Uber Quietly Launches a New Freight Marketplace
While Uber made headlines with their delivery of a case of beer via an autonomous vehicle, the company isnâ€™t stopping there. After their acquisition of Otto earlier this year, theyâ€™ve seem determined to continue their transition the ride-sharing field to the freight industry.
While the two industries both pertain to transportation, theyâ€™re very different in how their operations must be handled. Still, Uber is taking the same decentralized approach with its newest endeavor as it did with its ride-hailing model.
But the company has been quieter about their newest endeavor â€“ a trucking marketplace that will help give them a notable spot in the long-haul trucking business. This â€œUber for truckingâ€ network will provide new opportunities for connectivity and efficiency within the field according to Uber officials.
Eric Berdinis, Uber Freight product lead said: “Even if you look pre-acquisition, Otto was always about reinventing transportation. Though we started with the announcement of the self-driving trucks, we were always intending to build a marketplace that would allow self-driving trucks to flourish.”
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick noted that trucking was a new challenge with an interesting and nuanced environment. He also noted that the company had a positive outlook about how their marketplace would perform and the impact it would have on the trucking industry.
By connecting a shipper with a truck, the system is not entirely unlike Uberâ€™s ridesharing model. But given that trucking is more complicated business, the marketplace is designed to handle the challenge. For starters, it eliminates the middleman, allowing shippers to get real-time pricing without dealing with a brokerage firm.
While much of the details are still being worked out, the basic premise of the marketplace is that it will provide realistic and affordable rates by matching the factors that determine prices â€“ supply and demand. Without middlemen and other types of interference, the process of finding a truck could soon become much easier for shippers.
Berdinis spoke about the potential financial benefits, saying: “You’re going to save money by having real-time pricing,” he said. “Having a middleman who is essentially making phone calls all day long at its very core is not efficient.”