Most people think of Uber as an alternative taxi service. However, the trucking industry is quickly jumping on board the Uber bandwagon as competitors seek to capitalize on technology that matches carriers and shippers faster and at lower costs.
The U.S. trucking industry has relied on third-party brokers or travel agents to connect truckers with customers for quite some time. Nearly 70% of all the freight tonnage moved in the U.S. goes on trucks, according to the American Trucking Association.
Now, startups are working towards making an impact on the supply chain industry with trucking on-demand. Below are just some of the companies that are making “trucker-on-demand” now easier than ever before.
- Convoy The Seattle-based trucking company offers an on-demand service that arranges regional and local shipping deliveries, without the customary telephone calls and price haggling by third-party brokers, according to The Seattle Times.
- Transfix Barnes & Nobles, Samsung and J.Crew are just a few of the companies experimenting with this new technology. Its app delivers 24/7 visibility and automatic ETA notifications across platforms and devices. According to the company’s website, its automated system reduces costs, and it passes those saving directly to the customer.
- Cargo Chief This new technology startup offers customers easy access to more than 500,000 trucks. According to its site, the company manually verifies each carriers’ authority, safety and insurance before each shipment. Customers can instantly locate their shipment on its interactive map 24/7.
- Cargomatic This company is focused on maximizing utilization and efficiency in the local shipping industry. The platform is designed to ensure that no truck drives anywhere empty and that a business that needs a load delivered can piggyback on a load already in transit, thereby getting its goods delivered more cheaply than hiring a truck to make a separate run.
Some Challenges Ahead
While trucking startups are making big improvements to the supply chain industry, there are still barriers that need to be addressed. According to the Supply Chain Digest, “most shippers, at least the larger ones, rely on networks of “core carriers” that move the vast majority of their freight, turning to spot markets only when their usual carriers can’t cover a load.” If the larger shippers had to choose, they would prefer the drivers who are more familiar with their policies of cosignee, rather than a different driver every time.