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The San Francisco-based business has built a world-wide empire using its app to connect people that need a ride to automobiles and drivers, effectively adding new capacity to a taxi marketplace that hadn’t changed for decades. The Uber Freight app seeks users and trucks that are already hauling freight, however, and most of those are in high demand in a U.S. shipping market that’s weighed down by a lack of drivers to handle big rigs.
Analysts say Uber Freight needs scale in its services to attract business and compete in a market crowded with freight brokers — companies that match industrial shipments to trucks and drivers looking for freight loads. But it needs more truck drivers on its app in order to gain that scale.
“It’s all about getting capacity,” said Evan Armstrong, president of logistics-consulting firm Armstrong & Associates. “You never want to have to turn down a load to a customer because you can’t find a truck.”
In an effort to attract drivers, Uber Freight last week launched an incentive program offering discounts on fuel, tires, maintenance and the purchase of new and used vehicles. Drivers who use the Uber Freight app to book a load at least once a month are eligible for the discounts under agreements Uber struck with various service providers.
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