In the past 2 years, there have been a number of startup businesses seeking to improve the process of moving freight. Most promise to eliminate the middleman in the shipper-broker-customer triangle. Some have even survived, others have not.
Because all utilize an app in some way, most have referred to them as “Uber for freight” operations. Some have embraced that characterization, hoping to cash in on the Uber craze that has taken over so much of the country. Others have tried to differentiate themselves.
One company, though, that is definitely embracing the Uber model is Uber. By now, many know that Uber purchased a startup company called Otto. If you are not familiar with Otto, it is a business that has been promising to deliver an add-on “autonomous” driving technology that could be bolted onto existing trucks to allow them to drive autonomously.
That Otto truck demonstration recently made a delivery of Budweiser beer, into the heart of Coors Country, no less. It turns out, though, that the purchase of Otto was a first step, a step that has moved forward with the creation of Uber Freight.
Yes, a true “Uber for freight” model has launched.
“Even if you look preacquisition, Otto was always about reinventing transportation,” Eric Berdinis, Uber Freight product lead, told Business Insider. “Even though we started with the announcement of the self-driving trucks, we were always intending to build a marketplace that would allow self-driving trucks to flourish.”
The Uber Freight model, as of now, focuses on an app that allows shippers and carriers to connect, promising again to eliminate the middleman. According to Business Insider, that app may eventually include “dynamic” pricing, allowing carriers to charge more for their services in areas where it is appropriate – similar to the way Uber drivers charge for fares.
Is Uber Freight another in a long line of “Uber for Freight” freight matching systems, or is it something more that will stand out from the crowd?
At least it has name recognition as it gets started. That’s a start.