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Uber Freight integration offers shippers rideshare-level simplicity

Bill Driegert, Uber Freight co-founder and head of operations: “You get a price, hit a button and execute.”

  • Bill Driegert, Uber Freight co-founder and head of operations: “You get a price, hit a button and execute.”

Uber Freight is partnering with AI supply chain services vendor Blue Yonder on a carrier marketplace offering that will allow the digital freight brokerage to access more demand from the software provider’s TMS user base.

The solution, which functions as a dynamic pricing offering, provides both instant quoting of real-time market-based prices and instant booking capabilities, enabling businesses that use the TMS to tap into automated execution and Uber Freight’s network of over 50,000 freight carriers in the U.S. and Europe.

Put simply, the  API integration will yield a user experience similar to the Uber rideshare service, said Bill Driegert, Uber Freight’s co-founder and head of operations. “You get a price, hit a button and execute,” he told FreightWaves. “Now we can give that experience to shippers.”

That seamless transaction is a far cry from the typical method of pricing freight, a time- consuming process that often requires processing multiple bids, uploading to a TMS system and putting freight on a spot market board. 

“Effectively we’ve compressed that transaction,” Driegert said. The integration fits in with Uber’s broader goal to fully automate freight, he added, and Blue Yonder is a leading SCM platform vendor.

Supply chain gets front billing

Since September, Blue Yonder has been expanding its logistics capabilities, ElMarie Hugo, the firm’s senior director for 3PL, distribution and logistics industry strategy, told FreightWaves in an email.

The company has introduced  two new extensions of its TMS to help freight and shipper customers address spot-loading and empty-mile challenges. In addition to Uber Freight, the company has offered the dynamic pricing solution to Schneider, the transportation and logistics giant.

“The issues of price and capacity imbalances experienced in the market were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hugo said, “making the timing of our solutions fortunate for freight/shipper customers who can leverage these solutions to deal with the changing freight market.”

Blue Yonder’s Luminate Platform is powered by Microsoft Azure and combines internal and external data from across a customer’s digital supply chain assets. The company says it is designed to provide more actionable artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)-based business decisions.

Rumors of death greatly exaggerated

The Uber Freight integration comes during a challenging time for Uber Technologies.

The parent company in May laid off 3,000 more employees and closed 45 more offices, after a first round of layoffs that totaled more than 3,700 employees. In an email obtained by The Wall Street Journal, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told employees that Uber was “making really, really hard choices right now,” including reevaluating noncore cash-burning businesses like Uber Freight and autonomous driving. 

The division has since vigorously denied reports of its imminent demise. 

“Words got misinterpreted,” Driegert told FreightWaves. Uber Freight is “still operating at 100%, full steam ahead,” he said, and the company continues to build out products and  service all customers, with a goal of “simplifying transportation and building a platform for all types of transportation.”

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Linda Baker.

Related stories:

Enhanced digitalization as Schneider, Blue Yonder collaborate on carrier marketplace

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Linda Baker, Senior Environment and Technology Reporter

Linda Baker is a FreightWaves senior reporter based in Portland, Oregon. Her beat includes autonomous vehicles, the startup scene, clean trucking, and emissions regulations. Please send tips and story ideas to lbaker@freightwaves.com.
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