Eric Johnson

S&P Global

Director/Senior Technology Editor, JOC

Eric Johnson is the JOC's senior editor, Technology, where he leads coverage and analysis of technology’s impact on global logistics and trade. Johnson regularly reports on how shippers, carriers across all modes, and logistics companies use software, as well as new concepts impacting core freight transportation processes such as procurement, execution, visibility, and payment. He is a regular presenter and moderator at industry events and webinars. Prior to joining the JOC in May 2018, Johnson spent 13 years with American Shipper in a variety of roles, most recently covering logistics technology and leading the production of a series of benchmark studies on the logistics industry. Johnson has a bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s in international business from the University of Leeds, UK. He has lived and worked in Southern California, the UK, and India, and now resides in the Washington, DC, area.

Sessions With Eric Johnson

Wednesday, 28 September

  • 08:35am - 09:05am (EST) / 28/sep/2022 01:35 pm - 28/sep/2022 02:05 pm

    A Conversation With Emerge CEO Andrew Leto

    Emerge CEO Andrew Leto has a track record that would be the envy of most technology founders in logistics. He co-founded the freight broker GlobalTranz, now part of Worldwide Express, before going on to start trucking visibility provider 10-4 Systems, now part of Trimble Technologies. But it’s his current venture, a procurement platform that is aiming to reshape how shippers buy freight, that he thinks has the biggest upside of all. Leto sees a market where large shippers are still reliant on running bids through “freight procurement platforms that weren't built for continuous bids, but were really made to do one to two bids per year, mainly an annual bid for your contract freight. Most shippers still utilize spreadsheets and email to run their bid events,” he says. “Emerge's initial goal is to get every shipper onto the same RFP platform and use the network effects to better drive carriers to the bid.” This fireside chat will explore why the market has changed, how technology might reorient the way shippers large and small procure freight, and whether it matters if we’re in an upcycle or downcycle.
  • 09:15am - 10:00am (EST) / 28/sep/2022 02:15 pm - 28/sep/2022 03:00 pm

    Tech I: Freight Procurement's Permanent Shift

    A truckload shipper transported forward in time from 2012 to today might be amazed at the volume of options available to procure capacity in the market. From digital brokers and freight marketplaces to “book-it-now” functions, the nature of freight procurement has been fundamentally changed by the internet, by mobile apps, and by a market where dynamic decision-making is becoming the norm, not the outlier. On the one hand, more frequent bidding — in other words, mini-bids — is becoming more manageable, and in some cases, more desirable. On the other hand, automation is helping shippers to better define where they have repeatable volumes, allowing them to focus on more volatile SKUs or lanes. Routing guides and biannual rate negotiations are no longer realistic when the market and the tools available suggest a more efficient path, not to mention the growing importance of reducing emissions in procurement decisions. This panel of software and data providers will discuss the way the market has forever changed and chart an actionable course through the chaos.
  • 09:45am - 10:15am (EST) / 28/sep/2022 02:45 pm - 28/sep/2022 03:15 pm

    Tech II: LTL Tech's Coming of Age

    The less-than-truckload market has been the big beneficiary of pandemic-based shifts in consumer behavior, but its robustness expands beyond our insatiable hunger for e-commerce and home delivery. With the market seeing an overflow from truckload and parcel, the question that lies ahead for shippers in the space is: How will LTL carriers and brokers cater to a new level of baseline demand? Technology certainly must play a role. In the last few years, a number of technologies aimed at empowering LTL carriers and brokers have emerged. The breadth of providers trails that seen in the truckload space — the truckload market is far bigger, but LTL is also more complex. This session will explore the extent to which technology is helping the market cope with demand and complexity, including empowering LTL carriers to improve their interfaces with shippers and brokers, and new models that bridge the gaps between modes. 

  • 10:45am - 11:30am (EST) / 28/sep/2022 03:45 pm - 28/sep/2022 04:30 pm

    Tech III: Empowering the Long Tail of Truckload Carriers

    It’s a cliché at this point, but the US truckload market is highly fragmented and utterly reliant on small fleets and independent drivers. As demand exploded in 2021, that only attracted more small carriers to the market. But as the market softens in 2022, there’s a looming question: Will this year be different, and what role will a cohort of technology providers focused on the long tail of truckload carriers play in making these small carriers more viable? These vendors not only enable small carriers to make their back office, dispatching, and customer-facing operations more efficient, but they also bring structure and visibility to small carriers, ultimately enabling shippers to get access to more capacity. In this session, a trio of technology providers for small carriers will discuss how this will shake out in 2022 and beyond.

  • 11:30am - 12:00pm (EST) / 28/sep/2022 04:30 pm - 28/sep/2022 05:00 pm

    Tech IV: Venture Capital’s Honeymoon or Swan Song?

    The recent period of historic venture capital investment into freight and logistics has centered around technology aimed at the truckload industry. That’s no surprise given it’s the biggest single mode, in terms of freight spend, never mind the most fragmented part of the industry. But as 2021 transitioned to 2022, the nature of public and private investment markets changed. Some of that was due to external factors that have an influence on market confidence (the Russia-Ukraine war, COVID lockdowns in China) but some is directly tied to supply chains (inflation, fuel costs, and a shift back to spending on services over goods). What does all this portend for early- and growth-stage investment into trucking technology? In this session, a trio of investors who focus on logistics and supply chain will share their insights about whether we’ve reached a crescendo in venture’s fascination with trucking, or whether we’re only getting started.