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50 Most Admired Companies of the Year 2022

‘We’re Costco of the freight industry’: Andrew Sobko of CDL 1000


“We have seen tremendous success with our DaaS offering and are projecting to potentially generate close to hundreds of millions (of dollars) in revenue.”

CDL 1000 is an AI-driven third-party logistics and supply chain solutions company offering groundbreaking solutions for the daily challenges surrounding over-the-road, drayage-intermodal and warehousing operations. It also offers transportation solutions with advanced tracking and freight matching capabilities. The company serves customers both domestically and internationally.

CDL 1000 is committing $100 million to digitize the drayage industry, aiming to transition ad hoc, manual practices to technology-based operations that bring more automation, accuracy, and speed to everyday tasks. This will enable companies across the board to improve operational efficiencies and boost their bottom lines.

The company uses quantum computing, AI, and machine learning to determine more accurate spot rate/freight pricing.

Undoubtedly, CDL 1000 is on its way to becoming a billion-dollar company in the next 24 months.

The Silicon Review reached out to the founder and Chief Executive Officer of CDL 1000, Andrew Sobko, and here’s what he had to say.

Interview Highlights

As a journalist, I find CDL 1000 quite striking. From the emotional branding standpoint, it has that appeal. How did you come up with the brand name? And please brief us about the history so far.

CDL stands for Chicago Digital Logistics—with logistics being the most Googled keyword in the industry. This is one of the reasons why we chose CDL as part of our branding. Moreover, we pursued digitalizing the logistics space, hence the name CDL. The other part of our branding ‘1000’ resonates with our commitment to financially back our drivers, providing them with enough resources so that it will be easy for them to make $1,000 daily. The ‘1000’ part of the branding also represents our commitment to ship 1000 batches daily.

To answer the second part of the question, I would say it initially took us a while to understand the mechanism and lay the groundwork. As a result of making monumental efforts to provide great service, we have now developed a separate brand in the industry around CDL 1000, and people know us as one of the most innovative digital players in the freight space.

Q. How does CDL solve big supply chain challenges? What strategies does it implement to drive efficiency and reduce waste?

To digitalize the freight space, we focus on accelerating technological innovation. Parallelly, we are innovating on the execution side. Let me tell you, many companies failed, even though they raised a lot of money. When a company fails to execute strategies, it’s bound to nose-dive. To tackle this, we built an infrastructure from day one and understood the importance of executing large volume and complicated projects. In addition, we built a digital solution to reduce bottlenecks and improve global supply chains.

As a result, we successfully manage shipments out of the ports for large corporations such as Walmart, Target, Samsung, Gap, Cisco, ExxonMobil, and many other Fortune 500 companies.


Q. What are the various freight solutions CDL 1000 offers?

We have two key business areas to focus on, starting with our platform, Batch. With an intuitive interface accessible anytime, anywhere, Batch lightens the load on large-scale projects, giving you total control in just a few clicks. As I already revealed, we work with the most significant Fortune 500 companies, and they have large volume shipments. Without our Batch platform, things won’t work out as we sell shipments in large-volume batches.

On the sales side, we target only mid-sized and large trucking companies. For example, we sell 100 shipments to two or three mid-size trucking companies, compared to our key competitors (Uber Freight or Convoy) that historically take 100 shipments from a big name client such as Nestle Waters and sell to 100 individual owner-operators. We do it on the drayage side, containers out of the port, and on the truckload side. These are our two key service offerings.

Recently, we came up with a very innovative service offering called Demurrage-as-a-Service (DaaS). Demurrage is a charge applied to containers left at the port longer than their allotted free time. Unfortunately, how the United States designs the port system is kind of a setup for those who are late. As a result, every Fortune 500 company that imports goods from overseas is forced to pay late fees. To address this, we designed the DaaS offering; these companies don't have to use us as a transportation solution, but this offering is more like a FinTech solution. We are frontline—we cover the fees upfront and build our clients back later. We have beautiful dashboards and beautiful analytics and use AI to help them avoid additional demurrage storage fees in the future.

Q. How skilled is the CDL 1000 team of experts, and how do they bring value to the company?

We have about 250 employees spread across multiple office locations in the country. I am highly tech-driven and focused on utilizing AI, Machine Learning, and other relevant technologies in decision-making and pricing. Half of our team members have spent 20 to 30 years in the industry and are familiar with the said technologies. So this is a plus for us. 

For example, the president of our company used to manage ports. He managed a big terminal in Los Angeles and the port of Long Beach. Internationally, he managed Hong Kong port. He was managing ports for the biggest companies in the world. This is the kind of experience our team possesses.

Conversely, we also have very young, highly talented people who richly contribute to our tradition of innovation and open-mindedness.

Q. What new endeavors is CDL 1000 currently undertaking?

We have seen tremendous success with our DaaS offering and are projecting to potentially generate close to hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. Importantly, we are looking to expand through acquisitions and have two immediate acquisitions to be closed. Over the next 18 months, we will close an additional seven significant acquisitions in our industry.

Q. How do you plan to counter challenges that you think CDL 1000 might face in the next five years?

Our key competitive advantage is the Batch concept, where we sell shipments in volume. The best way to see it—we are Costco in the freight industry.

We sell large volume freight digitally and do it on the drayage side, again one of our key competitive advantages. Most digital or even regular third-party logistics companies in our industry have not been able to figure this out yet. It’s a key differentiator in solving our customers' most significant supply chain problems. Just so you understand, drayage is probably the most complicated piece of the supply chain that exists…and we were able to figure this out and digitalize it.

Put simply, our Batch concept and drayage business are the key differentiators keeping us at the forefront of the industry.

“Put simply, our Batch concept and drayage business are the key differentiators keeping us on the forefront of the industry.”