How a reimagined trailer-pool system will empower small-trucking companies to grow their businesses and help shippers beat the capacity crunch
By Max Pike, Program Manager of Strategic Projects
The freight industry is changing and growing. This is particularly true for trucking. According to the American Trucking Associations, revenue from the trucking industry made up nearly 80% of the $900B generated by “all transportation modes” in 2017, and it’s not slowing down. The rise of e-commerce, increased consumer spending, and accelerated manufacturing practices have led to a surge in demand for freight. That, coupled with the impact of the ELD mandate, means shippers are in the middle of the most significant capacity crunch in decades. Truck drivers are more important than ever.
Uber Freight provides shippers and carriers across the country the tools they need to keep pace with the market, regardless of their business size or how much capital they have. In doing so, we aim to transform legacy industry practices and create new avenues of opportunity. One area particularly ripe for reinvention is the traditional trailer pool model.
Trailer pools are groups of pre-loaded trailers that asset-based carriers can pick up and drop off at shipper facilities. Decoupling the power unit from the trailer allows for loading and unloading to happen without the driver present, which in turn lowers costs and limits waiting time for shippers and drivers alike. Drivers running power-loads through trailer pool programs spend less time waiting around at facilities and more time on the road moving freight.
Unfortunately, the majority of trucking companies around the country can’t take advantage of these programs. They either don’t have the resources to invest in multiple trailers or they aren’t big enough to secure partnerships with shippers — more than 90% of carriers in the U.S. have less than 6 trucks. Today, we are announcing the launch of Powerloop, a brand new company affiliated with Uber Freight, which rents trailers to carriers and enables an innovative trailer pool model that any eligible carrier can participate in, no matter their size.
By creating a common pool of trailers, Powerloop is lowering the barrier to entry to trailer-pool programs. Eligible carriers leveraging the Powerloop program are able to find backhauls more frequently and spend more of their day moving through the network instead of constantly searching for the next load.
Shippers are able to take advantage of the ecosystem of readily available Uber Freight carriers, made even more agile by the Powerloop trailer pool. This helps them streamline facility operations by loading and unloading trailers when most convenient. It’s a win-win and a big step forward for the industry.
Today, Powerloop is available in key regions in Texas and is already being utilized by a handful of Fortune 500 shipper partners, like Anheuser-Busch, and a network of entrepreneurial carriers, some of which have already moved their entire operations to power-only and grown their fleets as a result.
Over the coming years, Powerloop aims to scale the program and help create a single, interconnected trailer-pool system, where shippers of all sizes can turn drop operations on and off when they need to, and any eligible carrier can move a trailer, anywhere in the country. It’s still early days for the program, but we’re excited by the promise of Powerloop and the far-reaching benefits of making power-only loads more accessible to carriers.
Hear from our carriers and shippers below. Register your interest in Powerloop here.
“I have been in the freight industry for 25 years. Until last year my business was just me running loads with my own truck and trailer in the Texas area. I couldn’t add any drivers because I would have to buy both trucks and trailers. It was too expensive. With Powerloop, the trailers are taken care of, which made it easier to grow my business. Today, my business runs power-only loads exclusively and I employ three drivers.”
— Jorge Contreras, dispatcher and driver, Ear Carriers LLC
At Anheuser Busch, we believe that a universal trailer pool program, such as Powerloop, is an innovation that is long overdue for the industry. We have been working with Uber for a number of months trialing Powerloop and are already seeing the benefits this model can bring. We believe universal trailer pool programs have the capability to fundamentally improve the whole supply chain and deliver a win-win for all involved: less carrier investments in assets, more miles for the driver through shorter wait times and greater operational performance for the shipper. In addition, less idle time for drivers will also help us achieve our goal of reducing total carbon emissions by 25% across our supply chain by 2025. It’s through programs like this that we can continue to improve efficiencies across our supply chain while working to realize our dream of building a Better World.
— Ties Soeters, VP Logistics Procurement, Anheuser-Busch
Trailer rentals are provided by PowerLoop LLC, which is an equipment rental company. PowerLoop LLC is an affiliate of Uber Freight LLC.