All those “Uber for trucking” start-ups just got another competitor to contend with: Uber.
After months of operating in stealth mode, the San Francisco company best known for its ride-hailing service took the wraps off Uber Freight, a cloud-based, on-demand, full truck-load freight brokerage on Thursday.
Uber Technologies has been testing Uber Freight for van and refrigerator deliveries since September, starting in the Texas Triangle area between Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin, and now is rolling out nationwide, complete with a YouTube ad announcing the service.
The company wants to win over independent owner-operators, midsize and large carriers by offering drivers one-click signups for loads through a mobile app, along with guarantees they’ll be paid within seven days.
In a Trucks.com interview, Uber Freight executives declined to disclose how many trucking companies or drivers are using the service or how many shippers have signed. Shipping partners on the platform range from mom-and-pop operations to Fortune 500 companies and operate in oil and other industries. Shippers pay contract or spot rates, though officials wouldn’t disclose what those rates are.
Uber is betting the company’s expertise running its ride-hailing business will transfer to the freight industry.
“Uber brings the tech capability and depth of resources and talent that nobody in the space can match,” Uber Freight Director Bill Driegert told Trucks.com.
The company also brings an established brand name and potent technology to the freight business.
“Uber’s disruptive impact has been almost entirely in its easy connection of underutilized assets with demand. That’s the start and finish of why it has swept across the transportation landscape,” said Michael Ramsey, an analyst at Gartner Inc. “An Uber for hauling stuff is sensible and really builds on what trucking companies have tried to do in their own ecosystem to ensure that trucks are full as often as possible.”