Deadhead, the industry term for miles a truck drives with an empty trailer, is one of the most costly problems in trucking. Surveys vary on the distance carriers drive without an active load—estimates range from a low of 15% to a high of 30%. That translates into tens of billions of lost miles every year, creating an enormous loss of time and fuel.
And let’s not forget, when trailers are running empty, carriers aren’t earning.
A new report from the Policy Research team at Uber, "How efficient load matching can reduce deadhead miles in trucking," shows that load bundling a feature on the Uber Freight platform, can help reduce empty miles for owner-operators and fleets by 22.6 percent.
Algorithmic load bundling by Uber Freight
Carriers have been doing their own version of load bundling for decades by trying to book their next pickup, usually a return trip, as close to their upcoming delivery as possible. The closer the 2 facilities, the less deadhead. Most carriers bundle trips by searching through available loads manually—a time-consuming process that often doesn’t result in the most efficient load possible.
The load bundling feature on the Uber Freight platform automates the process of finding the best possible loads available near a delivery location. Powered by a proprietary algorithm, our entire load board is searched instantly for the most efficient results.
Kilian Heilmann, a research economist at Uber, estimates that loads bundled through the app save an average of 17.2 miles between facilities, leading to a 22.6% reduction in deadhead.
This reduction can help drivers save on fuel costs and also reduce wear and tear on trucks. The time saved can also allow drivers to use their hours of service more efficiently, an area of concern for carriers and shippers alike.
Best yet, finding load bundles couldn’t be easier. Whenever a carrier books a load on the Uber Freight platform, return loads are automatically suggested. The algorithm customizes the results to their preferences like equipment type, commodity, trip length, and trailer requirements.
If you’re an owner-operator, dispatcher, or fleet owner, load bundles from Uber Fleet can increase your efficiency and simplify your workday. To make the most of every mile, sign up with Uber Freight today.