crew of both the tugboat and the assisted ship.” – From the video
  • “Most of the sales processes are very manual, and you got to talk to a lot of people, depending on what you’re doing, you may be coordinating across 3456 different parties, each of which you have to communicate individually, depending on your use case. And that creates a really high barrier of entry for shippers.” – From the Open Tug video
  • So we simplify that we’re the first digital marketplace to connect bulk and Breakbulk shippers with transportation and terminal capacity. Customers simply search for their requirements or destinations or cargo and their timeline, they booked that shipment and they track it to their destination.” – From the Open Tug video


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Show Transcript

See full episode transcriptTranscript is autogenerated by AI

Grace Sharkey: 0:05

Aurora Innovation they're working with too in regards to their autonomous capabilities, and they did have a Uber Freight autonomous truck there that we could go see and check out and the driver was there and it was this older dude. As I explained to him. You know, I got this Sirius XM show and I'm constantly trying to argue with these drivers that like this technology exists and he's like it exists. He runs uh from Houston to Dallas every single day in it. He's he explained that it's like it's basically just feels like uh really convenient cruise control. It was. You know it's, it anticipates, you know, potholes and things like that very well, but he's been doing it and he runs that lane every single day. And so for all those out there to say, like that autonomous will never happen, like this driver loved it and you know he's looking forward to continue to move on that lane, to moving forward.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:09

He's looking forward to continue to move on that lane too. Moving forward Welcome into another episode of Everything is Logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight. We are proudly presented by SPI Logistics and I'm your host, Blythe Brumleve. We've got another episode of Freight Friends for you this month. Grace Sharkey is back to share her perspective on all things freight. So, grace, how are you doing? Traveling a lot.

Grace Sharkey: 1:27

Yeah, traveling a lot. Had a nice time in Dallas, texas, recently with the Uber Freight team. That was a good time. Got to go to their carrier summit, so that was fun, and heading to Atlanta here shortly for the FreightWaves event as well.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:43

Heck yeah. Now that was actually a great segue. This is why I like doing a show with other podcasters, because they know how to set up a topic properly, because first up in our show notes is going to be talking about that Uber Carrier Summit. Just to give you a little bit of a roadmap for the rest of the show what have we got? Typically we cover the top stories of whatever we're thinking about this week show. What do we got? We got, you know, typically we cover like the top stories of whatever we're thinking about this week.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:07

We're going, or this month we're actually going to take a little bit of a different approach to it, where we have a couple top stories, of course, but then we're going to get into some unsung modes of freight. So a little bit of a preview there. And then we're going to talk some good freight marketing, favorite freight businesses, and then also get into the favorite of the show which we always save for last, and that's Source to Porch, so where your favorite products come from and how they arrive on your doorstep or in your computer or however you are ordering your products these days, digitally or physically tangible goods. So anyways, let's get to that first topic, uber Carrier. I so for this thing. I saw the notification for this year, but as we were talking in the pre-show, this is. This event has been going on for a while.

Grace Sharkey: 2:55

Yes, yeah, it has. I want to say I don't think it's been going on since it, since the 2017, 18, when they first came to play, but it has been going on for some time. It definitely wasn't their first one ever, but it was their largest. So that's. The cool thing to see is that they continue to add more and more carriers to it and continue to, I guess, add to bigger facilities as well. Part of it is how many people they can invite to it too. So it was really interesting to see and, you know, it's for me personally.

Grace Sharkey: 3:31

The reason I was excited to go is because I think there's you know, I'll be honest a lot of times if I post an Uber Freight article, they do very well and I think a lot of people are interested in. You know, will Uber Freight be the next Convoy? I think that is a really silly argument to even discuss at this point in time, especially they just they bought transports. I mean, you bought one of the well managed, managed services, uh, companies, uh, that's been around for quite some time now. So it's almost like that'd be like saying, if you know Netflix bought Disney, would Netflix fail? You know, it's like it's going to be, it's going to take a lot for that. I think that to happen now and going to this event too, I mean to be honest with you, the carriers, all the carriers I talked to love working with Uber Freight.

Blythe Brumleve: 4:25

Really. Oh, that's interesting.

Grace Sharkey: 4:27

Yeah, and I don't even want to, I hate to say like love, like I don't want to come off as I'm like selling this in a way, but truly like love working with Uber Freight love working especially. A lot of them were a part of their managed transportation segment, so a lot of what they acquired through Transplay. So to hear such positive feedback after an acquisition I think was really positive as well. For someone like myself who is writing about the company, I will say when it comes to their future, I mean, listen, I love a kind of like a all-in coach's speech. You know that you see in like the movies, right that big huddle. I've never seen Leo Ron ever speak before. I've heard him lightly speak and listening to transcripts or anything that we've done here at FreightWaves, but like to be in the same room.

Grace Sharkey: 5:24

This guy is incredibly smart and I really hope that this is kind of what I wanted people to get from the article that I wrote.

Grace Sharkey: 5:33

We're talking about a company that has the exact same tools and resources that Uber itself has. Now, again, uber this last year finally got to profitability and I think clearly that's a positive there. But just as he's like going through his deck and explaining what that means and realizing. I mean, like even today, if you opened up, like the Uber, just the regular Uber app, like you know you're going to take a cab and you scroll down to the bottom, we need, they've got data on all types of services, including rental cars, ride shares. You got the? Um, the scooters right, the bikes, uh, get anything delivered from grocery and personal care, baby specialty foods and like I kind of showcase this right, oh cool. I don't know if you can see it, but I do have a five-star rating, so be jealous, um, but this kind of like, imagine having the data of all these services right for personal people, huh, and what you could do with that to create a really great marketplace of freight.

Grace Sharkey: 6:42

And we're talking like down to how facilities unload or load. I mean to think about the traffic data that they have. Uh, you know, whenever I meet people like leor, I I get nervous. I always have like a question plan just to like, uh, be a weirdo, you know that's, that's something that's not like, uh, I guess, fully related to our industry.

Grace Sharkey: 7:06

But if you don't know a lot about his history, he actually has been working for Google for quite some time, back when he was the founder of Automoto Right now, we can get into the legal case at a different time, right, that's a totally different situation. But outside of that, he worked when he was starting at google. His big job was maps, and so I asked him. I was like, you know, let me ask you this why is apple maps the worst and why is google maps so superior? And he just told straight up he goes well, you have the short answer like yeah, he has resources, money, I mean, he's that was their job was to at google, to like figure out that infrastructure. And he was telling me about the, the fact that, uh, when they had, which reminded me so much of freeways. But when they proposed starting to do the the google maps cars right, that you see collecting data driving around in San Francisco within weeks they automatically wanted to start pushing that nationwide and eventually worldwide. Right to get all that information and just to work for a company who's like, straight, go for it, run after that finish line line.

Grace Sharkey: 8:23

I think you consider someone who's leading an organization like uber freight with that mentality and with the parent company to do that, I think I just get really excited. Because when you talk about, like digital twins, or I mean even down to think about, like what they could do in regards to telling you, like when you'll actually arrive as a driver, like all of the traffic data that they have and all the facility data they have right, if they know that it takes a delivery driver an extra 10 to 15 minutes to wait for the food at a certain location, I'm sure that they have even better that helps in some way of delivering at that location too. Right, and it's I just it's. I get really excited to think about what Uber Freight could become with a parent company that is so forward thinking and revolutionizing something like taxi and mobility. Right, that was the big part. It's like it's all mobility.

Grace Sharkey: 9:22

At the end of the day, how do we get from one place to another? And now we have them looking into, I mean, uber freight's, their third leg. How do we do that same thing with freight? It's just, it's really exciting and you know, to see our good friend lars there and chima there too, like I wasn't even expecting to see them there, right, and when you know people who are running really great organizations that are running with these organizations as well, it's like I'm I'm literally tired of hearing people just put uber freight down. I think that's like what I learned.

Grace Sharkey: 9:53

Walking out of there is like no, this is an organization who, for everyone out there too, I just want to let you know right around the time that they like were buying transplace uber freight's comms team and I would go like back and forth on calling them a marketplace, so like we're not a marketplace for managed trans, and I was like, okay, calm down, like you are a digital freight broker, and they were just like so against that. And over the last couple years I've been fighting me and like how they feel like they should be respected as a managed transportation company and I and I have changed the way. You probably noticed it right around when they bought transplace and started bringing together both those companies because I'm shoot, if you bought it, I might as well let you use it. Um, but you know, honestly, after leaving this and like seeing that they're already working on getting those two together and I'm going to start using using the network that they've built on the managed trans side to bring that same strong network to the spot side, I'm incredibly bullish.

Grace Sharkey: 10:55

So, yeah, I was excited for it. It was really great to meet some of the leaders and they see a lot of the leaders that I've talked to in there, see a lot of the leaders that I've talked to in there. But, on top of it, the biggest thing for me was seeing, like, the carriers, the LTL carriers, a number of I mean, we're talking about hundreds of carriers in there that were excited to be a part of it, and Mexico carriers too. Like, yeah, it was a really good time and I was again super excited that they gave me an opportunity. What?

Blythe Brumleve: 11:22

is sort of the. I guess the landscape look like at the, the, the Uber's carrier conference, is it? Uh, what kind of fleet sizes, mainly larger fleets. Um, how many people are at the conference Like what? What is the? I guess the vibe like there.

Grace Sharkey: 11:37

Also all sorts of large to small. Uh, there were some that I there's like a couple of consultants that I knew that work with more smaller carriers I wouldn't say like off the top of my head, small carriers that were there that I've met A lot of small to medium sized businesses, large fleets there I mean JB Hunt was, I think, one of the main sponsors of it. So there are, of course, all sizes and that's you know, talking with some of them too. They're, of course, all sizes and that's you know, talking with some of them too. It's for them, it's Uber Freight's been a really great resource for them to go to with.

Grace Sharkey: 12:11

Hey, I've got these lanes, I want these covered all the time, like I want to be running them all the time and finding that freight for them has been really easy to do. As, as that group, if anything, it's it's like if they a couple of them I talked to knew if they even mentioned, like wanting to take on more freight, there's going to be something from uber for them. So, especially right in a market like this, to hear that kind of uh, that opportunities out there it was, it's pretty exciting are you in freight sales with a book of business looking for a new home?

Blythe Brumleve: 12:45

Or perhaps you're a freight agent in need of a better partnership? These are the kinds of conversations we're exploring in our podcast interview series called the Freight Agent Trenches, sponsored by SPI Logistics. Now I can tell you all day that SPI is one of the most successful logistics firms in North America, who helps their agents with back office operations such as admin, finance, it and sales. But I would much rather you hear it directly from SPI's freight agents themselves. And what better way to do that than by listening to the experienced freight agents tell their stories behind the how and the why they joined SPI? Hit the freight agent link in our show notes to listen to these conversations or, if you're ready to make the jump, visit spi3plcom. So do they have a load board? How are they matching carriers to freight?

Grace Sharkey: 13:39

So it sounds like the managed side of the business has been very I don't want to say transactional, that's not the right way to explain it but very like uh, the tendering systems easy. If you have any issues are usually easy to to resolve. I know managed can be easier because you are going to the same places over and over again. So it's more of you're just making sure that the carrier is staying uh up to date on it, that bids are going through fine and all that. It's interesting because I did hear a little bit of chatter, especially when I put out the article about their announcement, which was the update to Uber Freight Exchange, that some of those managed transit carriers sound like they're a little bit concerned that they would now be losing out on some of that managed freight from the spot side of the business. But the biggest part of that, as Uber was trying to explain, is that no, if anything, this is going to allow us to now take the opportunities that are on the spot boards, find and, if anything, make those into more managed uh transportation, uh options. Right, I'd be able to pair that up. So instead of just giving you, like you know, managed trans loads that are more inbound, we can give you something outbound as well and fill up your whole, your whole schedule, and so, uh, yeah, that's uh, the exchange was a big part of this, this event, and and it's it's funny because we're talking about it you know, I didn't really get a chance to see if, like tech crunch or anyone had wrote about it, but I think someone would probably hear it initially and say, oh, okay, so you've updated your spot board. Really, what they've done is they've they've combined both systems of trans place and uber freight into one whole system so that you have the ability to see both the spot market and the contract loans available to you all in one place.

