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Uber Freight, by 1 measure, was profitable in 1st quarter

Aided by Transplace acquisition, segment posted positive EBITDA for Q1

Photo: Uber Freight

Uber Freight recorded positive earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in the first quarter of 2022.

Uber management had been projecting such a milestone in several of its recent quarterly earnings calls with analysts. It wasn’t by much: just $2 million, which on revenue of  $1.824 billion is an EBITDA margin of 0.1%. EBITDA a year earlier was negative $29 million.

Improvement in the EBITDA margin was 9.7 percentage points.

The growth of Uber Freight through its acquisition of Transplace was a factor in achieving EBITDA profitability. Uber cited “positive contributions from Transplace” as one of the reasons for reaching the goal, along with “increased marketplace efficiency and density of our digital platform, [and] continued automation of the load life cycle.”

First-quarter numbers from Uber Freight were the first to reflect a full quarter of Transplace revenues. The acquisition, announced in July, closed in November. Its primary value proposition was always that Uber Freight had a strong position among carriers, and Transplace’s technology offerings primarily targeted shippers. 

Given the inclusion of Transplace revenues for the full quarter, comparisons between the respective first quarters of 2021 and 2022 are almost meaningless. Uber Freight revenue in the first quarter of 2021 was $302 million compared to the first-quarter 2022 revenue of $1.82 billion.

“Integration efforts are underway; leveraging our digital carrier network across the platform has resulted in over 5% cost savings per Transplace load now being executed on Uber Freight’s leading marketplace technology,” Uber said in its brief summary of Uber Freight’s performance during the quarter. 

In its statement, Uber said it believes that its Freight segment is “well on-track” to reach what is said were “run rate synergies” of $40 million or more from the Transplace acquisition by 12-14 months from its closing.

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John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.