In this week’s edition, Uber Freight realizes the freight’s already being Uberized, no one can tell if the future is here or there, and everyone’s investing in technology. To get future editions of Freight News in Cartoons sent directly to your inbox, subscribe here.
Late to the Party
As Uber’s IPO approaches, there’s been some good coverage of their freight operations. Steve Banker wrote an interesting article that explains why he thinks Uber is overestimating the size of the opportunity and underestimating the stiff competition from incumbents and newcomers.
Uber Freight had $359 million in gross bookings in 2018, and continues to gain market share against more traditional load boards, like DAT, and brokers with apps, like J.B. Hunt’s Carrier 360 and C.H. Robinson’s Navisphere.
But the number of digital marketplaces seems to grow by the day. Shipwell has a new load board feature. KeepTruckin plans to launch a Smart Load Board later this year. And Banker points to GlobalTranz's on-demand brokerage platform and Descartes’ MacroPoint as two other potential competitors.
Whether Uber Freight can carve out a profitable niche remains to be seen. But it’s clear that one way or another, the freight will be Uberized.
Is the future here? Or there?
The past couple weeks brought a famous quote by William Gibson to mind, “The future is already here—it’s just not evenly distributed yet.” Perhaps nowhere is that more true than in the transportation industry.
On one hand, you have Nikola unveiling their newest line of zero-emission vehicles and on the other, you have Andy Leuthe, senior director of product marketing at SmartDrive systems, warning that there’s still a significant portion of trucking relying on 3G technology, even as providers like AT&T and Verizon are beginning to shutdown their 3G services.
Meanwhile, Jim Hackett, Ford’s CEO, recently admitted that Ford “overestimated the arrival of autonomous vehicles.”
It all serves as a good reminder of how difficult the future is to predict.
Investment in Transportation Technology
Whether the future is here or not, everyone seems keen to invest in it.
ICONIQ Capital, a Silicon Valley VC firm whose investors include names like Zuckerberg, Sandberg, Dorsey and Hoffman, recently took a majority stake in Truckstop.com, valuing the company at $1 billion. Legendary logistics professionals Paul Loeb (founder of American Backhaulers and Command Transportation) and Jeff Silver (co-founder of Coyote Logistics) have recently teamed up to create Mastery Logistics Systems. And an annual supply chain industry report from MHI showed that 57% of respondents plan to spend $1 million on new technology investments and 22% plan to spend over $10 million.
The technology race continues and the freight keeps moving.
Steele Roddick is a Content Specialist at Microdea where he creates content that helps transportation companies drive their business forward. He’s endlessly fascinated by technology trends, chess, and discovering new places to travel with his wife.