After disrupting consumer transport, Uber has turned to the freight industry. The newly developed UberFreight* and UberRush** applications aim to disintermediate forwarding agents. What does it mean for transport and logistics companies? Denis Gural, Chief Operating Officer of the AsstrA-Associated Traffic AG international corporate group, answers this question.
UberRush and UberFreight are two new applications from Uber that make it possible to book transport without forwarders. What does this mean for traditional transport and logistics companies?
IT is shaping the modern world, which of course includes the logistics industry. It is logical that companies like Uber will use IT process optimization to offer new solutions to customers. Thus, they increase business efficiency by reducing costs and cutting out intermediaries. AsstrA is keeping an eye on these projects and market trends in general. Today, logistics is not only about the delivery of goods from point A to point B. It often involves complex processes that require expert knowledge. Thus, trendy applications will not replace the role of professionals.
In March of this year, UberFreight began its European expansion from the Netherlands. Over time, the company wants to expand to other regions of Europe. Is this a serious threat?
In the future, Uber will capture part of the market for short-haul European routes. But it is difficult to trust the application to handle international multimodal schemes involving borders, licensing systems, and customs nuances.
How should traditional transport and logistics companies respond in order to maintain their market position?
They must, as always, offer global services in accordance with customers’ requirements and wishes. They should offer competitive route options, constantly look for solutions to optimize costs, think with clients, and improve their logistics. Price, quality, and speed will always be the top priorities.
What is AsstrA doing in this regard?
AsstrA continues to develop in term of both industry expertise and IT capabilities. The corporate group is already implementing Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) projects with customers, a Track & Trace program, a Supplier’s Portal, and a Customer’s Portal. And in response to growing demand from partners for greater Visibility and Control Tower offerings, AsstrA has joined forces with Shippeo to create the AsstrA Supply Chain Visibility initiative. This will automate some transport processes and improve the quality of our services.
* UberFreight is a digital platform that brings together carriers and shippers. The application facilitates direct contact between the parties, providing greater flexibility, lower costs and increased efficiency. The platform appeared on the US market in 2017. According to the company, in the last quarter of 2018 30,000 users were registered, and the UberFreight application was downloaded over 328,000 times.
** UberRush is a last mile transport app. Freelance users deliver packages within cities such as New York, San Francisco, and Chicago.