America’s current freight landscape is a mixed bag – for every positive forecast that makes outlooks seem bright, there’s also a lingering problem to go with it.
Case in point – the nation’s freight market is strong, with demand soaring high and expected to continue steadily over the next several years. But there’s a problem finding enough labor to meet shipper demands. For trucking companies, their best option at the moment is to use their own labor as efficiently as possible.
But the trucking industry is unique in that, despite being America’s preferred modality for transporting freight, it is primarily comprised of many small companies and independent contractors. The fragmented market means that, even if there are shippers who need a truck and vice versa, it’s not always easy to coordinate one with the other.
But a major name in the transportation industry has done a lot to help change the game in terms of trucking’s connectivity. Uber has gotten good results in the ride-sharing industry, and they’ve tried their same strategy of implementing simplicity through technology in the freight industry. Though the two fields are unique from one another, Uber’s efforts are heading in the right direction.
Their smartphone app, Uber Freight, has received acclaim for the ability to offer a reliable platform for shippers and receivers. There are many benefits to having such a system, and this includes being able to harness the full potential (or at least close to it) of the fragmented trucking industry.
Uber is reaching all the way with their latest efforts, making an update to the app that uses “fleet mode” to target fleets with ten or fewer trucks. Different drivers can be assigned their own loads based on their availability, which is useful for making sure all members of even the smallest fleet can get business from those in the area.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says that about 90 percent of all carriers in the country have half-a-dozen trucks or less. This means it can be tough for them to get consistent work, especially when they’re competing against established major carriers with large regional supply networks they service on a regular basis. But with trucks carrying well over two-thirds of America’s freight and bringing in nearly 80 percent of revenue across all transport modes, trucking has a lot of untapped potential.
According to DAT Solutions, which tracks freight movement and rates, there are over six loads available for every truck trailer on the system. This is up from previous numbers, showing that if shippers have a platform to use for finding truckers they’ll gravitate toward it and thus help stimulate business.
This platform still won’t do anything to help ease the shortage of truckers plaguing the industry, but it can help make sure all available drivers from smaller fleets are able to get use their efforts as efficiently as possible. Uber’s app has done a lot for the industry, and the fleet update is a great step toward helping trucking’s fragmented nature be an asset rather than a liability.