Grace Sharkey: 15:37

Oh, wow, yeah, and it's. I mean, I played around with it. It's really great. It's down to like, once you've integrated all of your like ELDs into the system, it'll tell you like you know how far away, exactly how much time that driver has to pick up before close. So you don't even have to like go through and do that math. You can just see all the loads there and say, okay, these are the ones that are going to work for us and grab those and keep it moving. It'll uh, you can open up uh facilities to like see what, uh, what notes are there for it? Uh, soon, reviews are going to be able to be left as well, so you can, you know, review those locations, oh wow, that's gonna be huge for drivers.

Grace Sharkey: 16:18

Yeah, reviewing like shipper locations, which has been like a huge complaint for them for years because of those long wait times exactly, and I and I mean at the same time too, though it's like the Uber Freight is doing a small package and things like that. So how much of that data do they already actually have? You know, like, how much of that have they already been collecting over time as well? So I don't know. It's exciting to me and, again, like for me it's.

Grace Sharkey: 16:45

You know, I try to spend a lot of time with the carriers and more of like, okay, cool, we're all at this event, but how does this actually working for you? And I mean, there's a lot that I carriers I met that I've ever even met before outside of like, of course, lars Chima, some others that were there who you know had nothing to complain about at all. Uh, if anything, they're complaining about other love boards out there that had bullshit on their spots, but other other than that, uh, it was all happy faces and everyone excited to see what's coming up next, and I think there's gonna be a lot more work that we see them doing in mexico. Uh, I think we're to start seeing some really interesting ways that they're paying carriers as well, whether it's parking or it's different things, and more of this driver experience type of solutions. So, yeah, it's pretty cool and I talked to a couple of their engineers and things like that and it's funny, like you know, kind of like hey, let's be honest, you know how's?

Grace Sharkey: 17:52

How's this been like for you guys? I mean, especially for some of the shippers that you had that have been working in transplace for so long. What was that like having them transition into a new system? And you know there were, of course, you know, change management issues and things like that. But I mean, we're a couple of years out of it. They're already pretty much there and they said by the end of the summer they expect all their shippers to be on this new platform and I think it's exciting to see that that's actually happening and good outcomes have come from it so far.

Blythe Brumleve: 18:24

Is it safe to assume that this is maybe one of the first real competitors to like Amazon freight?

Grace Sharkey: 18:31

That's uh, um, I would say so, yes, uh, honestly, I put Walmart probably closer. Okay, if I was like really going to say asset wise, like what they're moving, I would probably Walmart.

Blythe Brumleve: 18:44

Then Amazon.

Grace Sharkey: 18:46

I would probably say Amazon, walmart and Uber's up there too. I mean CH Robinson if you wanted to look at purely numbers, I think they're number eight or nine in the top 10. Uber freight is you still have CH Robinson, you still have DHL and some of these bigger. I think more uh, uh, cause remember, robinson, you still have dhl and some of these bigger. I think more uh because remember they just started touching europe. Uber freight did so.

Grace Sharkey: 19:09

That's just something they're slowly getting into, but they're, I think the last time we got numbers some from them they're at 18 billion dollars, uh, in freight under management. Now, freight under management for everyone out there that wants to know the tricky words that are used in freight tech and journalism under management does not mean that they're booking $18 million. That means that what's been inside their system equals up to $18 million. I just always watch for that. One in particular, foragerager, would always use those numbers. Right under management is over, I think it would say they'd say like a billion bucks, and I'm like but you're not a billion dollar company, so, so just realize there are differences in that stuff. But to know that they have I mean, I know that there's competitors out there that have been trying to reach numbers like that, uh, even under management. So uh, excited for them and excited to see how that grows, uh internationally as well. But I think that just focusing on the domestic trans is probably helping them right now.

Blythe Brumleve: 20:18

Yeah, it's. That's a really interesting play for them because I think for a lot of just guess, casual watch, I would put my myself in that boat, like I'm a casual watcher, where it's you hear of like these other digital freight brokerages, um, go down and then it's just assumed like well, anybody that's kind of following somewhat of a similar business model, like they're, they're going to be in trouble. But with Uber it just feels like they've been ahead of the curve on a lot of this stuff and have moved quicker in anticipation of some of these market shifts. And I wonder if maybe a lot of that data is those early insights to make those shifts into different areas where it's going to be, you know they're going to be able to build a better moat, I guess, for themselves they're going to be able to build a better moat, I guess, for themselves.

Grace Sharkey: 21:07

Yeah, I would, I would think so. Yes, I totally agree there, and this is a conspiracy theory. But I was kind of thinking about it, cause you kind of wonder, okay, what's the long-term goal here? And you would think that if it does become as profitable as as it could, that you would maybe see, maybe it's all becomes its own company at some point. Uh, or maybe we see something cool, because I always like to see where people are going right. I mean, yeah, we see something cool like, uh, flexport acquires or something of that nature, and we, we have bill, right, that's over at flexport now trying to build out the convoy mapping and everything for Flexport now. So it would be cool to kind of see that family reunite again too. But other than that, the team that's another cool thing too. That team over there, sure they like to, they really like to fix things, they like to try to figure out how to improve these systems as well. So power to them, excited to try to figure out how to improve these systems as well.

Blythe Brumleve: 22:05

So power to them, excited to continue to see that grow too yeah, that's super cool, that that sounds like, because it's just one of those.

Blythe Brumleve: 22:13

There's so many damn events that go on, yeah and they all feel like they happen around the same time, and so when I saw that this one was happening, I was like, oh, that's interesting, because you know there's so many companies that are pulling back on events that they're. You know there's a lot of like frozen, you know budgets out there that they're not sending people out there. But this one looked like it was well attended and you know, just based on you know, just having this conversation with you that there was a lot of excitement for the people that were there instead of you know sort of, I guess, the doom and gloom of you know what we hear when with respect to the rest of the market. So it looks like they're making some shifts and they're making, or they have been making, some shifts and they have been making investments and some of those things are starting to pay off where they've. They've set themselves up pretty well for when the market eventually does turn back around.

Grace Sharkey: 23:03

So that well for when the market eventually does turn back around. So that I do want to add to, on that note, aurora innovation they're working with too in regards to their autonomous capabilities, and they did have a uber freight autonomous truck there, uh, that we could go see and check out. And the driver was there and it was just this older dude. I had to have been like late 50s, early 60s, maybe older, and so I was like, okay, cool, I'm like, so let me ask you know people, as I explained to him, you know, I got this uh serious xm show and I'm constantly trying to argue with these drivers that, like this technology exists and he's like it exists.

Grace Sharkey: 23:42

He runs, uh from houston to dallas every single day in it. He's he explained that it's like it's basically just feels like uh, really convenient cruise control, you know it's. It anticipates, you know, potholes and things like that very well. It it's really good at uh maneuvering through traffic. At least the parts know it might be a little bit more autonomous. It's clear I think as he gets closer to like city limits he switches over. But he's been doing it. He runs that lane every single day and so for all those out there to say like that autonomous will never happen like.

Grace Sharkey: 24:19

This driver loved it and you know he's looking forward to continue to move on that lane too, moving forward. So I'm hoping to have him on the serious xm show because I wanted him to talk to some of the audience just about what the experience has been like, since he clearly has so many miles uh in a, uh in a manual truck I guess you could say as well, but that was cool to see too is like okay, cool. They're also into this side of the technology aspect as well, and so maybe it's like it'll turn into like one of those things where you're like looking for, you know, a cab, but you can also choose the autonomous one. Yeah, yeah Right.

Blythe Brumleve: 25:04

Everybody load up in the back. Exactly but yeah, super clutch for big events when everybody wants to ride together. No, not that that would ever happen, but you know yes, yeah, yes.

Grace Sharkey: 25:19

Just give us a straight box truck, that'll work.

Blythe Brumleve: 25:21

Everybody will fit in there and we can just have the handles that like when you're riding the subway or something. Everybody can just hang on to those. Yes, hell yeah sure there's no uh insurance regulations around that. Right, yeah, right oh, I didn't.

Grace Sharkey: 25:35

Yeah, I figured we just didn't have insurance. Yeah, all right well cool that.

Blythe Brumleve: 25:39

That sounds like a good, that sounded like a really good. And I've met, uh, some of the uber team at, you know, different events and stuff obviously with you because you have a good relationship with them as well. So this is sort of like the nail in the coffin that I need to get somebody on um the show soon to talk about all of these cool things going on. So I'm going to make a little note about that for future reference. If y'all want to know how the sausage is made. It's made on post-its, um yeah that or for me.

Grace Sharkey: 26:06

I love this tql notebook. Nice, I love to take this to conferences because I just want someone to like catch me with it especially like broker focused conferences.

Blythe Brumleve: 26:17

Yeah, you just had to trigger a broker.

Blythe Brumleve: 26:19

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Blythe Brumleve: 27:08

All right, now let's get into a little bit of the unsung modes in freight. Now, I wanted to bring this up because I love tugboats. I thought, you know, I had this story idea that I wanted to do something on like the cute boats and I was like, well, majority male audience, they probably don't care about a show that's titled like cute boats. So let's, let's go with unsung modes in freight. And what brought this to the top of my attention again? Obviously that the big cargo ship that obviously ran into the bridge in Baltimore, the key bridge in Baltimore caused the bridge to collapse, but they were finally able to have a controlled demolition in order to bring down parts of the bridge that were holding the big cargo ship in place.

Blythe Brumleve: 28:06

Number one I am a number one fan of sal marcargliano. Just throwing that out there again just in case anybody um needed a reminder. But uh, his youtube channel is I love, well, not love um. When stuff like major events happen around the globe, like sal is the first one to like jump on and make a story about it and he just does. It's so. He is such a lesson in content marketing and how this man went literally from like a firefighter, former merchant mariner, college professor. He still does those jobs as well. Uh, he's the only former job. Is the former merchant mariner. He's still a college professor. Still does like play by play for Campbell university um, professor at the university too, um, but he is now a super popular YouTuber who has close to uh 300,000 subscribers.

Blythe Brumleve: 28:59

I believe, which is insane. I was on one of my like regular sort of news um you know channels the other day that I watch regularly, breaking points, and all in the comments is you should get this channel on what's going on with shipping. You should have him on, cause he'll be able to talk about the. The pier in Gaza. That is, uh, that's a hot mess going on over there. The construction of it is a hot mess, um, anyways. So that that was a little like. Going on over there, the construction of it is a hot mess, anyways. So that was a little like a sidebar there.

Blythe Brumleve: 29:27

But Sal is like the first to put out information, just anything that's going on with like major shipping stories all around the globe. He really has become like, in just a short amount of time, like the go to source for a lot of these global events that are happening. Well, one of those events is obviously the Keystone Bridge, and so a big part of that, after the control demolition, is moving the cargo ship back to port where they can finally get those people, get the merchant mariners off of that damn cargo ship, get whatever cargo is salvageable that's still on that ship, and what plays a huge role in that is, tugboats. And so I was like oh, this is the perfect opportunity to cover tugboats in this show. And I said well, we also have to cover the other sort of cute boats and unsung heroes or unsung modes and freight.

Blythe Brumleve: 30:19

And so the way this is going to kind of work is I'm going to talk about tugboats and then you're going to talk about barges, and then we're going to kind of work is I'm going to talk about tugboats and then you're going to talk about barges, and then we're going to kind of marry these two, uh, mighty, mighty modes of unsung, I guess, freight, I guess I don't know how else to really uh put this. Um, what was your familiarity with tugboats? Um, lots of familiarity, or like, oh, you just kind of noticed them and you know what is your, I guess, knowledge level of tugboats?

Grace Sharkey: 30:48

So, uh, interestingly, bringing that up, uh, I would say, from very low level. I, you know, I spent a lot of time on Lake Michigan, so we see a lot of barges going across Lake Michigan uh, throughout the day, uh, especially if you're just hanging out by the lake for hours on end, and a lot of times those are being pulled by tugboats in particular. So that's one. I've, of course, seen dredgers with tugboats too, and then why do I feel like there's like a child's story about tugboats or something. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's like coming to mind, but that's very little information there.

