Uber Freight’s virtual Deliver reflects changing times and supply chain resilience

September 17 / US
Uber Freight’s virtual Deliver reflects changing times and supply chain resilience

Uber Freight hosted its third-annual Deliver conference in early September, but this year’s event looked a little different. Lior Ron, Head of Uber Freight, opened the 2 days of all-virtual content with a nod to the effects of the ongoing pandemic and Uber Freight’s part within it: “Our mission is to simplify the movement of goods to help communities thrive. This year, more than ever, we found ourselves living this mission. Every day, we’re honored to play a small role in bringing our industry together.” 

https://youtu.be/7gu4QHNaBiQ

Commitment to relief and social justice 

Ron highlighted Uber Freight’s COVID-19 efforts—70,000-plus relief loads and shipments of over 15 million pounds of donated goods—with a commitment to providing further aid. He also announced the 10 Million Pound Challenge, a collaboration with relief organizations like FEMA and the American Logistics Aid Network. With this initiative, Uber Freight will cover shipping costs so that crucial products can continue to reach communities in need. Kate Kaufman, Uber Freight’s Director of Account Management, echoed Ron’s sentiments while emphasizing that social improvements don’t just come in the form of relief loads. She reinforced Uber Freight’s dedication to anti-racism, citing that 47% of surveyed carriers view inequity as a huge industry problem.

Collaboration and innovation for shippers and carriers

“We are moving more freight with greater automation and more reliability than ever before. We’ve seen usage of our own API take off like a rocket ship. Our shippers want instant information. We’re listening and launching more tools. At the heart of it, our vision is also to become the top choice for carriers so we can guarantee best-in-class coverage and service. We are devoted to innovate for our carriers, attracting and retaining the best.”

Lior Ron, Head of Uber Freight

Many of Deliver’s subsequent sessions centered around how Uber Freight is furthering industry growth through technology innovation and partnerships. Ron and KeepTruckin CEO Shoaib Makani discussed Uber Freight’s recent ELD integration, a transparency win for all sides of the industry. Kaufman led a panel highlighting the sustainability efforts of Uber Freight and its customers, while Director of Operations Bill Driegert led a roundtable on the powerful effects our API has had on shippers’ abilities to meet pandemic needs. Ron was later joined by Cornershop CEO Oskar Hjertonsson to chat about the future of grocery delivery, and MIT’s logistics expert Chris Caplice delivered his ever-popular session on the evolution of transportation procurement.

Technology advances and the Uber ecosystem

“We built Uber Freight to be a tech-first platform because we believe it will lead to more reliability, flexibility, and transparency for our shippers. We’re creating more reasons for carriers of all sizes to choose Uber Freight as the first place to go to book loads. We want to make it easier and more efficient to move freight on our network and find new ways to reward [carriers] for providing excellent service in moving your freight.

Raj Subbiah, Director of Product, Uber Freight

Members of Uber Freight’s product and design teams outlined how Uber Freight’s technology is playing a key role in building supply chain resilience, especially during volatile times. New equipment offerings like flatbed, bulk load building, self-serve contracts, and the price compare feature are just a few of the tech-first facets ensuring that the platform meets shippers’ needs. In that vein, the team also presented a deep dive into Uber Freight Link and Uber Freight Enterprise, 2 new product offerings that give more control and visibility to enterprise customers.

The sessions zoomed out to highlight the power of the Uber ecosystem as a whole. Liz Meyerdirk, Global Head of Ads, Uber Direct, and Merchant Platform, took the audience through Uber Direct, the new way Uber is helping businesses serve their customers through last-mile delivery. “Our goal is to become your trusted platform, not just for your first- and middle-mile needs,” she said, “but for your final-mile needs as well. We want to enable our shipper partners in your everyday business.” 

To close out the conference, Ron engaged Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi in a wide-ranging discussion about leadership, sustainability, social justice, and, of course, the future of Uber Freight. Khosrowshahi said, “We’ve always thought of Uber as a real-time logistics platform for moving people and things. We want to be able to move end-to-end-to-end delivery, and Freight is that next level for us to be a logistics provider in real time and at a national and global scale.” As part of Uber’s greater vision, Khosrowshahi emphasized the massive opportunities that the freight space provides and Uber’s commitment to solve industry problems at scale.  

We’re grateful to the 400-plus shippers who tuned in to Deliver 2020 from all corners of the country. Although times remain uncertain, we’re looking forward to hosting next year’s conference in person at Uber’s new Chicago headquarters. If you’re looking to enhance your shipping operations, learn more about working with Uber Freight here.

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