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Today’s Pickup: Uber Freight expands to Germany

Photo: iStock

Uber Freight has launched in Germany, vaulting the logistics platform into Europe’s largest economy.

Uber (NYSE:UBER) announced the move this morning. It comes six weeks after Uber Freight moved its first load in Europe – a trailer of Heineken in the Netherlands.

Uber is betting that its app will help bridge a huge efficiency gap in Germany’s freight industry – a growing driver shortage combined with a large proportion of empty loads. 

Germany’s trucking industry is headed for a major driver shortage. About 40 percent of drivers are expected to retire in the next 10 to 15 years, leaving a 150,000 shortfall

Uber Freight also pointed to EU statistics showing that 21 percent of the kilometers driven in Germany are empty. “Inefficiency of this scale results in shippers struggling to find available drivers to move their goods,” Uber Freight wrote in a blog post. 

Did you know?

Thai authorities seized more than 12,000 packages of crystal methamphetamine hidden in shipments of tea. Read more about the international meth trade in the latest installment of Freight All Kinds


“We feel women have a way to go before they feel safe.”

— Ellen Voie, president of the Women in Trucking Association, discussing the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration plans to study the prevalence of violence against female and minority drivers.  

In other news:

Massachusetts authorities investigate trucking company in crash that killed seven 

The Massachusetts Attorney General’s office has opened an investigation into the trucking company that employed the driver charged in seven deaths of New Hampshire. (WBUR

Community college offers self-driving truck class

Pima Community College in Arizona is offering a course that teaches commercial vehicle license holders how to drive autonomous trucks.  (CDL Life)

113-year-old bridge collapses under weight of semi

A trucker was fined $11,400 after a bridge collapsed under the weight of his 42-ton truck and trailer in North Dakota. The bridge, built in 1906, was rated for 14 tons. (Williston Herald)

Drugs loaded into MSC Gayane while at sea

The 20 tons of cocaine found in the MSC Gayane were loaded as the vessel traveled between Chile and Panama, according to a federal affidavit. (Wall Street Journal)

Final thoughts:

While Germany is Europe’s largest economy, more freight travels by road in its eastern neighbor, Poland. The $57 billion Polish trucking industry relies on lower labor costs. But EU rules approved in 2018 are expected to change that by requiring a minimum wage within the bloc. With operators looking for ways to improve their margins, Poland could be an interesting place for Uber Freight if it looks to expand into Eastern Europe. 

Hammer down everyone!

Nate Tabak

Nate Tabak is a Toronto-based journalist and producer who covers cybersecurity and cross-border trucking and logistics for FreightWaves. He spent seven years reporting stories in the Balkans and Eastern Europe as a reporter, producer and editor based in Kosovo. He previously worked at newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the San Jose Mercury News. He graduated from UC Berkeley, where he studied the history of American policing. Contact Nate at [email protected]