Grace Sharkey: 31:28

I will say, though, recently there was a company that I did get a chance to write about, who was working on like tugboat visibility and like being able to capture the network of like tugboats available. Yeah, I'll, as you go through this, I'll try to find that really quick and see who that was, but, um, it's uh, when you say unsung, I think, yeah, a hundred percent. It's one of those it's like kind of reminds me of like pilot cars, right, it's like people don't really think about the importance of their role, and like oversized movements as well, uh, but they have a really, really interesting responsibility too. So that's the kind of where my, without doing any research, was limited to.

Blythe Brumleve: 32:12

Base level Cause they are really like the the title of this segment, like unsung heroes, because they really are called in in my research for this. They're called the backbone of the shipping industry Because shipping experts believe that tugboats to be a vital piece into smooth port operations. I could go through like the history of it, but you know sort of too long, didn't read or watch. Really got started early 1900s. They were steam powered at first but now they're trying to. They're mostly diesel powered now but then they're also trying to move into, like the EV world. There are some EVs that are in the tugboat space as well.

Blythe Brumleve: 32:52

And the thing to keep in mind with tugboats is that they're extremely powerful.

Blythe Brumleve: 32:57

They're essentially like just all all power and they're the worst ones responsible. And the reason why I bring up the Baltimore Key Bridge incident or the accident that happened is because in order to move that cargo ship from that location, you have to use tugboats and a big piece of why the accident happened in the first place is because of a lack of tugboats within that port, control that port area. So that's the reason why I had this graphic up from Sal that Sal tweeted out is that the tugboat is like an essential piece for helping to get that cargo ship and steer it in the right direction to get to the port that it needs in order to take care of that business and take care of just getting the cargo off, getting the crew members off and it's. I'm going to play this video really quick because it's it's super cool just to. I have a whole new appreciation for tugboats, so hopefully you guys can see, and I'll play about a minute and a half of this video from Interesting Engineering.

Grace Sharkey: 35:18

So cool.

Blythe Brumleve: 35:19

Thank you um uh well, yeah, so that is like you know, sort of like the, the, the backstory of tugboats and you know how they not I mean kind of the backstory from happening like that in the future and just to be able to use them in tandem with making port operations much more efficient. So there was a couple other key facts here. They said that they can operate solo or as a team to help the mega ships move through a port or canal. If you're looking at the screen right now, you can see two tugboats in action, and so they work together in order to help tackle some of these bigger cargo ships which seem to really only get bigger year. Yeah, like many cities, like year after year, they're just getting bigger and bigger. Many cities, like year after year, they're just getting bigger and bigger. They will also push more than they tow, which is why you see them run right up next to a big cargo ship and push it in the direction that it needs to go.

Blythe Brumleve: 36:53

A lot of the construction around a tugboat is really made of like rubber. So in the video that we just saw, you see a bunch of tires sort of on the side of the boat, and that's by design, so that it's not just that, those pieces of rubber, but the actual hull of the ship can a lot of times be made out of rubber as well. Um, they help put out fires at sea, they help icebreakers through tough arctic routes and, like what you see and the dolly situation, which is what the the dolly ship is, the, the one that was crippled underneath the baltimore key bridge um, it helps it to get to safe land. And now there are also some I mentioned earlier. There are also some extra efforts to electrify tugboats, um, which kind of has a similar debate compared to trucking, which I thought was interesting because there's a lot of like tugboat captains that have their own YouTube channel and it's very similar to drivers that have their own YouTube channel and they, you know, thousands and thousands of followers and they sort of talk about you know the day in the life of a tugboat captain. There was a really great video um that vice released where they sent, like this nerdy little writer, they called him the tugboat guys that are working on that actual boat. We're calling them like, they're making fun of him calling like egon from, uh, from ghostbusters, in case you want a visual of how this guy looks, and then he shows up to a place where it's like a marina with like super, you know tough guys that are working probably 15 hours every day doing hard labor, and then you know you got a guy like Egon that shows up and, you know, wants to know, wants to do a story on a day in the life of a tugboat captain, and so it was really interesting to see the dynamics between the two, that the community is really strong among tugboats, like the crew that works on them, and also within trucking as well.

Blythe Brumleve: 38:45

But back to the electrification, because in that video that we just watched, the power is the most important part, and so the theory is kind of, where you have some tugboats, that when they need the big power, then they're just going to use those tugboats for diesel operations, but then other ones you could might work in tandem where it's maybe not just two but it's three of them and one of them is electrified.

Blythe Brumleve: 39:12

The trouble is is that the EVs got to be able to match the diesel power. It's not quite there yet, but there are some opportunities that you could work in maybe smaller ports or work in tandem. Like I said, there was also another company which I thought was kind of cool because we mentioned with the rubber around a tugboat and how they have to attach a line to the cargo ship, and the tugboat itself is a lot of times made out of rubber, but connecting to the cargo ship, that's where, like, the most danger happens, um, the the most dangerous activities. And but there is a company called co tug that is based out of Europe that is trying to change that, where they use a instead of a tugboat, going directly up to the um, to the big cargo ship, in order to catch the line or to get the line from either, or what they're doing is they are taking um a drone instead and taking the line from a tugboat and flying it over to the cargo ship.

Blythe Brumleve: 40:16

So let me, I'm going to play this video really quick. This video comes from delft dynamics and it's about the Kotug system.

Grace Sharkey: 40:25

Oh my god, that's so scary.

Grace Sharkey: 41:02

Hello, yeah, well, talk about like a no-brainer that you're surprised it wasn't fixed yet right and it's so scary like the boat's like basically sucked into the other boat and they're like aim. Well, it's like because if you're watching, like below deck, right like they have to do that when they come in they have to like throw, and if they're off, like you know, captain lee's like not gonna be happy about it because they have to screwed, they have to back up all the way. We can't do that with that big of a boat.

Blythe Brumleve: 42:29

It's also a lot of danger that happens. With that Vice video that I mentioned, the deckhand, who was also the writer, was getting yelled at constantly because of the way that he was holding the rope and the guy was like. He was like if I see you do this again, he's like I'm going to slap your hand, and I'm going to do it every single time, because I would rather slap your hand and make that muscle memory than for you to lose your fingers, because it can happen just so quickly with a lot of these. You know, just just being on a boat in in general, like there's a lot of issues that can happen, but when you're on a boat all day, every day, like you are increasing those chances of of some kind of an issue happening. So, um, there's one more thing that I did want to share because, uh, I don't know that I've I've talked about it on here before, but I did start a merch store for, um, everything is logistics podcast.

Blythe Brumleve: 43:23

And I made this cutest little mug that I already ordered for myself, so it's called a tugboat respecter. It's cute little um tugboat right on on the front of it american too, hopefully.

Blythe Brumleve: 43:38

You know people would like it as much as I did, because I already ordered one for myself. So if you're looking for for something like that, I'll put a link to it in, uh, the comments, just in case you know. You want to. You want to. You're now a tugboat respecter as well, so that is sort of my, my, my tugboat fandom in a nutshell. So, grace, I think now it's time for you to talk about Barges.

Grace Sharkey: 44:01

Well, you know, right before we get into that, because I did find I sent you I just sent you a youtube video. If you want to pop that open really quick, there is. So there was a come. I knew I. When did I write about this? You know february, okay, cool, so not too long ago. Um, this was actually I like to. A lot of times people come to me with stories, but like once a week I try to find a story that no one's like about that I think is really cool, and this one captured me. This was again in February. They raised $3.1 million and their job is just to bring more visibility and create a marketplace for Tugs, and it looks like they just came out with a Barge one too. So what a great transition. If you to play like just a, probably the first minute of the video should be a good idea of exactly kind of what he's doing too.

Blythe Brumleve: 44:48

Oh, and they're at a plug and play event. So shout out to shout out to plug and play yeah, shout out to plug on the show yeah, exactly I need Flexport.

Grace Sharkey: 45:11

Coyote. Oh um, thank you, love it. Sass, take my money. Sass, take my money. Sass, take my money. Play and play sauce, sass. They said we want it.

Blythe Brumleve: 46:33

We're in.

Grace Sharkey: 46:34

We're in. Let's see, it is a pretty new company.

Blythe Brumleve: 46:47

Oh it's free, oh, jacksport, shout out hey, yeah that's super cool yeah, right like talk I love for shippers. I just pulled up their their website. Open tug is free for shippers wow, that's awesome and so if you click on their website, like it literally just like pulls up. Yeah, you can see it. Um, I kind of want to. We're just going to do a live.

Grace Sharkey: 47:30

Yeah, let's uh-oh I'm a spot open tug. No, I love this. No, I it's. It is interesting too because it's like all this data is available. One of my favorite sites to use when I am on the lakes is this uh site called boatnercom and it's it's just all ais data. So it's, it's not hard to well, brought to you by marine traffic, brought to you by p44, I guess. So you know it. All it all trickles down somewhere, doesn't it yet? But it's uh, I think it's cool.

Grace Sharkey: 48:02

I mean, it's a different type of of marketplace that if and anything. I think is probably even more difficult to to find um, uh connections for right uh, especially if you're going into he I mean, he's 100 right you probably, if you're a shipliner and you're going into a certain uh type of waterway system, there's probably someone you've always used. And whenever we talk about someone you've always used, that means pricewise, you're probably paying a premium price and he's right. The barrier of entry would be difficult to get in there if you did want to open up your own tug situation or own a barge line or something like that. So I just think it's interesting. It's again like this is a huge. People don't talk about this type of mode when you talk about bringing goods into United States. Wow, wow.

Blythe Brumleve: 49:02

If you're listening, we are. We are currently going through OpenTug's website and just clicking around.

Grace Sharkey: 49:07

I just love photos of boats Like that's my favorite too. It's like, yeah, look, see, look, do you need a hopper? Which we're talking about barges, perfect transition. That's gonna be for all of your grains and all of your hopper bulk related needs.

Blythe Brumleve: 49:21

It's just so cool that you can see all of this visualized I didn't know that all because, from what I understand and especially you know, doing like the tug, research is like it. It really is like who you know like it is completely relationship driven.

Blythe Brumleve: 49:38

Um, I would be curious to know like how many like it. It doesn't sound like there's like a load board for barging. It's like you just got to know somebody in order to get your your stuff shipped, especially on on the inland waterways, which, if you're you're looking at the map. You map the Mississippi River that flows through Louisiana and then has all these different waterways that go throughout the central part of the United States. Inland waterways are arguably one of the biggest geographic advantages of the United States. Just watched a video on that the other day.

Grace Sharkey: 50:11

I love that quote. Put that on a shirt. Just watched a video on that the other day.

Blythe Brumleve: 50:14

I love that quote. Put that on a shirt. Well, france owned like the middle part of America, and when I was looking at this map at one point, obviously France owned the middle part of America before the Louisiana Purchase, but it looked like France only owned that part because of the inland waterways from the Mississippi River that dumps out into the Gulf, up throughout the central and sort of towards the western Montana, north Dakota areas. But yeah, they owned all of that land. And then when Britain and France went to war, napoleon couldn't fight a war in the United states in order to keep the louisiana purchase, and so that's why he needed the money to fight the war against britain, and so that's why they sold the louisiana purchase to the united states and you know the the rest is kind of history.

Grace Sharkey: 51:06

So, um, it's, it's not a good history at all times, but definitely a history there well, let's, let's get into the barge talk.

