Uber Freight Expanding to Six New Markets

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【Summary】Uber Freight will expand to Arizona, California, Georgia, North and South Carolina and into the Midwest-Chicago area over the next few months after a successful test run in Texas that first began in May.

Original   Eric Walz  ·  Aug 07, 2017 5:31 PM PT
author: Eric Walz   

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Uber Freight will expand to Arizona, California, Georgia, North and South Carolina and into the Midwest-Chicago area over the next few months after a successful test run in Texas that first began in May.

Truckers will be able to book freight pick-ups in California, Arizona, Georgia, the Carolinas and around the Chicago area, the company announced in a blog post last week. The rollout is expected to take a few months. The Uber Freight app also will begin proactively suggesting loads to truckers based on their past routes and deliveries.

"These new areas represent where drivers like to run, which makes sense: These regions including Texas cover over a quarter of the country's drivers and freight," the company wrote in a blog post. "Unlocking this geography allows more carriers and their drivers to grow their businesses with Uber Freight's instant load booking and quick payment. While today we still have most of our loads in Texas, over the coming months drivers can expect to see an ever-increasing number of loads available on the app in these new markets."

A Smarter Trucking App

The transportation giant also said that it has heard from truck drivers who prefer to haul specific types of freight in specific lanes. As a result, Uber announced it will build new features to "automatically learn drivers' preferences based on their past loads, their location, their home base, and more. When a new load is available that matches these preferences, the app will notify the driver."

Uber has declined to publicly release data on the number of carriers and shipments brokered so far, but the group told USA Today that load counts have increased tenfold in Texas since January.

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"We aren't releasing specific numbers on carriers and shipments, but since we started testing with Texas truckers in January we've seen a tenfold increase in load volumes," Bill Driegert, director of Uber Freight, told USA TODAY.

Finding a new revenue stream in the trucking world makes sense for Uber, as the company is facing changes. Uber is actively looking for a new CEO after co-founder Travis Kalanick was ousted in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal. Meanwhile, its international expansion efforts in China and Russia meet with resistance and Uber was forced to settle for partnerships in both countries.

Meanwhile, trucking remains a vital part of American commerce as a $800 billion a year business that struggles to find enough drivers to meet demand.

Uber Sees Room for Improvement in the Trucking Industry

Uber Freight hope to address a few common concerns of drivers, which include transparency and efficient in payments as well as route scheduling that gets them home faster.

"There are a variety of companies out there calling themselves the 'Uber of freight,' but we feel there are nuances in the transportation market that we are uniquely well suited to solve," said Eric Berdinis, product leader on Uber Freight.

"In freight, you have a similar story to what you had with taxis," he says. "There's little visibility into where loads or trucks are, and it's an error prone process that often leaves drivers with the short end of the stick, missing shipments or being short-changed on fees."

While Uber Freight is trying to empower truck drivers, the company's very own Uber ATG trucks, division, formerly known as Otto, is working hard on self-driving technology that would find them monitoring a truck's progress on the highway from inside the cab. In the future, this may be done remotely.

Uber is not alone in its quest to disrupt the trucking industry. Seattle-based Convoy, which launched its trucking app in 2015, recently announced that it had closed a $62 million Series B round with investments from Y Combinator as well Bill Gates.

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