Uber for Trucking? or just in time delivery?

OK let me get this straight. You call and order a pick-up, a driver picks up and delivers to a specified location within a specified time? What? This is new? Trending? The next big thing? Thirty years ago we called it J.I.T. or Just In Time delivery. I worked for Yellow Freight at the time and everyone wanted this “new” service. Marked “Hot Loads” and pushed through the system.

The system has grown. Over 70 percent of all goods in the United States are moved by trucks that’s 10 billion tons, according to the American Trucking Association. The Trucking Industry saw $700 billion in revenue, local and short haul accounting for $82 billion of that. That’s a lot of scratch, and has gotten the attention of some techy guys from Silicon Valley.

Now several mobile apps are looking to alter the process. These companies see the similarities of their apps to UBER. The comparisons are obvious, just moving freight instead of people, with the app handling the billing and payment. Dan Lewis, CEO of Convoy, an app based broker, says the time is right because of the fragmentation in the market. “Shippers need trucks to be available on a just in time basis”. The industry relies on brokers to interact with multiple carriers on behalf of the shippers. Making 200 calls a day, taking time to negotiate pricing, availability, along with the administrative headaches it could drive a sane person crazy.(No telling what it would do to a crazy person)  The apps are designed to connect the shipper with carrier to transport at competitive prices based on location, distance, weight and size of load. The carriers are approved based on their financial security, reputation, equipment, rates. Like UBER, the carrier can accept or decline the opportunity on the app. If it consents, it uses the app to assign the job to a driver. For the shippers, there’s no waiting, haggling over price or managing paperwork.

The new apps have other benefits as the loads are booked more efficiently. This could save on dead head loads, reducing the number of trucks on the road, thus reducing traffic, reducing exhaust emissions and accident risks. It is a change in the industry that is coming. So far $63.25 million dollars have been raised to put this technology to work. Thanks UBER or was it Just In Time?