Grace Sharkey: 51:16

Let's talk about barges yeah, actually don't leave this page. Can you go back to that, because I think that actually will help a little bit. So, uh, especially, visualize a little bit more of, uh, the good old barges themselves. So in that first photo and and clearly, if you, if you've probably seen these again in inland waterways, if you're surrounded by Great Lakes, like myself, you've seen a number of these. They're a lot of what you usually see pulled around. Clearly, you're not always moving container ships inland and honestly, I don't think a lot of our inland waterways could take those ships to begin with. So, barges in particular, here's some fun facts for you. So, first thing, they're mostly flat and they're the opposite of tugboats. They don't have a motor or an engine, they're just kind of there floating and, if anything, they need some type of towboat or tugboat attached to it to get them moving from there, and I think that's why they're absolutely flat, which helps them navigate a lot of these waterways so they don't get stuck or they don't get hit anything as they're going through. A lot of what you usually see moving around is the hopper style or the bulk types right there that we talked about earlier. I saw a couple of those this week in myself this weekend myself. There are a number of different types of barges, and they can measure is up to a larger specialist measure up to about 200 feet long, can hold over 3,000 tons of cargo as well, and the ones that you see in the seaports, the ones that are ocean barges, definitely hold more than that. Majority, though, are inland barges, and again they're for more of those small bodies of water, cost effective, can move a lot in the little space, and a lot of them are used actually for oversized loads as well. So if you're moving turbines or things of that nature, you'll see a lot there. Basically, if this thing can't fit on a truck or a rail car, then they're probably on a barge. There's also the deck barges, which is usually more like construction equipment natural rock, stone, large pieces of metal. A lot of times they even move livestock on those too. Yeah, I'm trying to see if I see an inland one on there, but those ones are going to be usually just like the flat Perfect. There we go. That one in particular is called a deck barge. Yep, again, flat for equipment. A lot of times, too, you'll see deck barges used apparently as like dry land for waterway workage. So it's interesting. Actually they're finishing up the new Gordie Howe Bridge here in Detroit, so we'll have two bridges now in Detroit, crossing over to Canada, and there's a deck bridge there that they use it's kind of like a surface in the middle of the Detroit River to help build that.

Grace Sharkey: 54:15

There's also the hopper barges. We went over those. Those are the ones that move more of like grain and bulk loads. There's shale barges, and so those are used for more of the oil and gas industry. They look kind of like the deck barges, but they're usually just like a little bit taller is kind of the way to explain it. Those are apparently highly regulated, though, by the US Coast Guard too, so a lot of times they'll help pull those. There are also liquid mud barges. Those have pipes and pumps on board to help circulate and dispose of fluid, typically used more in inland oil drilling sites.

Grace Sharkey: 55:00

So the ones that you're likely seeing if you're on a lake or you're sitting near a large river or waterway are the inland barges, deck barges and hopper barges, and if you're at more of like a construction site that's on the water, you're probably seeing a crane barge as well. But yeah, these, uh again, I see these all the time, um, and I usually it's funny um, if you want to bring up the site really quick, like I said, I use a site uh here for michigan boats called uh, boatnerdcom. I should bring it to craig see if we can like put it underneath the fire ground. But it's a guy uh who basically just tracks. Uh, yes, love this site. Um, he basically tracks boats and like we'll talk about certain like boat history and barge news oh, I love this.

Grace Sharkey: 55:57

Yeah right, it's so fun, like I just love that there's a person out there that's dedicated themselves to this what a great domain name too.

Blythe Brumleve: 56:07

Yeah, oh yeah.

Grace Sharkey: 56:08

And then if you look, look, I think um is there. Oh see, on the right side it says AIS, quick links. So this is what I use if, uh, so my mom and I will spend a lot of time on the beach during the summer and um, it will, it will. If we see like a boat, we always want to know like what it is, who, where it's going and stuff like that. Um, so if you you click the, did you already click the ais? It's just taking a while.

Blythe Brumleve: 56:35

Yeah, I'll take it oh wait, uh, it shared and sorry it um it opened a new tab and so, uh, yeah, yeah, there's a lot of them, right?

Grace Sharkey: 56:46

uh, zoom in, go over to. Uh, if we zoom in a little bit more, go to the top left, go okay. So that's why I live there. Go, scroll it to the left closer to lake michigan. That's funny. Nope, that's huron. That's other side, other side of the hand.

Blythe Brumleve: 57:05

There you go okay, it's nothing like live navigating right.

Grace Sharkey: 57:11

So, like, this is usually the boats that I'm looking at too, and, if you like, click them. They'll usually show like see, the one that says like great republic or something. Um, right there, yeah, click, click the click the actual boat. It's like a red icon. Yeah, see, so it'll pull up exactly what it?

Blythe Brumleve: 57:32

looks like a little photo. Yeah, so if you're just listening, we are on um aisboatnerdcom and this is all live information, correct?

Grace Sharkey: 57:43

yeah, yep, sometimes it's like off by like an hour or so, but, um, yeah, usually, like if we see a boat in front of us so quickly we'll got on there and it'll show us. And then we click it and see, see what's up with it. That's awesome. It'll usually tell you in the bottom too, like where it's going or where it came from.

Blythe Brumleve: 58:00

That's always cool so cool that there's just like hobbyists out here that is just pulling together this kind of information I know right in order to look at this and then this will actually capture like, um, uh, any type of boat too.

Grace Sharkey: 58:16

So a lot of times during, uh, the summertime, we'll have like big yachts coming through the lakes and it'll tell you, like, what its name is and and all that oh, that's cool.

Blythe Brumleve: 58:27

Yeah, that's so. I I briefly did and I say briefly, um, but I need to do a more in-depth episode on Great Lakes shipping. I had a Rust Belt kid from.

Grace Sharkey: 58:39


Blythe Brumleve: 58:39

Bar and so he's a shipper, so he does a lot of Great Lakes shipping and he was talking about some of the boats that come in and you know different, uh, shipping scenarios and and things like that. But this just is just on another level of all of the I guess just available shipping options, that it's not just the inland waterways but it's it's great lake shipping as well. I would maybe argue that are these so we have obviously like port operations, but then we have great lake shipping, and then we have the interco, like the inland waterways. I think it's probably like the big three of the united states, oh, most definitely.

Grace Sharkey: 59:22

I mean like especially you zoomed out here, like look at all that stuff is moving right now, right. So it's like when I say, like I've used to seeing barges, like I'd say, probably 80 of what you're seeing right now, I'm pretty sure the red ones are barges um, blue ones are our tow or tugboats, um, and then there's like another color, blue, I think also. Sometimes it's like yachts and stuff like that.

Blythe Brumleve: 59:46

So that's awesome, yeah, and if you're just listening again, we're looking at a screen of like almost like Google Maps, but it's all of the Great Lakes in sort of one screenshot.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:00:08

And then you're I mean dozens and dozens of barges, of ships probably tugboats't fully appreciate how much stuff gets just moved all the time and how efficient this kind of shipping is. Because I had pulled up one note that I did want to share. It actually came from Rachel Premack formerly Freight Waves, I believe. Now she's working for a hedge fund, but really writer and she said just with one gallon of fuel, the resourceful barge can chug along for 616 tonnage miles, compared to 478 tonnage miles for rail and 150 miles for trucks. So one gallon of fuel will get you, uh like four times as much as a truck, which is insane. That that's, that's crazy.

Grace Sharkey: 1:00:55

So we're, yeah, unsung heroes for sure in in the world of shipping you, uh, you know you should, we, we could do an episode on one day too. Is that up in the so, up in the upper peninsula? If you see there's a ton of boats by it? It's like, um, it's kind of like the center right now of the screen, uh, right on the border of canada, and if you scroll inwards and michiganers already know this, but a lot of out-of-staters don't know right like, kind of exactly like where your cursor was, yep, so keep going, see, yeah, see, where all those boats are right here in the middle of the screen. Keep nope to the right, right where Canada meets, perfect, yeah, keep scrolling right there.

Grace Sharkey: 1:01:41

So that is the Soo Locks. So we have locks in Michigan, just like the Panama Canal, and basically the boats will come in through there, the water will raise up, then they can go and they travel through it, and then the same thing once they get to the other end, it goes down and they keep traveling through the Lake Superior too. So I visited there. It's really cool.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:02:07

It almost looks like they're suffering from port congestion as well, which is somewhat recent news that a lot of ports around the globe are suffering from port congestion, especially everything that's going on in the Suez Canal and Panama Canal, and so all these ships are being diverted, so it looks like they got some congestion going on too, which is kind of crazy.

Grace Sharkey: 1:02:26

Well, and if I remember correctly, there's only one in and one out. It's where I, where I think a Panwell's got like two lanes right, Two or somewhere between two and four lanes. This I'm pretty sure it's just one lane each, so it's like one boat at a time. I'm pretty sure that is coming through, but maybe we should do an episode on that. Yeah.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:02:45

We should do great like shipping in in canals, and then I also think something on icebreakers. So hopefully you know, if you're, if you're listening, be on the lookout for those episodes in the future and to to the haters that that steal our content ideas and try to do them first, We'll know.

Grace Sharkey: 1:03:04

Well, that know. If you want to go into this too, we can talk about lesser transportation, and one of my favorite boats is actually built to break ice too. What we're going to do now is we're going to, so I literally want to tell everyone this is my favorite boat of all time.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:03:21

I think I just brought it up, the SS Badger. Yes, ss Badger.

Grace Sharkey: 1:03:25

Yes, the SS Badger, my favorite, absolute favorite boat of all time. It has an identical twin called the ss spartan that hangs out in luddington. This is where, um, I spend that's probably me waving from that, uh, from that lighthouse there, yeah, uh. So I, uh, I spend at least probably two to three weeks every summer uh, out on the summer add-on holidays in a city called Ludington, michigan, and it's connected to one of our still used US 10 waterway highways and it runs the SS Badger. So this starting Memorial Day until I want to say it's it's actually extended sometime in November Uh the Badger will uh run back and forth from uh, michigan to Wisconsin and a lot of people use it. So to get let's start back in its history. It originated in 1952 as a rail car ferry, so it actually was. They put rail cars off of the trains into the boat to get it over there a little bit faster, and over time it actually became more of a commercial and car ferry. So instead of having to drive through Chicago to get to Wisconsin, you can jump on this thing for four hours and get over to the other side very, very quickly, and it's actually now one of the well, there's 14 vessels that were running back and forth back in the day, but now this is the only one left. Like I said, it does have a twin it's the Spartan. If we had Boat Nerd open, you'd see the Spartan sitting there. It again looks exactly the same. The spartan only sits there, though, uh as uh, a parts server for the uss bad or the ss badgers. So, basically, seeing that it's twin, if a part breaks down in the badger, they just go take it off of the spartan and they put it on this thing. So it's kind of cool. The Spartan's always sitting in Ludington all day long. It never moves. It actually is now a National Historic Landmark as of 2016. It's the only National Historic Landmark that does physically move, and it is a state landmark for two States, not only Michigan but for Wisconsin as well, and it goes into Manitowoc, wisconsin.

Grace Sharkey: 1:06:00

I've been on it. So here's the thing I've been on it for a tour, but I've never actually taken a trip on it. So that's something I want to do at some point. My parents have done. They do a really cool 4th of July dinner where on the 4th of July, after it comes back so it leaves at 9am in Michigan, comes back to Michigan by 7pm from Wisconsin, and so afterwards they'll it'll take the boat, will go out into the ocean or into the lake a little bit and then you can watch the fireworks from the boat, which is kind of cool. It kind of looks like the Titanic. Yeah, it's pretty sick and it's cool because you know it honks every time it comes into shore.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:06:46

What happens during? This might be a dumb question, but during winter time can these ships still operate? Are there levels of ice over?

Grace Sharkey: 1:06:58

it or layers of ice. They used to operate during the winter time, um, because they are built to break ice. Uh, that's kind of an interesting thing about those. They can. They can, uh, they're redesigned, I think, in the like early 60s or something, to to break ice. But I just don't think they run anymore because I don't think, uh, it's just needed, like, there's not enough volume of of users. It's really it's easy for uh for them to fill it out, I think, during the summertime, but a little bit harder during the winter time for them, uh, so I think they do shut down for that reason. Uh, here's, and this is uh.

Grace Sharkey: 1:07:33

When I say it's my favorite bow, I know all of you out there who are like grace. You know you are, you're a sierra club member, you, you still give money clean water action. Uh, this is still a coal burning bow. It's one of the only ones still left on lake michigan, I think, if not the only one. A A couple of years ago it did get a new I don't want to say engine, because I don't think it was exactly the engine, but it did. Basically, it used to burn coal and then dump the coal into the water. Yikes, yeah, not great Right Now. It doesn't do that, it still burns. It still burns a little bit of coal. It's not fully cool operating, but still does burn coal, uh, and instead now they dump the ash, uh, they offload the ash at the end and actually goes into making cement.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:08:23

So oh, that's, that's super smart yeah, they have found out.

