Why market liquidity matters in freight

February 9 / US
Why market liquidity matters in freight

Uber Freight was founded to make moving freight as easy as taking a ride with Uber. We started by imagining the best, most seamless experience for carriers, shippers, and drivers. We then worked backward to optimize all the inefficient steps along the way, including checking load boards, negotiating rates, managing contracted lanes, coordinating shipments, processing payments, and more.

Although matching shippers and carriers efficiently is the most visible part of our business, it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Uber Freight is focused on creating a frictionless end-to-end experience in order to increase market liquidity. Increased liquidity makes all the players in the industry more efficient.

Removing friction

What does liquidity mean in freight? For carriers, liquidity means that they can keep their truck moving with the tap of a button. It also means that carriers aren’t missing their shot at hauling the best loads because those opportunities are difficult to find, painstaking to negotiate, complex to book, or difficult to get paid for.

To increase carrier liquidity, we’re working to build the most streamlined shipping and hauling experience for all. Carriers can book a load on the app with just one tap, no calling or emailing to check if the load is still available. The app automatically recommends freight to carriers based on their location and previous driving history to maximize backhauls. We can selectively send in-app notifications to carriers to alert them of freight nearby.

In comparison, carriers today must scour a load board, email back and forth with a broker and dispatcher, and negotiate rates. And there’s no guarantee that the load they find is not already booked. With Uber Freight, carriers can operate more efficiently and independently, without always relying on a third party at the other end of the phone.

Lowering market volatility and opacity

What about liquidity for shippers? A liquid market means shippers can move freight reliably at a price that is discoverable and transparent.

The major disrupter of freight reliability is market volatility. Natural disasters, demand surges, and capacity shortages force shippers to scramble to ensure that their freight is moved. So how can Uber Freight help shippers respond to market volatility? A more liquid market means that we can instantly notify tens of thousands of carriers when new freight is available. Carriers book freight within seconds by just tapping a button. Since we’ve eliminated many of the manual touchpoints, shippers don’t need to worry about staffing or operating hours to handle surges in freight. Our technology empowers scalable, elastic carrier capacity.

A great example of market liquidity in action occurred right after Hurricane Harvey. Niagara Bottling was able to rapidly secure capacity through Uber Freight on a weekend and deliver relief supplies to Texas during a period of extremely tight capacity and volatile markets.

The future of booking freight

If we can help our shippers mitigate volatility and price uncertainty, what does that mean for the future of booking freight? Let’s look at Uber’s ridesharing business as a model. Today, anyone can get a ride almost anywhere in the United States, usually within minutes. There’s no need to call hours ahead of time. When demand surges during holidays, rates automatically adjust to bring more driver-partners onto the road. Uber’s reliability and network resilience has changed the way people think about consumer transportation. They no longer need to do a lot of planning ahead.

At Uber Freight, we envision a future where shippers can rest assured that their freight is going to be moved in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. Lead time for freight will be shortened. Complex routing guides will be simplified. Procuring freight will become less dependent on salesmanship. Instead, trust will be built upon reliability and pricing transparency. Shippers can focus on running their business while knowing that the products will get to their destination.

We invite you to join us on our journey. Learn more and get in touch with us at uber.com/freight.


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