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Uber Freight’s Q4 numbers up from 2019 and from third quarter

EBITDA loss also narrows year-on-year and sequentially from Q3

(Image: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

(Editor’s note: fixing spelling of Nelson Chai. Also clarifying increase in number of users of Uber Freight or API service.)

Uber Freight posted significant year-on-year growth in revenue and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), according to the fourth-quarter earnings released by its parent, Uber Technologies (NYSE: UBER).

What Uber calls gross bookings, a proxy for revenue, rose to $313 million in the fourth quarter from $219 million in the fourth quarter of last year, according to the report. That’s a 43% jump. 

Sequentially, the fourth quarter improved upon the third. In the third quarter of 2020, Uber Freight recorded revenue of $288 million, for a fourth-quarter gain of 8.6% over the third quarter.

Meanwhile, adjusted EBITDA for Uber Freight narrowed to a loss of $41 million from a loss of $55 million last year. In the third quarter, adjusted EBITDA at Uber Freight was negative $73 million.

In its prepared statement released in conjunction with the earnings report, Uber said one of the reasons for the improved performance at Uber Freight was the Uber Freight Enterprise offering that it rolled out in September. That service gives shippers more control over their freight. It also provides greater visibility into a route, including estimated times of arrival as well as digital documents. The company said the number of active shippers using what it called the “automated visibility into loads” through either Uber Freight Enterprise or through its API service was up 45% in the fourth quarter from the thrid quarter, “as ELD integration rollout reduces the manual touch points needed to service a load.”

“Market rates were elevated in the fourth quarter, putting pressure on shipper supply chains,” Chai said. He said Uber Technologies “feel[s] good about the progress that freight is making, and we are encouraged by the numerous awards the team has won.”

In the company’s supplemental financial report, it had a graphic that highlighted awards from several companies, including FreightWaves, FourKites and SAP.

That slide also provided other data on some current metrics at Uber Freight. The division’s run rate at the end of the year was $1.3 billion. The number of carriers that Uber Freight said had “joined” its digital fleet via its app was 71,000.

The slide also highlighted the $500 million investment by Greenbriar Equity Group in Uber Freight made in early October.

Although the Greenbriar investment was made in the fourth quarter, it was not discussed on the earnings call. The investment had been announced before the third-quarter earnings call and had been a featured topic on that discussion. 

There were no questions about Uber Freight on this quarter’s call with analysts. 

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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.