Grace Sharkey: 1:08:27

But you know a lot of people were against my I love. I have some friends from my college years who were very no, no, I I spent a lot of time fighting coal ash. I'll just say that I I did. I fought a lot of coal ash in my college years so a lot of people were very um mad at me for for loving this boat so much. But I just it's so big and so beautiful. It looks like like the titanic and Titanic and it's awesome because it moves a number of trucks a day.

Grace Sharkey: 1:08:58

Most commercial trucks that are hauling in it are actually hauling turbines, but they are so I think in that first YouTube clip I sent over that's them loading up, I believe trucks to go into there, I believe trucks for it to go into there, and a lot of it, because in Traverse City we have a big turbine wind turbine producer. Instead of paying the oversized fees to go like through Chicago and Illinois, instead you just like put it on this boat and you have to worry about any of it and it gets there in four hours. I mean, can you imagine driving an oversized load of turbines through four states? Whoosh, yeah, chicago traffic Eesh.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:09:43

Yeah, and take the barge in a nice little waterways trip.

Grace Sharkey: 1:09:48

Yeah, and get a nice view the driver gets to. Yeah, it feels nice. Yeah, save some hours right, because you view the driver gets it feels nice. Yeah, save some hours right, because you turn the truck off, you have to worry about it. Uh, it's true. Um, did you find that I?

Blythe Brumleve: 1:10:00

wonder, does that count towards your, your, your driving time?

Grace Sharkey: 1:10:03

if you're a truck driver, you're sitting on the barge I'm gonna, on and without the education, say no because you turn your truck off. Yeah, true, I mean there's, uh, there's some movie theaters in there. There's, uh, cafeterias there's, I think I'm pretty sure there's like beds that you can sleep in if you want to. So it's like, uh, it's a good time, uh, it's, you're not just sitting there waiting four hours, there's actually things to do. Apparently there's like a big bingo, the big bingo situation. You know me, I love bingo. Um, so I just need to get on this boat and but one of my best friends from college actually lives on the other side of it too. So we always joke like I just sent the boat to go pick you up. Um, but yeah, if you want to show is a if you see it where it's, I put in my notes moves thousands of commercial loads a year. Um, that should be. I just highlight it for you.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:10:59

That should be oh, okay.

Grace Sharkey: 1:11:02

And then they also move something cool. Well, we'll, we'll show this one first. I will say too they also uh, in recent years got a new uh social media. You uh uh like person, so they're like on tiktok now, yeah, exactly, they're on youtube and I'm like very proud of them so look, now you're gonna have to get a tiktok, so you can see all of these things before they make it over to instagram the day I make a tiktok is the day they take tiktok down.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:11:35

They better not god, I hope they don't. It's the easily the best social media app. As we're about to play a youtube shorts, that is, uh, it's this video. If you're just listening, it's, um, it's loading and unloading uh, large tractor equipment using a semi and it's going on to the ss badger, so that I think that's what you know what grace was talking about when referring to, um, some of these, these large items that can be shipped using, you know, a boat like this. So definitely like another unsung hero, which now there's another shore underneath that and this is like.

Grace Sharkey: 1:12:19

This is all right. This is what they're, like, famously known for for moving these, uh, yeah, right underneath not that one uh, no, no on my notes if you see it, oh, let's see. Okay, so now they're they're famously known for moving Clydesdales, so oh yeah um, they do this, I think, every single year, uh, and they've been known for for a while. It's just a faster trip for uh, for them, if you don't know what.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:12:49

Clydesdales are on the horses too.

Grace Sharkey: 1:12:52

Oh yeah, I think they could fit five trucks in there.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:13:28

Jesus, I love that. That was such a good. If you're wondering what that sound was, that is a YouTube shorts deciding to automatically play the next video in in the feed as soon as we watch some cute little horses.

Grace Sharkey: 1:13:40

Exactly Transported onto I love shorts, but yeah, so that's that's. That's my favorite bow, it's. It's my mom and I've. We love, we always love to go sit and watch the sunset and watch this boat come in. And it's, it's loud, it's just. I love boats because, especially on like big bodies of water, you know they're just like they're there and then they're not there. You know they just like come out of nowhere and they're just. You always see this thing from very far away. It's like a little dot and then it just like slowly gets massive and it's just like the coolest boat and the.

Grace Sharkey: 1:14:18

You know the history of it and how long it's been here and also just how important it is. I mean it is very, very important. There was a year that it was actually um shut down because, if I remember correctly, it hit a rock or something like out in the bay somewhere, and so there was a year that it didn't run at all and they were like going through new ownership or something, and just think of everyone that moved oversized loads that year. I mean, if you know, if you look at Michigan, you don't want to take an oversized load north. Hell. No, you don't want to do that. That would be miserable trying to go through the porcupine mountains that way. No, uh, I would never do that.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:14:57

And then you definitely want to porcupine mountains. Is that what?

Grace Sharkey: 1:15:00

you said yeah, yeah never heard of them.

Grace Sharkey: 1:15:03

They're, um, uh, so like you go, yeah, they're like over here and, um, so you definitely don't want to do that. And then you have, uh, chicago, which is like who would want to take an oversized load through there? So it is talk about like an interesting way that we move oversized loads through the United States, especially. I mean even like, if you're shipping even from somewhere like anywhere on the East Coast, you're likely probably coming in through Michigan and taking that route instead of having to go through multiple cities. If you can get through Michigan and up into there, that's easy way out.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:15:40

Wow, michigan, kind of a shipping, unknown shipping powerhouse as far as that's, especially when you think about all of the states in the United States, like who is you tend to think of? Like more like port cities, traditional port cities, but Michigan is also a port city as well, correct? Because of all the waterways.

Grace Sharkey: 1:16:00

Yeah, I you know. I think that's why we have, like we have, so many different cultures, especially around Detroit. I mean, the fur trading was huge in this area. I think about the way that we expanded out west, I mean Michigan was, I think, just so important to. It was an economic importance to just how their country grew and really, until you get to the Mississippi River, there were no other huge bodies of water like that that you could take advantage of and moving things as well. So we should do a Michigan episode soon and I bet you that could get really interesting if we actually put some research into that as well.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:16:43

Yeah, well, I wrote that down for a future episode idea because I liked doing like this Hopefully other folks enjoyed it as well. Like this that hopefully other folks, you know, enjoyed it as well. But like this kind of segment that's a little bit away from like news, news and more of like what's some other parts of shipping that are just cool that I don't really understand all that well. And so, using this, you know you, using this show with you as as a, as a vehicle or, you know, to research, you know pun intended, um, for for a lot of these, this, these things that I want to learn more about. So this was cool, so we'll definitely do that. We'll do canals in the future, too, and I really want to do one on ice breakers. So, um, maybe that'll be our like sort of go plan here for the next actually, especially with lake uh, lake superior.

Grace Sharkey: 1:17:30

I think it'd be really interesting too yeah that freezes over pretty much every year.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:17:36

All right, cool.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:17:36

Well, let's shift gears a little bit and get into some good freight marketing.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:17:40

This is a newer segment that I kind of just sprung on you at the last minute, so no worries if you don't have anything planned for it, but I just think that there are a you know a handful of not I think I know that there are a handful of companies that are starting to really kick it up a notch when it comes to their marketing and I keep full disclosure.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:18:01

I keep like a bookmarked folder for like in my email and on Twitter, slash x, on all different social media channels, where if I see somebody doing really good marketing in logistics, that I'm going to save it and use that as ideas to send to my clients to be like hey, these are some of the different methods of marketing that that you can take. Um, you know you could be thinking about or you could maybe be deploying, not to straight up copy these people, but to use it as inspiration that, like you don't have doing, like the same boring images and you know a printed mag that's like a truck driving around a mountain that you know 20 other companies have used that same exact image and the european truck too, oh my god don't get me started.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:18:48

there are some companies that are out there that are doing some good things. I got a couple things off to the side here that I just like to keep tabs on, even though I just mentioned that I keep a lot of things in a digital format. But these are actually like physical items too, because in a world of, you know, just getting inundated with like just overload of emails and social media posts and things like that which is important, of course but to get something in the mail, I think it just takes it up a notch where you're getting something from somebody that they took time out to ship it to you. So the first one I wanted to mention is Zelle Logistics, who has been on the show before. So they just released their new paper called the Zelle Times, and, privately, though, the way that they did this is that they reached out to a bunch of different folks. Grace's got it too, so we got our freight marketing segment down, that's so funny.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:19:44

It's called the Zelle times. They basically use this, as you know, showcasing their subject matter. Expert.

Grace Sharkey: 1:19:49

Also the sound right Like oh, who does it?

Blythe Brumleve: 1:19:52

like a true paper. You can sit down in the morning, you can have your cup of coffee and you can read the zel times. And it really is. There's so much to this, like you could see on the back, like they got I didn't even see the cartoons on the back there's crossword puzzles there's. You know, if you have ever, you know, sort of had a, I guess, a ritual of reading, I used to read the paper in the morning, every morning. My parents I grew up watching them read the paper with their coffee.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:20:22

And uh, back when I used to get like the, you know, the sunday paper, when you get all the good coupons and um, even like that well, the best day of the year was Wednesday before Thanksgiving, when you would get the giant newspaper and you'd have all of the Black Friday deals, and that was just like the best, because you could sit down and you could go through all of the different sales and then plot out where you're going to do all your shopping. But this kind of that gives me. This paper from Zelle gives me some of that nostalgia feeling back. So, um, shout out to to to Zelle. They've you know um, they've been a guest on the podcast before. Actually, one of our, our, our top videos ever is um is is Chris Fields talking about his 15 years over at TQL and all everything that he learned from there good and bad um and how he applies it over at Zelle.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:21:13

So this is one of a really cool, you know, marketing initiative that they did. They also at Manifest they offered us some time to be able to come over and record an episode of Freight Friends at their booth, and so that was really exciting, too to be able to do that. That was another really creative marketing play where you're taking your booth space and you're essentially cutting it in half, but you're inviting a bunch of like podcasters and creators to use that booth space, and it's just that's think of ways to get people.

Grace Sharkey: 1:21:44

Everyone was looking at us. Yeah, Mostly because I was screaming nonsense into a room.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:21:52

but I mean, it's just a cool vibe. You have that atmosphere and you have a company that's sort of forward thinking when it comes to these kind of things. Another company that I wanted to give a shout out to is over at Load Partner. I think they have the cutest logo with their little cowboy hat, and so they have Load Partner, which is like AI phone calling.

Grace Sharkey: 1:22:12

You got one of those, yeah, oh wow, garrett, garrett. I want to send Garrett a DM right now.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:22:21

So Garrett for folks who may not be aware, he is one of the co-founders over at Load Partner. He has been working in freight for most of his life and information technology that sort of thing Started out Load Partner and it really helps with doing the monotonous task of a freight broker job check calls and things like that All of those annoying tasks. They are actually using AI in in innovative ways. You know, you hear a lot of companies that are talking about AI. Well, he is knowledgeable, like the most, probably the most knowledgeable person in maybe all of freight. I don't want to one of them, I'll say one of them because I haven't talked to all of them, but he definitely knows his stuff when it comes to AI. And these are the kinds of people that I think are the most valuable to our industry the ones that have the industry experience, but the ones that are also hungry to learn about new ways of solving problems and new ways of doing things.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:23:19

And I also love this approach too. It's very similar to what Reid at Lost Freight did with a lot of his Please Advise hats, where he sends off just a handwritten little sheet of paper. And that's what Garrett said too just the very small efforts. You mail a little package of paper, and that's what you know garrett said too, just the very small efforts. You mail a little package of their logo, 3d printed as well. So he's also a 3d printer, in case you know.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:23:41

You, you can't really see the little guy, but he's so cute, hopefully yeah, you can't really see it on, uh, this camera setting, but I, I love their logo. I think it's fun, I think it's fresh, I think it's cute and it still, you know, sort of sends I rings true of like the initiatives that they are trying to take. So I'll put that episode link in the show notes in case you want to hear more about Load Partner. I need to make a note of that now. But any other good freight marketing that you've seen that you want to shine a light on, shine a light on.

