Truckers looking for freight to carry across Canada will now be able to find customers using Uber, which has launched a new trucking app. Announced Wednesday, Uber’s Trucking service, Uber Freight, works similarly to the passenger app, but instead allows shippers to connect with carriers seeking freight. The move to Canada comes after two years in the United States, where approximately 500,000 drivers from 50,000 carriers are signed up. The service also expanded into the Netherlands and Germany earlier this year.
Bill Driegert, head of operations for Uber Freight, said Uber’s system helps smaller carriers that can struggle to find shippers in unfamiliar markets. For instance, a single trucker who moves a load from Toronto to Vancouver used to have to check a load board, essentially a classified listing, to try to find shippers and negotiate a price to avoid driving an empty truck back to Ontario. “That process is high friction, it takes time, is labour intensive,” Driegert said. “It can take multiple calls to find one load.”
Uber’s app also presents shippers and carriers with a fixed price, with the option to see how much it will cost depending on the date. While the app experience mimics Uber’s passenger business, there are key differences. Critically, not anyone can be a driver. All drivers must have a commercial license and registration and appropriate equipment. Most come from companies that already exist.