For this month’s Industrial Insider, we interviewed Laurent Hautefeuille, who is the head of business development and strategy and planning at Uber Freight.
Launched in 2017, Uber Freight connects truck drivers with shippers, much in the same way the company’s ride-hailing app pairs up drivers with those looking for a ride. Uber has planned to invest $200 million annually and hire thousands of employees to bolster its long-haul trucking venture. The business is headquartered in downtown Chicago.
1. Would you please explain more about Uber Freight’s global platform, and how it simplifies the movement of goods and end-to-end delivery?
The Uber Freight platform seamlessly connects shippers to one of the largest digitally enabled carrier networks in the U.S., and our products help businesses of all sizes establish a competitive advantage through their supply chain.
By enabling transparency and quick payments for carriers, and reliable capacity, flexible procurement and real-time supply chain visibility for shippers, Uber Freight has transformed the freight industry to reduce inefficiencies and increase collaboration.
Uber Freight is working to solve for the most labor-intensive touch points throughout the freight lifecycle, removing friction from transactions to maximize efficiency for shippers with real-time pricing and matching capabilities. This includes one-touch load tendering, automatic load status information and unique insights into the end-to-end freight process, like visibility into shipping facility performance directly from carriers.
2. How does Uber Freight see the ability to provide local and real-time information to their customers as the one of the platforms for their future growth?
Unexpected changes in supply and demand have come to define our new normal. Shippers need real time visibility into market conditions and pricing to remain agile and make quick decisions to maintain consistency and service for their customers.
Real-time capabilities are built into all of Uber Freight’s shipper and carrier products—and through partnerships with providers like Oracle, SAP and Blujay, we also bring real-time pricing and instant capacity to shippers within the Transportation Management Systems (TMS) they already use.
Our direct API integrations lead to reduced costs, flexible operations for shippers and best-in-class customer experiences. We’ve seen the power of API integrations as COVID-19 has upended norms and changed procurement standards. In March and April, when the market was particularly volatile, we saw an increase of more than 150 percent in load volume from shippers using the Uber Freight API.
3. Could you please explain more about the benefits of Uber’s “shipper platform” software?
Designed for small- and medium-sized shippers, Uber Freight Shipper Platform is a powerful, intuitive, self-serve platform that enables shippers to instantly tap into our network of more than 75,000 carriers and manage shipments directly from their desktop. Shippers can see instant upfront load pricing, tender a load with only a few clicks and track their shipment from start to finish.
Shipper Platform features make it easier for small businesses to manage their logistics needs together in one place and simplify the end-to-end freight lifecycle. These include enabling shippers to input detailed load needs, lock in transparent pricing up to two weeks in advance of loads, access flexible payment and seamless billing options and see load ETAs with industry-leading accuracy. With insights into feedback from carriers at shipping facilities that are otherwise opaque, shippers can also address operational inefficiencies across their supply chains.
4. What can you tell us about Uber Freight’s new “Link” that is designed to optimize costs and leverage the power of Uber technology to manage the customer’s entire network?
This fall, we launched new software solutions for enterprise-scale shippers. These products are an extension of our shipper platform and equip enterprises with end-to-end control of their freight.
Uber Freight Link is innovative load execution software that makes Uber Freight’s technology and its benefits available to shippers across their existing carrier network, not just within their Uber Freight loads. This means a shipper can access the same level of load visibility, seamless tendering and digital documentation directly within their network of carriers.
Uber Freight Link unlocks higher customer satisfaction and lower costs for shippers, driven by better service and higher automation of typically inefficient manual processes.
5. How are Uber Freight and Uber Direct addressing the increasing last mile requirements with their shipping partners?
Uber Freight is designed to reduce points of friction throughout the end-to-end freight lifecycle. Newly launched, Uber Direct now leverages the power of the Uber network to provide access to on-demand and scheduled last-mile delivery solutions for organizations to serve consumers and businesses alike. These technologies work hand in hand, helping businesses to move their goods efficiently around the country.
6. Please tell us a bit more about how Uber Freight is addressing the environmental impact of the logistics industry?
Transportation, particularly freight, has a significant impact on our environment. Trucking is one of the most energy-intensive modes of ground transportation—accounting for 6.62 percent of the overall greenhouse gas emissions in the United States and 23 percent of greenhouse gas emissions within the transportation vertical. Research has shown that one out of every four trucks you see on the highway is driving empty, but still contributing to emissions.
Uber Freight is building a more sustainable freight industry in the long term. Efficient routing for carriers is key to reducing environmental impact, and Uber Freight already has the technology we need to power this kind of industry transformation. With our Bundles feature, a carrier can book a round trip in one easy step, instead of booking each load separately, which often means a longer and less efficient route that generates extra emissions due to the deadhead (miles driven empty) between deliveries. The feature has led to a 22.6 percent reduction in empty miles for carriers using it—and this will only continue to increase. In the future, Uber Freight plans to expand Bundles beyond round trips to allow our algorithms to optimize a carrier’s miles to minimize their deadhead.
Elise A. Couston, SIOR is a Senior Managing Director at Newmark.