Merchant Innovation

Uber’s Long Haul Trucking Push Is Picking Up Speed

As part of its longstanding efforts to jump into the world of long haul trucking, reports are emerging that Uber snapped up the talent team behind Chicago transportation brokerage firm 4Front Logistics last fall.

Brokerages such as 4Front Logistics are a critical component of matching manufacturers and retailers with the truckers that move their goods nationwide. Long haul trucking is, in is current form, a highly fragmented industry of freight brokers who match cargo with truck operators.

On Sunday evening, Uber Chief Executive Travis Kalanick posted a pic of a large white truck emblazoned with the words “Uber Freight.”

“They are being very active building up their scale in the brokerage market, both in terms of going after customers but also making sure they have the capacity to fulfill that,” noted Jack Atkins of investment bank Stephens Inc.

Apart from the acquisition of Otto — the self-driving truck — Uber, over the last several months, has put together a fleet of its own trucks to test its technology. It has also begun trying to sell itself to truck owners and trucking associations.

4Front will help Uber build capacity, said Ivan Tsybaev, chief executive of Trucker Path, a startup that has built a popular navigation app for truckers. The firm was granted a broker license for moving freight across state lines in March 2016 by the U.S. Department of Transportation, though that license was revoked last month.

Why that revocation occurred is not known — though according to the DOT, the most common reason for losing said license not providing proof of insurance.

Uber was granted a DOT broker license for its Uber Freight business at the end of September.


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