Legendary folk singer Bob Dylan said it best, “For The Times They Are a-Changin”. Uber’s introduction into the forum of freight brokerage has posed questions about the future of freight by many in the transportation industry. The launch of Uber Freight in May of 2017 was aimed at eliminating the middle man (freight brokers) by connecting shippers and carriers through their real-time application service.
Jeff Tucker, chair of the Transportation Intermediaries Association’s technology committee and CEO of Tucker Company Worldwide, is convinced the automated app is not the answer for problems plaguing carriers. “Drivers want to talk, ask questions, connect, and you cannot stop that conversation. Data will never replace that.” While Uber’s entry into the trucking business is relatively new, the technology behind their application is not. Companies in the industry such as C.H. Robinson, XPO Logistics and Coyote Logistics all have mobile platforms, but still rely heavily on traditional methods.
Uber Freight is setting out to offer shippers new capacity, total rate transparency, real-time tracking and market intelligence that drive decisions in their supply chain. Even with the added features Uber is touting, there are still many hurdles to overcome regarding industry acceptance. According to joc.com, “Uber Freight must convince independent truck drivers and those running small trucking companies that freight can be brokered, booked, managed, and monitored instantaneously with a single click on a smartphone.” It will be interesting to see if Uber can use its brand equity to put a dent into a long standing $700 billion industry.