Called Uber Freight, the new service connects those wishing to have something shipped with a truck driver or trucking company able to make the delivery. Like Uber’s ride-hailing service, customers use a dedicated app to arrange pickup and delivery but with the added ability to book a shipment up to seven days in advance.
“We take the guesswork out of finding and booking freight, which is often the most stressful part of a driver’s day,” Uber said in a post on Medium Tuesday. “What used to take several hours and multiple phone calls can now be achieved with the touch of a button.”
Uber is pitching the service as “leveling the playing field” by simplifying freight bookings so as to eliminate “a common anxiety in trucking about whether or not the load is really confirmed,” as well as what will likely be the biggest appeal to truck drivers: quick payments. The company claims that traditional trucking companies have had to wait at least 30 days to be paid. Uber Freight will settle outstanding payments within a “few days, fee-free, for every single load,” with a promise to pay compensation should payments ever be delayed.
“We fundamentally believe that by focusing on drivers’ pain points we can solve the industry’s biggest challenges,” Uber added. “Happy drivers means happy shippers, and ultimately everyone benefits, including the end consumers of the goods.”
According to data from Truckerpath.com, the trucking industry in the United States generates $726 billion in revenue a year, a figure expected to rise by 75 percent by 2026. It’s a no-brainer market for Uber to enter. Even if it can only capture a small slice of the market and then charge for the service — currently it’s not taking a cut of payments — that could add billions to Uber’s revenue over the next five to 10 years.