Uber Freight, a division of Uber Technologies (NYSE: UBER), works to streamline the entire freight-booking process and increase access for small carriers and owner-operators. In an effort to connect with its client base firsthand, the popular digital freight marketplace often sends representatives to industry events.
The company had a booth at the Great American Trucking Show (GATS) in Dallas last week. This provided its current and potential carrier partners with an opportunity to stop by and get to know the team face-to-face. In addition to engaging with partners at trucking shows, Uber Freight has a Carrier Advisory Board that meets throughout the year and 24/7 carrier support.
“Attending trucking shows like GATS has been in our DNA since the very beginning,” Uber Freight Director of Carrier Operations Sagar Shah said. “We love meeting and talking to carriers and drivers firsthand. We consider feedback from carriers when we build our products. We aim to understand and meet their business needs and challenges.”
Uber Freight’s carrier operations team exists to create and manage driver and carrier relationships. Getting real-time feedback is an important part of helping carriers get comfortable with both the team and the product.
“We have had carriers that work with us on a regular basis come up to us [at GATS] and say, ‘I had trouble with this one load I worked last week. Can you help me resolve this issue?” Shah said. “It has been great to provide that level of support in a face-to-face interaction because often it is a phone-to-phone interaction.”
The company sparked conversations last week with the launch of a new web portal for dispatchers and a redesign of its mobile application for carriers. The launch of the web portal paves a way for dispatchers to manage loads outside the mobile app for the first time, making Uber Freight an attractive tool for carriers with a larger pool of trucks.
“It’s true that fleets of one tractor comprise 60% of the total number of fleets, according to a recent FreightWaves estimate contained in our research paper ‘What are digital freight brokerages worth?’ But those single-tractor fleets only represent 8.7% of all trucking capacity,” FreightWaves Associate Editor JP Hampstead reported last week. “Including fleets of two to three tractors gets you another 6.6% of the industry. To get exposure to the majority of for-hire capacity, Uber Freight needed to provide a tool that could be used to manage a fleet of around 50 tractors.”
The introduction of the new portal opened Uber Freight up to midsize fleets in a way that it never was before. Showcasing that product at a show like GATS right after launch provided the company with a chance to connect with potential new carrier partners in a more personal manner.
Whether a fleet has one truck or 50 trucks, Uber Freight’s goal is the same: Eliminate wasted time and allow small carriers access to Fortune 500 shippers that would otherwise be impossible to reach.
“We want to improve the day-to-day lives of small carriers or owner-operators,” Shah said. “So much of that time is spent looking for the right loads and doing administrative work. What we have built is meant to reduce all the time spent on the administrative side and the load discovery side so they can focus more time on moving freight and being on the road.”
Uber Freight can level the playing field between large and small carriers by setting rates based on market conditions and a pricing algorithm, rather than by negotiating power on the phone.
Uber Freight travels to trucking shows around the country throughout the year in an effort to meet current and potential carrier partners right where they are. If the conversations at GATS are any indication, that strategy works.