More than a year after it built a large following through its app for drivers, Uber Freight is now turning the spotlight on shippers. The company today announced the launch of Uber Freight for Shippers, a desktop-based app platform that provides direct access to carriers and more transparency into shipments.
“This is our first [foray] into building something from the ground up for shippers,” Stefan Sohlstrom, product manager, tells FreightWaves.
Built over the past 1 ½ years, the shipper platform is designed for those shippers that don’t have robust transportation management systems (TMS) like the Fortune 500 shippers do. Because of that, these shippers have been at a disadvantage and without some of the benefits larger shippers see due to the visibility TMS provides.
“From the shipper side, we didn’t have a touchpoint … for the smaller shipper,” Bill Driegert, director of Uber Freight says.
Developed in cooperation with shippers, the new platform speeds the process it takes to post a load. Just a few clicks will create and tender the load, and once Uber Freight receives the load posting, it provides a cost to move that load. That cost is guaranteed to the shipper, once accepted. From there, Uber Freight’s app takes over and drivers/carriers can then accept that load.
The shippers get transparent pricing that is guaranteed, putting the risk to move that load at the agreed-upon price on Uber Freight should the rate rise.
“That risk is there for any participant or intermediary,” Driegert explains. “For us, because it is in real-time, we can react [quicker to market changes].”
Through the platform, shippers also get access to Uber Freight’s large network of drivers and carriers – something they may have had to pay more for through a traditional broker. Finally, the platform provides advanced document management and transparency not previously available to those shippers without a robust TMS system.
“On the platform, you get to see the real-time GPS location, but everything about the load is very transparent,” Sohlstrom says. This includes how long it takes Uber Freight to book the truck for the load.
Once delivered, the shipper has access to all documents related to the load, including proof of delivery, organized and stored for future use.
Driegert says that in building the platform, Uber Freight worked with shippers to identify things they liked about moving freight, and some of the pain points they deal with on a daily basis. The result is a platform designed especially for shippers that helps them improve supply chain efficiency. Prior to the app, shippers were able to book loads with Uber Freight, but it was done through other means, such as email.
“This is [really] designed for the shippers that are underserved by TMS systems,” Sohlstrom notes. Larger shippers with TMS systems will still be able to interact with the Uber Freight app through those systems.
As of now, Uber Freight for Shippers is only available as a desktop app.