Your Strategic Transportation Management Solutions Provider

Breakthrough is a strategic transportation partner empowering shippers with data, technology, and market knowledge to reduce cost, create fair partnerships, and improve transportation network efficiency and sustainability.

Explore our services to discover your transportation network's opportunity.

A Holistic Approach to Transportation Management


Breakthrough shippers represent some of the most innovative, expansive, and influential transportation networks in North America. Powered by our clients' data, insights, and experiences, we design and maintain comprehensive network strategies as dynamic as the market you ship in. The value of a Breakthrough partnership is clear.

Reduce costs
Stabilize networks
Strengthen partnerships
Increase productivity
Improve service

Empowering the world’s leading shippers

Industry-leading shippers use Breakthrough to create a competitive advantage in their supply chains.

You trust them emphatically, because of the sheer amount of information we give them and things that they have at their fingertips. They’re the kind of partner you want to have.

Brian Stoufer

Sr. Director of Transportation

Conagra Foods

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A Strategic Platform For Contract Freight

Meet FELIX—Breakthrough’s strategic transportation platform that uses an unbiased industry view and pure dataset to design and maintain better contract freight partnerships for the world’s leading shippers.

The Latest From the Breakthrough Blog

Check out our blog for updates about trends in the transportation industry, fuel management, and supply chain transportation optimization.

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Freight
May 23, 2022
High Contract Freight Rates Don’t Have To Set You Back

Retailers around the globe are bearing the brunt of current market conditions: rising costs, limited capacity, high consumer demand, and labor shortages. Despite the surge in revenue compared to last year, these factors are hindering profitability for many organizations.

But while market conditions may be hostile to retailers, high demand and low supply are giving contract carriers more power — and this seems to be the new normal, at least in the short term. Even so, there are ways for retailers to prevent high contract freight rates from harming their bottom lines.

Market conditions place the ball in carriers’ courts

Remember the first half of 2021 when consumer demand soared and supply chain bottlenecks wreaked havoc on transportation networks? Well, 2022 is looking like more of the same. A labor shortage of 4.6 million workers is plaguing industries from transportation to manufacturing, meanwhile consumer demand is skyrocketing and raw goods are low in supply.

With one in five container vessels stalled outside a congested port and the pool of truck drivers still not growing fast enough to meet demand, retailers are struggling to keep pace, let alone remain profitable. These conditions have also increased freight rates because with limited capacity, carriers hold the power to define the market.

Between January 2018 and Q2 2022, truckload freight rates rose 28.2%, reaching a record high — and those elevated rates are expected to continue for most of 2022. But this is only part of the problem: The transportation industry is also facing difficulties securing container shipments and scaling its labor force to keep up with demand — which ultimately means carriers are struggling to meet compliance.

To remain profitable, you must ensure your carriers deliver goods on time and in excellent condition. Now is the time to look inward at your transportation network and identify new carrier partners that can help you achieve these goals.

Prevent high contract pricing from harming your bottom line

In a carriers’ market, you have to be willing to explore new opportunities that empower your transportation and logistics team. There’s not a one-size-fits-all solution to optimize your supply chain strategy, but you can start with these tips.

  • Establish expectations with contracted carriers. When establishing carrier relationships, set expectations up front for pricing and service levels. Foster these partnerships to avoid high spot market rates you would typically pay when a carrier is non-compliant. Contract rates offer a reduced risk of pricing fluctuations, and help secure stability and long-term service partnerships.

  • Identify new opportunities. We all know that things don’t always go as planned. So to remain competitive, you must be agile. Source best-fit carriers outside your transportation network so you have additional options when a contracted carrier’s truck is unavailable. Smaller carriers like independent owner operators can aid your capacity needs at a more competitive rate. Adding non-traditional carriers to your routing guide can also diversify your transportation network, helping you keep pace with supply and demand.

  • Lean on carrier data. In today’s ever-evolving freight market, a data-driven freight strategy is a requirement. With a dataset of real-time linehaul rate benchmarking data, you can more easily source optimal carriers and secure competitive rates. Access to this data eliminates the need to rely on inflated spot market carriers or brokerage to identify carriers in your network.

