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Is Uber Freight Good or Bad for Truckers?

Uber has transformed the taxi industry far beyond what anyone could have expected ten years ago: now people can conveniently order a car ride from one destination to another with just a push of a button, and that added convenience has meant more and more people are willing to incur the cost instead of, for example, deal with driving a car to the airport or a downtown event. On the other hand, this increased demand not opened up the chance for everyday drivers to supply transportation, it has started to edge out traditional taxi companies by a significant margin. What is likely to happen now that Uber has turned its attention to the trucking industry with its Uber Freight app?

The service could be more useful than detrimental for owner-operators and small trucking companies in the short-term. Just like individual Uber drivers don't have to focus on marketing or brand recognition, so truckers won't have to be known and requested by potential clients; they just have to be available and build up a good reputation. Also, this app could increase demand without increasing supply. Clients with small to large freight loads who either can't transport it or aren't willing to incur the risk now have a convenient option for hiring you and other truckers. But trucking still requires specialized vehicles and technical know-how, especially for interstate transport; this market can't be as quickly flooded with eager drivers.

What about self-driving cars? Uber's CEO has been very open about how he plans to switch the general Uber platform to self-driving cars, "autos," and self-driving trucks are also likely to be part of that long-term goals. The ground-shaking question of how self-driving autos of all shapes and sizes will impact the transportation industry has been asked for years, and this might be part of the answer.

It's not clear what impact Uber Freight could have on the trucking industry: it could become a great alternative for filling your truck between contracted loads, it could get buried under the regulations for interstate transport and fade away, or it might start to chip away at the industry's market. The best thing to do is keep an eye on it, try it out if you think it's right for your business, and be ready to address your clients' questions.


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