Cutting-edge technology on the cards for majority of logistics operators
Almost 70% of operators working in the logistics space will be investigation or implementing innovative supply chain solutions, according to a new report.
In its annual ‘Logistics Confidence Index’, Barclays has detailed how increased collaboration between customers and operators is key to effective logistics solutions and “is clearly becoming a clear focus for operators looking to improve efficiency.”
More advanced planning, forecasting and delivery services are also beginning to gain traction in response to the growth in a number of e-commerce players.
The report continued: “Big data has become the hot topic in the sector over the last six months. The quality of data available to operators is one of the most significant opportunities for optimising workflows and gaining competitive advantage, but also represents one of its toughest challenges.
“The key question is how to use it to the best advantage.”
Almost half (47%) of the companies responding to the survey said they had already invested significant resources in optimising the use of data and a quarter (23%) say they will be implementing supply chain data solutions in the next 12 months.
The report found that operators appear to be more advanced in the application of cloud services than in some of the other technological innovations.
Just over a quarter (27%) said they will be implementing cloud-enabled supply chain solutions over the next 12 months, underlining a clear focus on operational efficiency.
Greater operational visibility and reporting was cited as the most important benefit of logistics technology, said almost a third (31%) of respondents.
However, it appears that smart technology will take longer to become widely used; just 9% of operators said they are investing the use of driverless trucks.
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.