At the end of the day, the goal of transportation is to move goods in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. To do that — and remain profitable — you must cultivate strong carrier relationships, initiate new partnerships, and use linehaul rate benchmarking data to optimize your network. Untapped carrier opportunities exist — you just need to find them.

Schedule a demo of Capac-ID for fair-market pricing and best-fit capacity recommendations customized to your transportation network.

Heather Mueller
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Sustainability & Tech
April 22, 2022
You Can: Announcing New Possibilities With CleanMile

Sustainability isn’t always top of mind for transportation management professionals focused on getting goods from point A to point B. As supply chain conditions evolve, it can feel like your organization’s carbon footprint is beyond your control or that your sustainability initiatives are too small to make a difference. But as sustainability becomes increasingly important and stringent government regulations pressure companies to prioritize sustainability, it’s time to tackle the problem head on.

Sustainability is daunting. Scope 3 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions make up the vast majority of shippers’ emissions — about 10% of which come from transportation. These emissions are also the most difficult to quantify and reduce because they fall outside the reporting organization’s direct control.

Today, that changes. We’re clearing up the misconception that sustainability equals complexity with the launch of CleanMile — an end-to-end transportation emissions management solution. For any transportation professional who has wondered if they can make transportation fuel management, network strategy, or execution more sustainable, CleanMile is here to make sure they will.

This Earth Day, we are excited to showcase how CleanMile enables organizations to weave sustainable practices into transportation operations to effectively reduce lifecycle emissions.

The Pressure is on for More Sustainable Practices

Transportation — including trucking, rail, and other modes — is both the highest emitting sector of CO2 in the U.S. and a significant contributor to atmospheric pollution. Rising atmospheric CO2 levels are responsible for nearly two-thirds of the energy polarity causing the Earth’s temperature to increase. The rise in carbon dioxide has myriad, far-reaching consequences for the global environment, from ocean acidification to changes in the availability of natural resources.

But scope 3 emissions continue to be the most difficult for companies to manage. Your organization is responsible for reporting greenhouse gas output from sources that aren’t directly under your control. How do you quantify how much CO2 a particular vendor is producing, let alone reduce it?

The issue is a double-edged sword: We need transportation to distribute goods across the globe, yet emissions stemming from transportation are harming the environment at a rapid pace. But this paradox presents an opportunity. Organizations seeking opportunities to harness their data can use CleanMile to work toward scope 3 emissions reduction and make progress toward corporate sustainability goals. If you’ve ever wanted to make better business decisions for the planet, now you can.

We Make Real Progress

At Breakthrough, we work alongside our clients to create a competitive advantage in their supply chains. In 2021 alone, new Breakthrough clients on the Fuel Recovery program reduced intermodal fuel spend by 58% and truckload fuel spend by 20%.

Now, we are going the extra mile by enabling your business to make real progress toward transportation emissions reduction. With three phases of engagement, CleanMile helps your business:

  1. Track. By combining data and smart technology, CleanMile can monitor the energy consumption and lifecycle emissions associated with your entire inbound and outbound transportation network. This sets the foundation for custom recommendations for emissions reduction.

  2. Plan. After tracking and analyzing your network’s carbon emissions, we create an emissions reduction roadmap tailored to your sustainability goals. In the planning phase, we provide actionable and data-driven recommendations to help you stay on track with business objectives while reducing emissions.

  3. Execute. What separates us from our competitors? We don’t just suggest a plan and expect you to execute it — we stay by your side until you reach the end of your roadmap to sustainability. Every business is unique, so every business’s plan to achieve sustainability goals will look different. Whether you need to overcome the hurdles of alternative energy use or you’re in search of a more sustainable shipping partner, we’ve got you covered.

With CleanMile, You Can

Tackling sustainability initiatives doesn’t have to be intimidating. This Earth Day, we’re changing the way we view scope 3 emissions reduction — the problem is no longer too large or too complex. You can make meaningful progress toward more sustainable transportation practices and with CleanMile, you will.

Ready to take your first step toward a greener future? Schedule a demo of CleanMile today.

Heather Mueller
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Market Events
February 28, 2022
What Are the 2023 IMO Sulfur Regulations?

International shipping went through profound change during 2020. This not only applies to the global pandemic—and what it has meant for supply chains and trade—but the International Maritime Organization’s 2020 sulfur cap, known as IMO 2020.

