Uber Freight Hopes App Will Alleviate $1B Annual Trucker Losses

January 31, 2019 by Alan Adler, @AlanAdler

Uber Freight wants to tap the collective experiences of truckers to rate shippers and their loading docks for how quickly drivers can get in and out.

Delays at loading docks, also known as detention time, are a sore point for truckers. Collectively, detention time robs U.S. truckers of an estimated $1.1 billion to $1.3 billion in income annually, according to an audit by the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General.

That translates to estimated losses of $1,281 to $1,534 a year because of unexpected wait times on loading docks.

Uber Freight is applying the driver rating system from the Uber ride-hailing service to get truckers to leave feedback on shipping facilities.

Truckers can leave ratings on facilities and their amenities on the app. (Photo: Uber Freight)

Drivers have seven days after a pickup or delivery to rate a facility. Uber Freight analyzes comments and works with the shipper to determine what changes would improve its rating.

“Shippers are able to receive real information right from the source about what happened at that facility and what’s going on,” said Kate Kaufman, Uber Freight operations director.

The shippers cannot respond to specific comments.

So far, Uber Freight has received comments on 10,000 shipping facilities from its 30,000 active users.

The crowd-sourced model is an extension of a Freight Insights analytics tool Uber Freight recently embedded in its app.

Detention Time

Reducing the time drivers wait to load or unload freight has emerged as the focus of the feedback.

So-called detention time has become a bigger issue for drivers since enforcement began in April 2018 of
Electronic Logging Devices. They replaced paper logs as a safety measure to assure truckers limited their driving to the required 11 hours in a 14-hour period.

Tired and drowsy driving contributed to a 4 percent increase in fatalities among heavy-duty truck drivers in 2017 compared with 2016, according to federal statistics.

A 15-minute increase in waiting time spent by a truck at a facility increases the average expected crash rate by 6.2 percent, according to the federal audit.

Additionally, trucking companies lose $251 million to $303 million annually because of detention time.

The American Transportation Research Institute is comparing studies of detention time done before and after implementation of ELDs, said Rebecca Brewster, president of the research arm of the American Trucking Associations.

“With a finite amount of drive time, anything that identifies waste and abuse is welcome,” Nancy O’Liddy of the Transportation Intermediaries Association told Trucks.com.

Breaking Bottlenecks

Its shipper platform, launched in August 2018, has made detention time more important to Uber Freight than when it was just providing an app for drivers to find loads. It pays drivers $75 an hour for the first four hours of detention.

Driver feedback could help shippers discover bottlenecks that lead to higher detention, Kaufman said. Driver amenities, such as overnight parking and access to restrooms, also matter.

“I see it having a significant impact on the shipper side because they can address those issues,” she said. “It’s not just about cutting shipper costs.”

Logistics giant DAT Solutions offers its customers a star rating for shipper facilities. They can read comments about a given company when deciding whether to do business.

“In general, crowd sourcing (is) valid,” said Mark Montague, DAT senior pricing analyst. “It’s one of the benefits of social media.”

Read Next: Uber Freight Launches Shipper Platform, Wants Bigger Cargo Share

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