Grace Sharkey: 1:24:15

Well, I? I did just message garrett on twitter. How do I get your cute keychains?

Blythe Brumleve: 1:24:17

because that's the second time I've seen those and I didn't realize they're once again on the list, huh yeah, I had on the radio show twice, garrett you better, but I will say I was trying to defend you, garrett I will say too I jumped on here and we won't get into it, but there's some Twitter drama going on right now.

Grace Sharkey: 1:24:36

It's nice.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:24:38

Are you going to cut this early? No, okay, let's go check it out, definitely.

Grace Sharkey: 1:24:42

I'm going to have to call someone afterwards to get this hot tea, but it's a nice little back and forth going. No, it's so, garrett, good Garrett. So, garrett, good Garrett, got the message. No, I do. I love that for you, that you got Garrett's toy.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:24:56


Blythe Brumleve: 1:24:58

I love forward thinkers and I love when people take the extra step of sending something in the mail.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:25:06

Like, think of how much fun it is to get nowadays to get like a card from someone to get a thank you note from someone, days to get like a card from someone to get a thank you note from someone.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:25:16

And I've also heard, like marketing reports that you know, just sending things in the mail has been such a huge win, like ROI wise, for a lot of companies to be able to not just send gift baskets but send something that is a little bit more meaningful and I think it took a little bit more time but still also promotes your company. Like how many companies are out there sending snail mail? So I just wanted to give you know a quick shout out to to those um two businesses, as they are, um, taking a much more, uh, I think, a better approach to their marketing than that A lot of other companies could could learn from and maybe deploy, especially, you know, come holiday season, when you know don't send like popcorn buckets and things like that, like that's no, it's fine, but so don't worry, like a yeti mug, like uh, so this is actually from the holiday season and I never ended up posting about it because I was sick for a while.

Grace Sharkey: 1:26:07

Um, but I ended up using it, so do you? Did you happen to get a holiday gift this year from tenny group I?

Blythe Brumleve: 1:26:13

did not Okay. So I was a guest on Tenny Group what the hell.

Grace Sharkey: 1:26:18

Well, and you're gonna, you're gonna love this. Uh. So Tenny Group, actually this past year and here's my way now to share my story with them Um, they set a really cool holiday box, uh, and, and inside of it I'm not kidding you was a hundred dollar bill, Um, and it was, yeah, well, so, it has a story.

Grace Sharkey: 1:26:40

Thanks, so it was. They called it their blessing box and the point of it was they wanted you to give that a hundred dollar bills to a charity, an organization. They basically pay it forward in any way that you could Share the story you know, so that people will know. Tiny group. My apologies Again. I had pneumonia for like all of Christmas into January, so I never ended up posting about it. But I will say it was really cool for me because basically there's people all over the united states that deal with this.

Grace Sharkey: 1:27:18

But when I was in college there was a moment in time where I was real poor. I was working at a startup for only commission uh, I think I made less than twenty thousand dollars that year and um and my roommate and I were having just a tough time with our financials. We were just graduating, juggling, you know, school bills and starting new jobs, and so she was a nonprofit. So we're just both like dirt poor. And also this is why this weekend, the weekend that this was happening, we kind of lived in the hood and our whole neighborhood had their like tire slash, so, like we, we had to like go and get new tires and it was like. So we were just like desperately broke. And it was the first time that, like we couldn't pay our, our, our light bills. And so you know something that my parents you know there's certain bills that you always, always you need to be on never pay. It's just the first time that we ran into the situation. So I, long story short, I end up going to border water and light, getting in line and it's like maybe I can get an extension, which I actually easily do. But you know, I'm kind of young at the time, didn't realize. So I'm in line and I'm explaining the guy, you know, just to hit hard times, is there a way that I could pay even like $10 now and we'll come back and try to pay the rest next time, like not trying to get our stuff shut off.

Grace Sharkey: 1:28:42

And, um, there was a and I remember cause she was just decked out in Michigan state gear and it was an older woman behind me who was like heard our conversation and like stepped up and said, listen, it's the holidays, I want to pay it forward. You're a spartan, I have my spartan gear on here. What's your bill? I'll pay it for her. And it was like, just like the one time in your life you're just like, oh my god, like people like this exist, like. So what I ended up doing with my tiny bucks uh, as I ended up again it was about christ Bucks is.

Grace Sharkey: 1:29:14

I ended up again it was about Christmas time, so I went to Consumers Energy, which is our local energy provider. I actually broke it up into four, so $25 each and I sat there. I brought a book with me and as people started to come in to pay their bills, I was just like, hey, I just want to let you know what this Tenny Group is doing. And here's 25 bucks, go ahead and put on your bill while you're going in there. And so it's just like that quick joy, right, it's kind of like, if you've ever been in like a Starbucks, you've ever been in a Starbucks pay it forward situation. It's like, oh, it brings you like so much energy for the day, just knowing that, like humans are still, you know, thinking about others and so shout out to the tenny group.

Grace Sharkey: 1:29:57

But I thought that was not only an incredible way for for me to make sure that you know I'm keeping up with what you're doing, but, honestly, for a group who is financially focused and and looking to you know, explore this space and it's just said. I mean I know I think Ryan got one as well. Schreiber, showing that they want to, you know, pass that buck along, was just absolutely incredible. And I can tell you there's four, four families, one in particular who was like I actually really needed this. That was very, very thankful for it, so that I think, oh, oh, shout out to them, I'll take back my, my, my negative sentiment of them not sending me again.

Grace Sharkey: 1:30:39

No, but like they should, right. I think that's just so cool, and when I got it, I remember I remember opening it because I'm like more of like a.

Grace Sharkey: 1:30:47

I'm like when it comes to gifts and stuff, I'm just like a destroyer of things. You know I'm just like. I remember first, oh yeah, like did they just send me a hundred dollars? Cause I think this is like I actually accept this and I like open the card, I was like, oh my God, this is really really cool and, and you know they're like think of fun ways to give back and what you can give it to I.

Grace Sharkey: 1:31:09

I remember who Ryan said he ended up giving his oh, backhaul direct cares is who Ryan ended up giving his a hundred bucks to which I let's see Backhaul direct cares is impacting the local community in Indianapolis Interesting, I need to look that up, see what they're doing. But yeah, I think it was a cool way to thank us for for the work that we do with the tenny group, but also remind them that like, hey, especially when it comes to the financial side, like let's be honest with this industry, you're kind of you. You see just so much uh, money flowing, in particular and and mna, action that you. It's good to know that there's a really um good group of people with full of incredible women too, yeah, running that company, so really pumped about that one.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:31:59

No, that that's a really, that's a really cool one to to bring up, because it's it's one thing just to send like 100 bucks to someone, but it's another thing to ask them to, to do something that's going to have an impact on them, uh, mentally.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:32:13

And then also for for other folks as well, like kind of like a little bit of hope that you're giving people, and especially around a time that you know if you're, if you're stressing about paying bills around the holidays, that's just an extra stressful time because you're also probably worried about getting gifts and things like that. And that little bit can go a long way, like as someone who used to live out of a weekly rental hotel or like a bed and breakfast. Any little bit went so far, and you just never know what people are dealing with or struggling with. And so good on you for also like going there and just like sitting there and just waiting for the right opportunity, instead of maybe just handing it to the first person that walks through the door and say my job here is done. But yeah, you too for doing that.

Grace Sharkey: 1:33:01

Well, you know it's again, like you said, during the holiday season. I mean 25 bucks is like wow, if I can put this towards my bills and then have 25 dollars to buy gifts for my kids, like that's. That's depending on how you're splurging. I mean that's a good amount of presents that you can give people too, and so, uh, and it's that time of the year where you know you just it's cold in michigan, you don't want shut off or anything like that, and oh, true, yeah, so there's nothing, nothing worse than getting stuck in that, and I I remembered what it was like.

Grace Sharkey: 1:33:31

You know, if I could, you know, I wanted to spread it a little bit more, and I will say, though I did the first couple ones in particular, thought I think they thought originally I was gonna ask for money, the way that I was like kind of oh no so I, the first, like they're like what you know so.

Grace Sharkey: 1:33:49

So yeah, I will say I ran into that. I think I was like no, no, I don't need money, I'm trying to give you money, so they're like oh great, yeah, well, that that's uh, I'm like I I won't lie, I probably did look a little homeless yeah well, that's, uh I.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:34:08

I think your story just kind of cements it that this is going to be a regular segment in our shows Good freight marketing, especially when it's from the heart. A lot of times I always think around the holidays of like gosh, how can I help, what are some ways that I can do it? And it's always something like kind of on the back burner and then the holidays pass and it's like, well damn, I should have done something and I didn't do it. And so getting ahead of it now, I think, is a, you know, a really good idea to start thinking about. You know what kind of, uh, what kind of things you can do that that will be impactful, not just, you know, from a business perspective, but also from a personal perspective. And if you can blend the two together like you're, you're just you're, you're double dipping in the best way possible. So a shout out to Teddy group. I'll make sure I got to add them in the show notes too.

Grace Sharkey: 1:34:56

I you know, as a smooth transition, I do have another marketing slash source to what I'm calling systems today.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:35:05

Okay, because. I will say mine kind of blends, like as far as like businesses and a source to porch, mine kind of blends together. So if you businesses and source to porch, mine kind of blends together. So if you want to run, let's go, let's hear it.

Grace Sharkey: 1:35:17

Perfect, let's do that. So there's, I want to start off with this. When it comes to marketing, especially in technology, like, I feel like our industry needs to do a much better job of like dumbing it down and helping people understand exactly what the hell you're trying to say and what you're fixing, and that I think, with so many different, uh incredible, like graphic designers and and people in like the visual space, I just feel like, more than ever, that can easily be done. And so, with that being said, uh, there was recently a company that was brought to my attention. Uh, well, actually, I stumbled on a video first and then I started doing research on the company and it. They just recently got an investment round and, uh, surprise, surprise, our our favorite jet mccann list from Project 44 was a part of the investment round.

Grace Sharkey: 1:36:14

So I was like, oh, this is just turning into a family situation and so, long story short, there's a video I want to show. It's a little long, but it is a concept that I think is really going to do something incredible for our industry. But it's really fucking high level shit. That like, if you ask me why this is cool, I wouldn't be able to explain it, but they do an awesome job in this video of explaining why it was impossible to do before and what they're doing now to fix it. So if quickly. This is a company called Hubble, hubble Network and they have become the first company to connect a Bluetooth connection to satellites down to earth, as of I want to say it was earlier this month Did I put that in there for?

Blythe Brumleve: 1:37:07

oh yeah.

Grace Sharkey: 1:37:08

I couldn't find it on YouTube. I only could find it on their LinkedIn page, which I also love. Like go slay, we're a LinkedIn family, love that. But also go put it on your YouTube page. Like I don't know, I don't know why it's not on there. I'm saying this to you actually just during the show, sending a chat with them, so hopefully you'll see an article on what they're doing soon, but this video helps explain why this is so difficult to do in the past and what this can mean for the future.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:37:41

I think of logistics as well, so do you want to play the whole thing?

Grace Sharkey: 1:37:46

Yeah, let's play the whole thing if we can.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:39:21

I might cut it off near the end, but OK, a good couple minutes, uh, thank you okay, thank you now.

Grace Sharkey: 1:41:07

Thank you, I love this guy. No-transcript. I think that's the end of it. I think that's the end of it.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:44:19

Yeah, first company in history to actually do that To connect a Bluetooth chip to a satellite.

Grace Sharkey: 1:44:27

So it's like that's truly the real-time data that they're able to pull and what's happening right now, compared to any delayed or a lot of times. I think it's more of like uh signal connections being sent out right in certain frequencies, and so I'm actually uh this is maybe a preview to some work you'll see from me like literally, as we're in the last like 10 minutes getting uh, some uh availability from alex so you've seen the video to talk to him about what that means for logistics. But in terms of marketing, right, like super cool, like screw a deck.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:45:01

Like, if I go do that video, I had the money guys.

