So back in May, you may or may not have read about one of the latest announcements from Uber about their new service, Uber Freight, and how it would make life easier for truck drivers to get loads and get paid. But if you’re a company driver should you quit your job as a company driver and become an independent owner-operator instead? And if you do, is Uber your only option?
Below we take a look at the companies providing apps for shippers and truckers to book loads and go deeper into the war of the freight booking apps.
Uber wasn’t the first company to build an app that matches shippers with truckers.
Actually, the first company to call itself the “Uber for trucking” wasn’t Uber, but Seattle startup, Convoy which launched it’s service back in 2015, and when Convoy entered the market, Uber hadn’t expressed any interest in the freight shipping industry. Now, in addition to Convoy and Uber, Amazon has quietly launched their own shipping match app called, Relay which matches truck drivers to amazon package pickup and drop-off locations, and has plans to launch a similar app that would match truck drivers to cargo.
It’s hard to say what Amazon might be planning, but we’re not sure how long Uber plans to have services for independent drivers, including owner-operator truck drivers given its interest in driverless vehicles and the company’s plans to have its own driverless taxi service fleet by 2019-2021, not to mention its interest in driverless trucks. But with that said, can Convoy compete? Yes!
That’s because Convoy has major backers and lack of controversy in its favor.
You see, both Microsoft founder, Bill Gates and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos have invested in Convoy and it can count at least two major companies, Unilever and Anheuser-Busch InBev SA as customers. Plus Convoy has a 2-year headstart on Uber since they started in 2015.
In addition, Uber’s brand bears the stain of negative publicity because of a string of controversies from accusations of theft from Google’s Waymo to sexual harassment allegations against a Senior Vice President of Engineering, Amit Singhal. It’s still unclear how many people want to be associated with the name Uber right now. Plus, unlike Convoy, Uber doesn’t list which companies are shipping loads through their app or have the backing of other tech industry founders.
So what’s the verdict for shippers and truckers on these apps?
With so many players entering the $800 billion market, and the prospect of self driving trucks looming ever closer on the horizon, not to mention the new Federal tracking regulations going into effect, it’s hard to know if the latest trucking industry app “war” will be good for truck drivers and the shipping industry, or if it will just be a brief flash as new driverless technology might be arriving just around the corner.
The companies who’ve created these services are sure to be able to adapt their apps to the coming age of driverless trucks, just as fleet tracking GPS technology won’t go away when driverless trucks take over the cargo & freight industries, but independent carriers may or may not be able to ride the wave of change.
What do you think? Whether you’re a truck driver or a shipper, do you think these new apps are the future? Have you tried Uber or Convoy? Let us know in the comments.
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