The launch of the Uber Freight app in 2016 naturally received a lot of attention when parent company Uber shared its vision of a future that marginalizes the value of freight brokers and 3PLs in the nation’s supply chains. The app is designed to connect shippers with truck drivers and carriers by communicating in real-time. Uber Freight believes its app will help shippers overcome carrier capacity constraints and drive prices lower.
The Uber Freight app is not an entirely new concept. Other companies have implemented similar apps with mixed results. None has disrupted the 3PL industry. Logistics Management reports that numerous companies have designed and built apps, but up to 9 out of 10 are launched without a deep understanding of what the shippers and carriers need to be successful.
While Uber has a successful track record of connecting passengers with drivers, the world of commercial trucking and freight movement is much more complex and requires significant hands-on customer service.
The reality is top 3PL firms have been investing in technology for years and several have succeeded in automating much of the process lifecycle. On GlobalTranz’s technology platform, for instance, shippers connect with carriers, get quotes, book shipments, manage loads, and improve operative and competitive advantages utilizing data-driven analytics in near real-time. The best 3PL’s complement their technology platform with logistics professionals who provide unparalleled customer service to deal with the dynamics of moving freight: traffic, weather, damages, appointment times, driver advances, lumpers, strikes, mechanical issues, regulatory compliance, proof of delivery, invoice matching – just to name a few.
While the benefits of using apps to ship freight are intriguing, the reality is many freight shipments require the insights of logistics experts to navigate the complexities of shipping.
Uber is offering an exciting alternative to the industry and will likely be successful in carving out a niche in on-demand freight movement. The company is also investing in advancing innovative technologies like autonomous vehicles, which will benefit the entire logistics industry.
3PLs will continue to add value for shippers that want and need an array of shipping options and solutions, compliance and risk management, advanced analytics technology, deep industry knowledge and a strong foundation of relationships to solve complex logistics challenges.
At GlobalTranz, we look forward to working alongside or in partnership with Uber and other on-demand freight options as we continue to grow our freight brokerage and 3PL service offerings. Contact GlobalTranz today to discuss how we can add value to your business.
Read our related piece, Freight Brokerage Value vs. Uber Freight Buzz.