IMO 2020 was significant because of the scope of change for international shipping. While the regulation to reduce the allowable sulfur content in marine fuel from 3.5% to 0.5%S m/m came to fruition after more than a decade of planning, much of the fuel market transition occurred in about a quarter. Vessels quickly moved from high-sulfur fuel to low-sulfur alternatives or sulfur-removing technology (scrubbers).

A series of regulations targeting vessel efficiency and carbon intensity will likely enter into force by 2023, and therefore, is being aptly named IMO 2023. This next chapter of change for international shipping is quickly approaching and a new wave of uncertainty and questions comes with it.

The regulations will encourage the improvement of vessel efficiency, adoption of low-carbon alternative fuels, and lower emissions in international shipping. These coming changes create challenges and opportunities for the vessel owner/operators seeking compliance and the beneficial cargo owners seeking opportunities to lower the energy cost and emissions needed to get their goods to customers.

Watch the Breakthrough team break down the impending IMO 2023 regulations and answer frequently asked questions from shippers in this video:

What changes are coming through IMO 2023?

Since 2018, the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee has conducted a series of meetings that have ultimately adopted “technical and operational measures to reduce caron intensity of international shipping, taking effect from 2023. The measures include the Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI), the enhanced Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP), and the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) rating scheme. These short-term measures are aimed at meeting the target set in the IMO Initial GHG Strategy – to reduce carbon intensity of all ships by 40% by 2030, compared to 2008.

What is the objective for each of these measures?

1. The Attained Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) is required to be calculated for most commercial vessels in accordance with different values set for vessel types and size categories. This indicates the energy efficiency of the vessel compared to a baseline. Vessels are required to meet a specific required Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI), which is based on a required reduction factor (expressed as a percentage relative to the EEXI baseline).

  • All vessels must have a calculated EEXI

  • Likely more impactful for older vessels

  • Likely more impactful for regional trades that feature smaller feeder vessels rather than deep-sea trades.

2. The Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) is a mandatory, ship-specific document that lays out the plan to improve the vessel’s energy efficiency in a cost-effective manner.

3. A vessel’s Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) links the GHG emissions to a ratio of the amount of cargo carried and the distance travelled. The CII will determine the annual carbon reduction factor needed to ensure continuous improvement of the ship's operational carbon intensity within a specific rating level.

  • All vessels must have an established CII and will receive a rating (A, B, C, D, or E – where A is best).

  • A ship rated D or E for three consecutive years must submit a corrective action plan to show how the required index (C or above) may be achieved.

  • There are many things a ship can do to improve its rating through various measures taken on existing capital. Many efficiency improvements and emissions reduction pathways are being executed by carriers, such as: hull cleaning to reduce drag, steam speed adjustment, routing optimization, and fuel switching.

These regulatory requirements are expected to enter into force on November 1, 2022. If that happens, the requirements for EEXI and CII certification will come into effect from January 1, 2023. This means the first annual reporting will be completed in 2023, with the first rating given in 2024.

There is limited apparent guidance on potential penalties for non-compliant vessels. According to industry sources, the number of vessels affected, and the potential affect the IMO 2023 GHG measures will have on capacity are largely unknown. An IMO MEPC meeting will be held June 6-10, 2022, and will likely provide more detail.

The IMO is yet to set a net-zero emissions target, but many individual ocean shipping companies—including container lines—already have. This continues a trend more broadly experienced through transportation – companies are continuing to progress their sustainability strategies without being pushed (too hard) by policy. Such actions include the first orders for carbon-neutral container vessels running on “green” methanol.

Customer demand for green transport is pushing carriers and shipowners to action and investing in carbon-neutral vessels. This is creating an environment where access to green shipping lanes in the not-so-distant future will offer a competitive advantage to BCOs seeking to progressively reduce their global shipping emissions.

While the IMO 2023 regulations will have the biggest impact on vessel owners, beneficial cargo owners, or shippers, may see pass through expenses come their way as a result. Breakthrough can help shippers mitigate the effects of this oncost by managing their maritime fuel spend according to actual fuel cost and consumption. Additionally, we can offer guidance in the market with our deep knowledge of maritime vessels’ operations, including fuel consumption and lanes of service.

Learn more about our marine fuel management solution.

Matt Muenster

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