Google, J.B. Hunt ink deal to tackle US transport, supply chain challenges

The “alliance” will focus on improving existing infrastructure with cloud and AI technologies.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Google and J.B. Hunt have agreed to form a "strategic alliance" to improve existing US supply chains and transport networks. 

Announced on Wednesday, the partnership gives J.B. Hunt the opportunity to harness Google's cloud technologies and further the company's goals in "creating the most efficient transportation network in North America."

Lowell, Arkansas-based J.B. Hunt is an S&P 500 company that provides shipping, trucking, and logistics services in the US, Canada, and Mexico. The firm is an advocate of intelligent shipping technologies -- such as the cloud, machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), and mobility -- and pitches smarter solutions as a means to combat fluctuating demand, supply chain challenges, and inventory management. 

The J.B. Hunt 360 platform is used by clients to track and manage shipments, loads, quotes and bookings, and is touted as a means to "centralize data from across different systems, helping reduce waste, friction, and inefficiencies." 

Through the multi-year deal, J.B. Hunt will implement Google Cloud solutions to bolster the firm's 360 platform. There are three main areas that Google's technologies are expected to improve:

  • Operating model: Google's Cloud AI Platform, AutoML, and Recommendations AI, among other tools, will be integrated with transport functions to improve supply chain visibility.
  • Data science: Google Cloud's Data Cloud will be used to enhance existing workflow systems, with a particular focus on breaking down data silos and providing predictive analytics to shippers. 
  • Innovation in engineering: The companies' engineering teams are working together to create a new framework for data management, supply chain visibility, and predictive modeling. 

"The transportation and logistics industry is fundamental to the health and security of the global economy," commented Thomas Kurian, Google Cloud CEO. "Our partnership with J.B. Hunt creates a unique opportunity to transform the shipping and logistics experience through the use of AI, ML, and other technologies to help businesses -- and the logistics industry as a whole -- innovate for the future."

In related news this month, Google and Twitter signed a multi-year deal to further integrate Google Cloud with the microblogging platform's analytics, data processing, and event insight processes. Twitter engineers intend to use Google services including BigQuery, Dataflow, and Cloud Bigtable to manage data analysis workloads. 

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