Grace Sharkey: 1:45:05

I would be in too, but I just think it's on top of that to talk about. You know, source to port, like how are we getting data to our systems? How can we get data to the systems faster? How can we? You know, it's interesting because this is something like I never realized until I started, especially just going on like Boat Nerd today, right, like a lot of those ships, like that's, that's satellite data that's being updated right every hour. It's not, it's not actually real time, um, but you know, it's the closest that we can get to real time and that just imagine what we could actually do if we could have us the bluetooth capabilities to connect in these right, like any device. Like, and talk about integrations, like, uh, I don't think the integrations would be such as a problem because we already have this technology, right, bluetooth technology available here on earth.

Grace Sharkey: 1:46:03

Adopted, widely adopted and he's right, like he says in the beginning, like the, the real problem that they have like and I think this is goes back to a lot of the uh, uh, anger maybe that you see from customers when they are told that something's like going to give them real time visibility and it doesn't truly give them. That is, that it's impossible to get real time visibility because how the network is set up, so I don't know. I just I saw that video and I was like that's really cool and I think we talk about so many applications too Right Like like it even kind of plays into my, my topic next, like it's, it's uh, yeah, it's.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:46:44

It's definitely one of those things where it's super cool name. Like how do you have a title called chief, what is it? Chief space officer.

Grace Sharkey: 1:46:53

Like yeah, so so cool. Does that guy look strong? Title I, I, I just those are. Those are the type of people that I, that I just that's why I love this job. Like I just love meeting these like these guys who are just like of and girls, but like these people obsessed with something that I wish I could wrap my brain around, like nothing gets worse.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:47:15

Like wanting to tackle it like and not just wanting to but going after it, and I mean we might've just seen like a six minute video, but that was obviously like years and years of work and tireless nights and you know, making sure that every you know all of the the nights and you know making sure that every you know all of the, the t's are, you know, crossed and i's are dotted, like that is an insane amount of work yeah, it's so crazy so I don't know me.

Grace Sharkey: 1:47:42

I'm space bullish to the end of it, like I'm now. We got bluetooth up there. We should start blasting out music of Russia and stuff. Spotify shared playlists are going to be. Uh, Tortured poets departments is blasting over Russia right now, Thanks to the Hubble network.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:48:05

It's creative solutions over here.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:48:09

No, that's a really cool one. Um, yeah, I guess this is probably a good time to segue into my source, to porch, which is also a favorite business that's going on in freight. And so I want to talk about Telemetry Solutions. They make tracking devices for wildlife and they teamed up with National Geographic for an investigation into illegal ivory trade and so like, as you were talking about, you know, hubble Network. I'm thinking that Hubble. I'm sorry you know Telemetry Solutions, but you know you might want to partner up with Hubble Network too, because it seems like it has like a lot of you know, collaboration that that's going to be taking place.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:48:52

Now. This documentary is a handful of years old, but for folks who may not be aware, because I follow telemetry solutions because of the tracking devices and so what they did, well, let me back up because they're trying to track illegal ivory trade. And so, for people who may not be aware, you know ivory comes from the horn of a rhino or elephant tusk. It's used in a lot of like Eastern Asia medicines I'm going to use air quotes for medicines because it's not necessarily. It's basically like the makeup of like a, a fingernail, which is what quote-unquote ivory comes from, and so it's used in a lot of medicinal purposes, um, but it also results in a lot of animals unnecessarily dying because of the demand around this. Now I will say, um, ivory is also used in a lot of like decorative pieces as well, so it's like it has a very strong like cultural significance, um, but anything that you hear around like medicinal wise, like it's so, it's like it has a very strong like cultural significance, um, but anything that you hear around like medicinal wise, like it's just, it's frankly not true, and so, um, it doesn't offer any kind of medicinal benefits, even though a lot of people believe it does. It doesn't, um, but there's still that supply and demand that, um, you know, these wildlife conservations have to battle, especially when it comes to bigger animals that are endangered, or people, just, you know, generally love like elephants, for example, and it's really horrible how these poachers will get after these animals.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:50:22

I mean especially like elephants. They, they, they don't waste time like trying to tranquilize them, Like they just gun them down and they rip these tusks, they, they rip the horn off of the rhino. There's even some like conservations in Africa that are just doing like preeminent, uh, I guess, like prevention of them getting poached, where they just cut the tusk off. They cut the rhino horn off before poachers will ever, you know, try to get to them. Um, so there was a story on National Geographic called Tracking Ivory and it really is like I can't believe. This is like a handful of years old, but I'm going to read the intro here and it says like much of the world, george Dante knows that the African elephant, african elephant is under siege. A booming Chinese middle class with an insatiable taste for ivory is crippling also in crippling poverty in in africa. Weak and corrupt law enforcement and more ways than ever to kill an elephant have created a perfect storm. The result is some 30 000 african elephants are slaughtered every single year and the pace of killing is not slowing.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:51:27

Most illegal ivory trade goes to china, where a pair of ivory chopsticks can bring in more than $1,000. And carved tusks sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. And so you know, there's just sort of, I guess, the supply chain of you know, illegal wildlife trade. It starts off with poaching Animals are illegally hunted or captured, often in protected areas. With poaching Animals are illegally hunted or captured, often in protected areas.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:51:54

Then there's trafficking networks where wildlife products are moved through international networks, using hidden compartments, false documentation and corruption. Then there's also the processing and the packaging, so the products are sometimes processed, such as ivory carvings or ground up for animal parts for traditional medicine. Then there's the distribution aspect, whereas the processed parts are distributed through local and international markets, including online and physical marketplaces. Then there's the sale to consumers, where buyers include collectors, enthusiasts and those seeking traditional medicines or luxury items, driving up the illegal trade. The economic impact, of course, is the next aspect to think about, whereas the illegal trade the economic impact, of course, is the next aspect to think about, whereas the illegal wildlife trade is a multi-billion dollar industry impacting local and national economies and global biodiversity.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:52:42

Obviously, there's a conservation impact around there. There's regulation and enforcement, which efforts include international agreements, national laws, enforcement, but challenges persist due to high profitability and organized crime involvement. Then there's technology and innovation side of things, where technologies like DNA analysis, tracking devices and blockchain are starting to be used to combat illegal trade and improve enforcement. And so this is where Telemetry Solutions comes into play, because they created a GPS device to go inside of an elephant tusk in order to find out what these networks, where these networks are documentary from National Geographic and I'll link to it in the show notes in case you want to check it out. Another one that didn't, another company that did not put their video on YouTube. I assume Disney wants you to go to the Disney Plus app to try to find this documentary.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:53:41

I couldn't even find it on Disney Plus myself, but I'm going to bring up an article from Telemetry's website because they weren't able. What I thought was interesting is that they were able to talk a little bit about it when it first happened, but due to the nature of the story, they weren't able to talk completely about it, and so I'm going to bring up this article that they posted on their website after the fact, where it says starting in the spring of 2014, telemetry Solutions worked closely with national. So 10 years ago, worked closely with national geographic team. 10 years ago, worked closely with National Geographic team. During that time, we designed and manufactured GPS devices for tracking elephant tusks. Next, these artificial tusks were planted in Southeastern Central African Republic Soon after they went directly into the illegal ivory supply chain. Consequently, the elephant tusks were tracked a total of 592 miles. This exposed the illegal global ivory trade, it says. Furthermore, it demonstrated how the illegal ivory trade finances terrorist organizations, and we could see the daily movement of artificial tusks, since the tracking was done in real time and so for.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:54:47

To sort of break it down basically in this documentary, what happens is that you have just an entire container that is filled to the brim with elephant tusks, and so what National Geographic did is they went to a taxidermist in New York.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:55:03

They brought him real ones, real elephant tusks, and so he made fake tusks, but they had to be believable. He made fake tusks, but they had to be believable, and then they made them in a way that they could telemetry solutions, could take their GPS, because they actually specialize in like wildlife trackers, um, you know, especially for you know, like tagged animals and things like that, you know, trying to get more information about, you know, more data about how animals are, you know, surviving or thriving or not surviving, so they can put programs in place in order to help address those things. So they put all of this in place. The guy from the National Geographic show, like the tusk, looks so real that he gets caught at airport security. So he has to go through this entire process of proving to governments in Africa that like, look, we're here for good intentions, because obviously the airport workers like they don't want you going through with this.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:55:59

Obviously it's illegal, but at you know they, they also want to protect, you know, their natural resources and their land and the things that they're. You know that that people that are coming to their country to do nefarious things, um, in order to take these animals, and so because there is such a high demand and because of all of the conflict that goes on in just the entire, you know, sort of continent of africa, uh, what is happening is that you know you have these terrorist organizations, um, gosh I'm blanking on his name Coney do you remember the Coney story? That guy he's actually featured in this documentary that National Geographic created that he has no interest in some of the ivory benefits or anything, or even like conservation, but he is literally sending men into the middle of the jungle or the middle of these huge fields in order to take down these elephants, steal the tusk, and then he uses that to finance his terrorist organization. And so it's this wide web of all of these different things that are impacting because of the illegal global ivory trade, and so the documentary sort of goes through all of this process and I'm going to pull up this map, because this map is just so incredible. Hopefully it loads for me because it is a little bit of an older article. It does take a little bit of time for this to load, so hopefully this will pull up.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:57:31

Let's just give that a second there. But it's, it's what he called it. He calls it ivory to arms is the why behind leaders like Joseph Kony, who's in charge of the LRA, which is he? The LRA is the Lord's resistance army in the DRC. So the Congo Democratic Republic of Congo, I believe, is the acronym and how it spells out. But he's in charge of the LRA in order to seek out the ivory and they trade it for arms to keep their group powerful. So Joseph Rao Kony is a Ugandan militant and a warlord who founded the Lord's Resistance Army. He is designated as a terrorist group by the United Nations peacekeepers. In recent years, the illegal ivory trade has shown both an increase and decreases in different aspects. But although the overall number of detected shipments containing ivory has decreased, the volume of the ivory being seized has increased significantly. It rose like over 124% in the last two years. So these are some of like the more updated numbers and they said you know, overall, while some progress has been made in reducing demand and increasing the seizures, the illegal ivory trade remains a significant challenge due to its complexity and involvement with organized crime.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:58:51

Okay, that website finally did load. I mean, we're talking about a 10 year old website here, so I'm going to. I'm going to bring it up because if you're and I'm sorry, if you're just listening you really need to go to the YouTube channel over at everything is logistics in order for you to see all of the visuals that, um, that that come from this, and it really is like a you can watch in real time of and you can play around with this map, and I'll link to it in the show notes. But it starts going through all of the different locations, and so if you keep and like I'm on the screen right now, so keep hitting next, I don't know why it's not, uh, it's not actually loading so well, that sucks, but we've talked through all of this. But basically it's a giant map of Africa, but if you go through each of these maps, it shows all of the different locations, so they have a little tab that you can kind of click next on a bunch of times. It's not really working for me, though it's not working in this environment. So, oh well, there it goes. So maybe it just didn't work with StreamYard, so I'll give you all a little it goes. So maybe it just didn't work with stream yard, so I'll give you all a little bit of. Um, let me try to share the screen again, just so I can show, cause the visual is actually really cool and I'm pretty sure it's probably stream yard that isn't allowing this visual to take place.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:00:06

Um, but you can get down to the ground level of how they use these GPS trackers inside of these tusks in order to see the routes. And for a lot of these routes, they're not going on roads. They are literally hiring villagers who don't make any money, giving them some cash and saying I want you to carry this, and they're carrying it through literally middle of the jungle in order to avoid being tracked. And we would have never known about these different routes that these poachers are taking to supply this illegal ivory trade if not for these gps devices that are what that were placed inside of, you know, tusks that were created by a taxidermist in order to it was these tusks were. You know they were fooling people at the airport they're. You know they were that good and so um being able to, I think, visualize this was was really key for me now that is really cool.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:01:05

It's uh okay sorry I finally got it to work. What so? What does it do again? So this map, yeah, and I love like these types of like journalist stories where you can tell, like this guy, he spent years going after this story. Part of watching this documentary is that at the very end he's, like you know, much more to come. I can't wait to, you know, use this type of methodology and expose more like global illegal trade routes. Um, nothing after this story, which is super frustrating because I tried looking up the. Uh, I tried looking up the, the, the journalist who was in charge of the story. I tried looking him up on on Twitter, on social media.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:01:53

