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Uber Freight takes innovative approach to drop and hook with Powerloop

April 1, 2024 / US
Uber Freight takes innovative approach to drop and hook with Powerloop

VP of Operations Alyssa Correale talks impact of Powerloop program

Drop-and-hook services have become increasingly sought-after, meeting the evolving needs of shippers for flexible transportation solutions while also offering carriers enhanced efficiency and earning potential. Uber Freight’s drop-and-hook capacity solution, Powerloop, has seen explosive growth, with more than 10,000 carriers servicing more than 220,000 loads to date. In 2023 alone, the capacity program experienced a 30% increase in load volume.

FreightWaves recently sat down with Uber Freight Vice President of Operations Alyssa Correale. Correale discussed her background in beverage manufacturing and how it influenced her to innovate the power-only program at Uber Freight, as well as what Powerloop has in store for shippers and carriers.

FREIGHTWAVES: What is Powerloop? 

CORREALE: Powerloop is Uber Freight’s drop-and-hook capacity solution. With Powerloop, carriers can book power-only loads to serve some of the world’s largest shippers’ drop and live freight. They can book one Powerloop load at a time or multiple loads bundled across Uber Freight’s network and grow their business by providing shippers with committed drop and live capacity on a weekly basis or dedicated capacity on an ongoing basis. Powerloop trailers are now equipped with state-of-the-art GPS, cargo sensors, door sensors and 24/7 monitoring cameras. This advanced technology provides real-time visibility into trailer location and capacity, and will soon provide alerts against cargo theft, offering peace of mind to carriers and shippers. Data generated from smart trailers is seamlessly integrated into Uber Freight’s TMS via API, enabling seamless tracing, tracking and proactive risk mitigation.

FREIGHTWAVES: Can you tell us about your background and journey from being a shipper at Niagara to leading the Powerloop team at Uber Freight?

CORREALE: Oh, it’s been quite the journey! Back in 2006, I joined Niagara when it was just a tight-knit group of dedicated individuals. Those early days were all about rolling up our sleeves and getting hands-on with every aspect of the supply chain. From spending three years at the Allentown, Pennsylvania, plant, tackling everything from materials and production planning to warehousing and shipping, I gained invaluable experience that shaped my approach to logistics. As I progressed through roles at Niagara, including leading carrier relations and procurement, I honed a strategy centered on fostering deep partnerships and implementing innovative procurement practices. This blend allowed me to strike a balance between the needs of carriers, customers and bottling plants, fostering efficiency and collaboration every step of the way. My journey continued at Molson Coors in 2014, where I expanded my horizons to encompass other modes and asset management responsibilities. But my true passion has always been at the intersection of technology and partnership, leveraging creativity to drive impactful solutions. In 2020, I found my perfect fit at Uber Freight, where I could channel that passion into action. Joining the Powerloop team in January 2023 was a turning point. It’s been an incredible opportunity to redefine our vision and mission, shaping the fleet of my dreams with an amazing team and cutting-edge technology at our disposal. Every day, I’m inspired by the possibilities we’re unlocking at Uber Freight, and I couldn’t be more excited about the journey ahead!

FREIGHTWAVES: How has your experience as a shipper influenced your approach to developing and leading the Powerloop program? 

CORREALE: Being on the front lines as a shipper gave me a firsthand look at the challenges and opportunities in the world of logistics. I felt the pain points and saw the potential for improvement, which ignited my drive to build something better. You see, shippers aren’t trying to be inefficient — far from it! There’s a whole world of complexity within the four walls of their facilities, and getting a load out on time is no small feat. As carriers, it’s crucial that we understand these intricacies intimately and craft solutions that can adapt and evolve alongside them. That’s why, with Powerloop, my goal is to create a resilient network that adds tangible value to both shippers and carriers alike. It’s about more than just moving freight — it’s about building relationships, fostering collaboration and ultimately driving efficiency across the board. And let me tell you, it’s been one heck of a journey turning those insights into action!

FREIGHTWAVES: What inspired you to transition from being a shipper to working on the carrier side of the industry?

CORREALE: As a shipper, I found myself yearning to make a broader impact — to leave my mark on the entire industry, not just on the operations of a single company. Don’t get me wrong; my time as a shipper was incredibly rewarding. But I knew deep down that I had more to give, more lives to touch, more challenges to tackle. So, I made the leap to the carrier side with a fire in my belly and a vision for change. Working on the carrier side has allowed me to interact with a multitude of shippers and carriers, each with their own unique needs and aspirations. It’s been a whirlwind of learning, growth and, most importantly, impact. Every day I wake up excited to be part of this dynamic industry, driving change and making a difference in ways I never imagined possible as an individual shipper. It’s a journey I wouldn’t trade for anything.

FREIGHTWAVES: As someone who has experienced the challenges of shipping firsthand, what do you believe sets Powerloop apart in addressing the needs of shippers?

CORREALE: Having lived and breathed the shipping world, I can tell you firsthand that flexibility is the name of the game. And that’s exactly where Powerloop shines.  Powerloop is all about power flexibility — giving shippers the optionality they need when it comes to sourcing carrier capacity. Whether it’s building a stable base or flexing during peak seasons, Powerloop’s extensive carrier network has your back. But it’s not just about flexibility — it’s also about network density. The Uber Freight ecosystem is massive. That means our Powerloop assets are highly utilized, delivering incredible value to our dedicated fleet customers. It’s like having your own personal army of carriers at your beck and call, ready to tackle any challenge that comes your way. What sets Powerloop apart is the perfect combination of power flexibility and network density, all wrapped up in a package that’s designed to meet the ever-evolving needs of shippers like never before.

