Convoy Fights Freight Fears in Four Futuristic Forms
With the entire world still reeling as we all adjust to the ‘new normal’, it’s been especially hard for smaller businesses as they desperately adjust plans and procedures, with an anticipated amount of risk. With large swings in the freight market comes the need for operational budgets to accommodate, running the risk of potentially sinking too many resources into very little return.
Across the United States, trucking is one of the largest industries for moving goods, and yet remains perhaps one of the most difficult to manage. According to , an American trucking software company founded in 2015, 35 per cent of all miles driven are empty miles, as well as 75 metric tons of CO2 emissions as a result of these empty miles, and with a reported 80 per cent of every dollar moving freight spent on trucking, it makes a lot of sense to simplify and streamline the process.
At the point of its inception in 2015, Convoy started “the world’s first digital freight network, connecting shipments with carriers to move millions of truckloads.” Digital Freight Networks (DFNs) offer a host of advantages to all businesses, but perhaps more-so to those smaller to midsized, where decisions based on trends or budget, are more impactful on the company overall in terms of risk versus reward.
Convoy’s technology provides advanced tools and tech designed to streamline shipping and logistics for small to midsize businesses, and this is how it’s done;
Instant Access to High-quality Carriers
Convoy offers the ability for businesses to choose from thousands of pre-vetted carriers, taking a lot of the stress out of having to research the right mix of carriers for the right jobs.
The carriers themselves are chosen based on a number of suitability factors, ranging from service rating, current location, cost and others. Having this plethora of options for businesses to choose from means they can make an informed choice from a large database, simplifying a potentially complex transportation strategy.
Instant Freight Quotes
The ‘instant quote tool’ is designed to give small businesses the confidence to make an informed decision, using only their pickup and delivery information, in a timely manner, and by removing communication barriers.
The quotes themselves are also compared to the market standard, giving these businesses an insight to where their rate falls, whether that be around the market average or not. The intention is to empower smaller businesses to make the right decisions, instantly, by utilising a tool that’s also used by businesses generally just to understand the market itself.
Real-Time Shipment Tracking
All drivers who are hired through Convoy’s DFN system have a GPS tracker that allows the business that hired them instant access to the real-time status of their delivery.
Convoy found that tracking down the status of various shipments can take up to 3 hours, a problem immediately solved with effective tracking and even map referencing to show the exact parcel positioning, as well as an estimated time of arrival. This method is simplified further by being able to easily share package statuses between customers and other colleagues through a sharable tracking link.
Automated Freight Insights
Convoy recognises that getting insights into freights can be time-consuming, if not impossible, so they’ve combatted this by giving businesses personalised freight insights, specifically designed to show information that can help reduce costs and improve quality.
It’s clear to see that having this kind of technology on any scale would greatly improve the efficiency of any business, but is, of course, most attractive to the smaller kinds by offering a wealth of information that may otherwise be difficult and time consuming to obtain. With more technology of this type cropping up to help all scales of business, it’s a wise investment, and no doubt one that will improve with time.
Uber Freight to Acquire Transplace in $2.2bn Deal
Uber Freight is to acquire logistics technology and solutions provider Transplace in a deal worth $2.25bn.
The company will pay up to $750m in common stock and the remainder in cash to TPG Capital, Transplace’s private equity owner, pending regulatory approval and closing conditions.
“This is a significant step forward, not just for Uber Freight but for the entire logistics ecosystem,” said Lior Ron, Head of Uber Freight, and former founder of the Uber-owned trucking start-up Otto.
Uber’s Big Play for Supply Chain
Transplace is one of the world's largest managed transportation and logistics networks, with 62,000 unique users on its platform and $11bn in freight under management. It offers truck brokerage and other capacity solutions, end-to-end visibility on cross border shipments, and a suite of digital solutions and consultancy services.
The purchase is the latest move by parent company Uber, which launched as a San Francisco cab-hailing app in 2011, to diversify its offering and create new revenue streams in all transport segments.
Transplace said the takeover comes amid a period of “accelerated transformation in logistics”, where globalisation, shipping and transport disruption, and widespread volatility are colliding.
Uber Freight plans to integrate the Transplace network into its own platform, which connects shippers and carriers in a dashboard that mirroring the intuitive experience found in its consumer vehicle booking and food ordering services.
“This is an opportunity to bring together complementary best-in-class technology solutions and operational excellence from two premier companies to create an industry-first shipper-to-carrier platform that will transform shippers’ entire supply chains, delivering operational resilience and reducing costs at a time when it matters most,” said Ron.
Frank McGuigan, CEO of Transplace, said the resulting merger will offer enhanced efficiency and transparency for shippers, and benefits of scale for carriers. “All in all, we expect to significantly reduce shipper and carrier empty miles to the benefit of highway and road infrastructures and the environment,” he added.
History of Uber Freight
Uber Freight was established in 2017 and separated into its own business unit the following year. In 2019 the company had expanded across the entire continental US, established a headquarters in Chicago. Later that year it launched its first international division in Europe, initially from a regional foothold in the Nertherlands, and later moving into Germany.
The logistics spinoff attracted a $500m investment from New York-based Greenbriar Equity Group in October 2020, and launched a new shipping platform for companies of all sizes in May, partly in response to a driver shortage in Canada.