eNews • June 16, 2017
Promoting a Cost-Effective, Reliable and Competitive Transportation System

Uber takes aim at trucking

After disrupting the taxi cab industry, the famed ride-sharing company's newly launched Uber Freight division is now accepting bookings for cargo moving in 53-foot dry and reefer vans.

Famed ride-sharing service Uber has launched a new application aimed directly at the trucking industry.

Dubbed "Uber Freight," the new app "matches trucking companies with loads to haul," the company said in a statement.

"Vetted users download the app, search for a load, and simply tap to book it," said Uber. "We send a rate confirmation within seconds, eliminating a common anxiety in trucking about whether or not the load is really confirmed."

The company said it is booking cargo moving in 53-foot dry vans and reefer cargo, and that all the loads it lists in the app are exclusive to Uber Freight via contracts with shippers.

Shippers can tender cargo in advance or for the same day. The app requires carriers to have active carrier authority and insurance, and not have conditional or unsatisfactory safety ratings.

The company says on its website that the "majority of the freight in the Uber Freight app is in and out of Texas right now, but you will see loads in the app all over the United States."

It also said that by using the app truckers can "filter loads by location and date to find their best load."

"In many if not all instances [Uber] will be acting as a broker, paying the driver or carrier, collecting from the shipper and keeping a piece in the middle for themselves," according to an article in the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association's Land Line Magazine blog.

While Uber executives would not confirm, the magazine said "that piece will apparently be calculated by a computer algorithm."

The Land Line piece also said said, "Uber Freight’s margin and prices quoted to carriers and shippers are non-negotiable. They’re on a take-it-or-leave it basis."

Uber enters a crowded market of high-tech providers like Cargo Chief that provide services to the trucking industry.

The American Trucking Associations publication Transport Topics pointed to Transfix, Convoy and Trucker Path as examples of companies providing similar "smartphone-enabled, automated freight markets."

Uber Freight said it will pay accessorials if a trucker is detained, is forced to layover, or if a truck order is not used. A full listing of the firm's accessorial rates is available on its website.

Source: American Shipper


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