FREIGHTWAVES: Can you share any specific challenges you faced as a shipper that you are now able to address through Powerloop? 

CORREALE: One of the most fulfilling and exciting parts of being a shipper was finding the perfect capacity match for my freight and building a mutually beneficial partnership with my carriers. What I mean by that is the arduous process of weeding through constraints to find the right amount of capacity to fulfill, say, 25 LPW from Allentown, Pennsylvania, to Mount Crawford, Virginia, and landing on a price that works for both calls for celebration! We all know the many steps and challenges in finding the right partners, but we also know how critical it is to everyone’s success! I now understand this more than ever, just how important incumbency is and the effort a fleet makes to build density and fill empty miles around primary volume. What’s incredible about Powerloop is our ability to do that literally anywhere. We aren’t constrained by domiciles, and we can build density extremely quickly. For our customers, this means they can count on Powerloop to not only grow with them where they need us but also to be there for the long term.

FREIGHTWAVES: How does your unique perspective as a former shipper inform the strategies and decisions you make as the leader of the Powerloop team? 

CORREALE: It is critical to have a customer-first mindset.  Sitting in that seat for so many years has allowed me to focus on and deeply understand what’s important to our customers. I can relate to these needs and challenges and develop solutions that tie tightly to their goals. For example, I always had challenges finding a scalable asset-backed solution for volatility. With Powerloop, we’re able to combine the benefits of a reliable asset pool with a flexible source of power to quickly respond to customer needs.

FREIGHTWAVES: What are some key insights you’ve gained from your experience working on both sides of the freight industry?

CORREALE: The value of relationships and true partnership. Deploying assets is expensive and requires trust between all parties. This is especially true when growing fleet size while expanding into new regions. To better illustrate what I’m saying here, let’s talk about a quick example: As a shipper, your supply chain is always changing — whether it’s a massive shift like a plant shutting down or it’s paper cuts of minor shifts like customer ordering behavior changing, a new product launch and the like. The impact of this is big on your carriers; even a few loads per week can drastically change their financials on your business. Establishing deep customer relationships in all areas of the organization allows for continuous communication so that these changes aren’t a surprise, and your carrier can plan around them and be even more prepared to scale back up once the volume comes back, look at ways to support the volume shift to other locations, etc. I don’t care what magical powers a carrier may think they have, without a true partnership, the juice isn’t worth this squeeze! While that has always been integral to my behavior as a shipper, it became magnified once I began managing trucking assets. All my fleet friends that are reading this are surely smiling right now!

FREIGHTWAVES: How does your team leverage its diverse backgrounds and experiences to drive innovation and excellence within the Powerloop program?

CORREALE: I can’t say enough about the diversity and skill set of the Powerloop team! The combination of minds that have multiple decades of experience on the asset side of the house with a variety of deep brokerage teammates truly drives maximum creativity backed by realistic expectations. We have been able to develop unique solutions to challenges that have plagued customers for years even with multiple carrier changes in attempts to find a solution. For example, one of our customers was facing significant detention fees for leaving trailers at their customer for too long. The volume had peaks and valleys and when the peak hit, they were stuck with the same problem every time: money out the window. We were able to implement a flexible capacity option that always picks up trailers to avoid these fees.

FREIGHTWAVES: Can you share any anecdotes or success stories that highlight the impact of Powerloop on shippers and carriers?

CORREALE: Yes! We have built a multiyear partnership with a leading electronics company, who we currently serve as the dedicated fleet provider out of two of their facilities. The company has high expectations for these fleets, and we have delivered, resulting in expansion of our fleets again in 2024. High service performance and continuously optimized truck and trailer count combined with surpassed revenue share expectations has allowed Powerloop to continuously grow our value, even after years of strong partnership. As someone who bought dedicated capacity in my past, the icing on the cake to a high-service dedicated fleet is one that utilizes idle time effectively to drive cost out of the model.

FREIGHTWAVES: What are your goals and vision for the future of Powerloop, and how do you plan to continue empowering shippers and carriers in the industry?

CORREALE: This right here is the good stuff! When I think about Powerloop, I envision a super flexible capacity offering that can adjust dynamically for the shippers’ ever-changing needs but shows up as a consistent and reliable revenue source for our carriers. I know that sounds like dreams, but we are 100% building it today. Our north star is to build the most highly utilized asset fleet in the industry. A couple of examples to illustrate this more clearly:

  • First, while we are just rolling out our bundles technology to our carriers broadly today, underneath it all we are building a self-healing network to deal with the volatility and changing needs of our customers so that our carriers do not have to suffer. Like I talked about before, deploying assets and committing to business is a big deal, and that’s not just for us, but for our carriers too. What we’re building is the ability to be the buffer to these changes and insert freight from the vast Uber Freight network of shipments to plug holes where volatility and last-minute changes would otherwise leave carriers with no work and trailer assets idle.
  • Secondly, advanced trailer technology is crucial to what we’re building. In our industry, trailer visibility and utilization is far from great, and we are filling that void with real-time ingestion of telematics data and putting it to use to drive valuable action.  One of our goals in this space is to leverage our trailer technology and advanced operating system to fully harness the value of a drop trailer asset. Use this asset to support your facility needs, not clog up your yard. Powerloop envisions offering sizable reduction in trailer pools through real-time trailer-to-power communication, getting your loads on their way and out of your yard, faster.

Carriers can bid on any Powerloop lane by providing Uber Freight with their trailer pool, capacity, and rate per load. Learn more and sign up.

Shippers can secure Powerloop capacity now by completing a brief form on Uber Freight’s website. An Uber Freight account representative will be in contact to get started. Learn more and sign up.

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