As logistics become increasingly smarter through new strategies and technologies, retail giant Soriana will continue to strengthen its backhaul strategy to maximize transportation resources.
Backhaul is the return movement of a transport vehicle from its destination to its original point of departure. Since it costs almost as much time to drive empty as fully loaded, the truck is hired to carry cargo on both the outbound and backhaul legs of a cargo route. This strategy helps to pay the operating expenses for the truck’s trip back to the original point of departure.
Soriana implements backhaul to maximize its own trucks’ routes from stores to distribution centers and vice versa, collecting goods from its suppliers and avoiding double, unnecessary or even empty trips, said Luis Girard, Director of Logistics and Distribution, Soriana, to T21. While this activity currently makes up 13 percent of the total cargo routes, “we want to increase it to 50 percent this year. The demand exists and there is interest from suppliers that do not have their own transport,” he added.
Although the benefits of backhaul are clear, it is not exempt from challenges. During 2021, SAT implemented the Carta Porte supplement, which set new customs requirements for shipments within Mexico as a measure to recover lost tax revenue. This new requirement forced Soriana and all companies practicing backhaul to coordinate with suppliers.
The strategy is carried out with Soriana’s own fleet, which includes 441 heavy vehicles. In addition, the retail company has 14 distribution centers in 8 different states of Mexico, segmented by fresh, dry and e-commerce. From perishable goods, 85 percent are transported with Soriana’s fleet and the rest are outsourced. For the other segments, Soriana has 70 different hired companies.
Truck Drivers School
As the shortage of truck drivers continues hitting Mexico, Soriana implemented a strategy to improve the working conditions of its collaborators by making them feel part of the company and improving their vehicles and safety.
“All our tractor trucks are connected to a safety platform, including a temperature platform for those carrying perishable goods. We have a very low truck driver rotation, about 15 percent. We have achieved this through a school for our operators,” said Girard.