Um, tried looking to see if there were any follow-up stories. I could not find anything and I spent hours trying. So not only did I watch this damn documentary and write out you know all of this for for this show, but I spent hours trying to find a follow-up on what's going on with this and I could find nothing. So if y'all know of anything about this, like, please let me know. Um, telemetry solutions is still in business, like they mostly focus on, um, you know, with other GPS trackers. I don't know if they're doing anything specific in this regard yet, um, but this was just a really cool visualization of how you know source to porch, unfortunately, of where these elephant tusks are being poached, where these animals are being killed, the routes that they are taking to get to the different ports. If you're looking at the screen right now, you can kind of see that they have a little key off to the side where it talks about export hubs or major markets, major export trafficking hubs, trade routes. This is all on the screen right now, and so it gives insight into all of these different trade routes that we didn't know existed until these GPS devices were put inside of these fake elephant tusks, and so I thought that that was just really like such an eye opener.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:03:03

I hope that initiatives like this still exist Hopefully they do but right now it's just about raising like awareness. I think that's probably the biggest issue with poaching and illegal ivory trade is just the getting the awareness to the people who want to buy it that, hey, this, you know, this doesn't provide any sort of medicinal benefits to you, even though culturally it's, you know, probably significant. But if it doesn't do anything for you and the animals are being killed in the process, like what are you really doing this for? And so raising that kind of like general education awareness, I think is also really important. So, yeah, shout out to Telemetry Solutions, shout out to Nat Geo for doing that story. If there's been an update since then, I would really love to see it. But in the meantime, meantime, I will link to the documentary in the show notes that I had to find on vimeo, because it wasn't on that chio's really youtube page. You had to go to vimeo yeah, why?

Grace Sharkey: 2:04:00

why do we all do that? That's so weird.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:04:02

I think it's like competing streaming networks.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:04:05

That was my assumption is, like you know, with youtube getting into like youtube tv, and you know they have all these, you know that a lot of people are spending their time on YouTube versus, you know, going to Disney plus, and so, since Disney plus owns Nat Geo, I'm assuming that that's why, um, that they they didn't have this stuff because they had clips.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:04:23

They had like two minute long clips that were on YouTube, but they didn't have the full thing. So if you want to watch the full thing, um, I'll link to it in the show notes, which seems to come from the producer that was on that particular documentary, in case you don't know how it kind of works. Nat Geo is almost like a Netflix, where they have employees, of course, but they also have other folks that they will contract with in order to do stories like this. So I thought it was a really cool perspective, perspective and, I guess, insight into some of the stuff that you don't really think about when it comes to logistics, which is kind of like, I think, the overall theme of the show so far.

Grace Sharkey: 2:04:59

So I just sprayed water all over me.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:05:01

If anyone saw that it was g all the more reason to watch this on youtube. No, I was particular episode.

Grace Sharkey: 2:05:09

It does remind me actually. Uh, so my mom and I got each other the same gift this year on accident for Christmas, and actually I think it's right here. Oh, here it is, and you can get them at Barnes Noble, you can get them online. I was trying to open up. Let me see really quick. I believe I thought I had an app. Oh, here you go. Oh, so here's this bracelet.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:05:43

It's like oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Grace Sharkey: 2:05:47

And then with it. Once you get it, you can now track your animal.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:05:56

What are the bracelets called? Again, because I almost included that in my show notes.

Grace Sharkey: 2:06:00

Oh follow, it's a really cool initiative. F-a-h-l-o. And so it's funny because my mom and I our polar bears are like near each other, but it'll like track them. Track them too.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:06:13

You can check up on it and it's basically a you, so you buy a bracelet and then they give you a. Uh, you go to the website and you link your bracelet to the animal that you are tracking, that you have, quote unquote adopted. Yes, yes, it shows you their path of, like, the routes that they take, and so they not just polar bears, but they I don't know if the same company does like other animals, but I have seen other animals where it's like you can adopt a shark or a sea turtle, like something cute, like um sea turtle, but then there's also I don't know if you see the sloth, not the sloth um, but I saw the sloth and I was like sloths don't.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:06:51

so I don't know what you're tracking, but this poor girl was like my turtle hasn't moved in six days. What does it mean? Yeah, it's like. Well, I hate to tell you. You know the circle of life here.

Grace Sharkey: 2:07:05

Well, it's cute too, because she has six cubs with her. Aw, she has six cubs with her, oh. But I'll tell you like yeah, um, uh, miles, that they're moving average of 0.2 miles an hour, slow, slow ass. But uh, yeah, it's cool. We were like talking about taking a trip up to the hudson bay. Oh, you're gonna go find your polar bear.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:07:26

Yeah, try to find her polar bears. Hopefully you do it from a very safe distance yeah, no, exactly right.

Grace Sharkey: 2:07:31

And I'm sure they're like, yeah, no, don't, don't come up here. So they're like, all these people want to follow, but no, it's interesting to like watch them and the same thing there, to be able to like track that all the way down. I know, uh, we've seen that, especially in like lost cargo and things of that nature, but I mean something like that where it's like, yeah, really bad for animals, even even more so, just terrible for the economy to like power to them. That's awesome I'd like to see. I'll just check out their website. I was trying to see what they're, maybe even, uh, more so, what they're following, but it's I mean, yeah, there's so many different types of trackers that they have too, so I'm sure I'm sure that there's definitely and that was so frustrating about the documentary.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:08:17

It's like I want to know more, like I want to support you, like I'm obviously I'm doing it, like I, you know, I want to be able to provide an update to people and I could not find anything. And so maybe they you know, the program has just evolved into another name that I couldn't, you know, track down. That you know, get your SEO in order, y'all, like, get on YouTube so you can help us do our job. And then for other folks who may not, or who may be aware of some other initiatives that are going on, and hopefully maybe Hubble you know the Hubble network can get with this in in the future as well.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:08:59

So, um, really cool initiatives that you know it really sort of brings it home with, like everything really is logistics and so bringing all of that information under one roof to make actionable decisions off of it, um, it's just really cool and it happens in a lot of different ways that you know may not have anything to do with, like you know, semi trucks or you know, big cargo ships or everything to do with both of those two things, but little known or lesser known, I think, logistic stories that we did a good job of covering in this episode. So, grace, as you prepare for F3, this episode will actually drop while F3 is going on, so hopefully we will get a big recap from you on on the next episode. And well, for folks who may be listening to this while they're at F3, they we should do like something cool, like they can tell you like a code word or something.

Grace Sharkey: 2:09:46

Yeah, yeah, if you're watching this during F3, come find me at the Jamie Hunt 360 party, cause we all, we all love a JB Hunt 360 party at the Porsche center.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:09:58

Uh, and we can look at cool cars and the Porsche center oh that was one of my first freight waves events that we went over to. Uh, it was also in Atlanta, I believe. Yes.

Grace Sharkey: 2:10:10


Blythe Brumleve: 2:10:11

A bunch of us over to the porsche area and, if you can, I swear, if you go here please I'm going get me one of the pens from the porsche facility get me multiple your pens. No, no, no a writing pen okay, why? The best pens, if they still have them I have searched online who the manufacturer of this pen is, because I loved it that much, have not been able to find it. The pen is empty, but I I still rip convoy um oh, don't even get.

Grace Sharkey: 2:10:45

I'm sorry, I have so much time. I have like a whole thing in here just convoy stuff is this, it yep this pen right here, the porsche pen.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:10:56

If you can see it, it is the best put that up, put that close to the camera. I can't it won't, it won't do the uh zoom, because it'll just get blurry oh yeah, you're right but this okay, black they put it because you got to fill out your paperwork before you do any, like the test car driving stuff or whatever. But they just have them sitting around, you know, on desk and stuff.

Grace Sharkey: 2:11:16

Oh, so it's not even like an expensive pen, it's just a good but it's very good Ballpoint. What are you looking at? Ink.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:11:23

All it says is Porsche on it. There's no other kind of identifier. It says China on the side. Great, that sounds right. Yeah, that's the only identifiers on this pen.

Grace Sharkey: 2:11:38

I completely took it apart, there's still so many pens. I went to a porch center and all I got was a bunch of pens.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:11:50

It's a great pen.

Grace Sharkey: 2:11:57

I trust you Steal me a couple, if you can, you know, ask to borrow it.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:11:59

No, just take them, steal it, steal it, all right, grace. I think that that uh about does it for this show. We are, uh, we're, at the point where we're rambling yeah, oh, by the way.

Grace Sharkey: 2:12:08

Uh, so if you see me, if you watch this and you see me at the Porsche Center, bring me a pen.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:12:15

A Porsche pen. Bring her several, because she's going to give you one.

Grace Sharkey: 2:12:19

She's like where is all of her writing?

Blythe Brumleve: 2:12:27

I would love to see you come back on the next episode with like just a stack of Porsche pens.

Grace Sharkey: 2:12:31

Just like a whole thing full of them. So I'm driving, I'm driving my chevy equinox 2016 other owner just full of porsche pens see me here. It's a good click to a good strong click, which is very I thought you were gonna tell me it's like in the gift shop and it's like a special pin it's sitting on the counter, it's when you in.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:12:53

they probably have a cup full of them. Yeah, exactly. But if they do, take them all because they're that good, they're that good, I trust you. Please, God, let them still have it. You're going to need to remind me.

Grace Sharkey: 2:13:08

No, I'm going to set a reminder after this. That's what we'll do All right, well, anything else you're working on that we want to send the people to.

Grace Sharkey: 2:13:15

I've got some really good stories. I keep saying it. I've got some really cool stories happening, even some of the stuff that we touched on today. Some news might be released on some of those areas by the time that this airs. So go check out my writing on FreightWaves. com, I think actually if you just do , slash news, slash author, slash Grace Sharkey so just Google FreightWaves Grace Sharkey, it'll pop up at the top and then you'll be able to see all of my recent articles too. And then go check out the stock out. With me and Mike Bowden Distal. We've been having some really great episodes as of recently Working on some great guests, from Ross, from Liquid Death to maybe even Kelanova, or we're really working on that one that might take a bit. So, yeah, go and support that. And that's pretty much it for now.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:14:09

Alright cool. Well, we will look forward to a future supply chain I always want to say F3. But future of supply chain recap on the next episode and hopefully a fistful of Porsche pens. So thank you again, grace. This is another fun episode and we'll see you all real soon. And yeah, that does it. We'll see y'all all real soon and yeah, that does it.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:14:39

I hope you enjoyed this episode of Everything is Logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight, telling the stories behind how your favorite stuff and people get from point A to B. Subscribe to the show, sign up for our newsletter and follow our socials over at everythingislogisticscom. And, in addition to the podcast, I also wanted to let y'all know about another company I operate and that's Digital Dispatch, where we help you build a better website. Now, a lot of the times, we hand this task of building a new website or refreshing a current one off to a coworker's child, a neighbor down the street or a stranger around the world, where you probably spend more time explaining the freight industry than it takes to actually build the dang website. Well, that doesn't happen at Digital Dispatch. We've been building online since 2009, but we're also early adopters of AI, automation and other website tactics that help your company to be a central place to pull in all of your social media posts, recruit new employees and give potential customers a glimpse into how you operate your business.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:15:36

Our new website builds start as low as $1,500, along with ongoing website management, maintenance and updates starting at $90 a month, plus some bonus freight, marketing and sales content similar to what you hear on the podcast. You can watch a quick explainer video over on digitaldispatchio. Just check out the pricing page once you arrive and you can see how we can build your digital ecosystem on a strong foundation. Until then, I hope you enjoyed this episode. I'll see you all real soon and go Jags.

About the Author

Blythe Brumleve
Blythe Brumleve
Creative entrepreneur in freight. Founder of Digital Dispatch and host of Everything is Logistics. Co-Founder at Jax Podcasters Unite. Board member of Transportation Marketing and Sales Association. Freightwaves on-air personality. Annoying Jaguars fan. test

To read more about Blythe, check out her full bio here.