Uber is entering the trailer leasing game.
The ride-hailing company’s Uber Freight division, which is part of its Advanced Technologies Group, introduced its new Powerloop service Wednesday, saying it will make pre-loaded trailers available to eligible carriers and create a trailer pooling program that allows smaller fleets and owner-operators to access the network.
Powerloop already is operational in Texas and being tested by Anheuser-Busch.
“Powerloop enables a common pool of trailers which can be utilized by a diffuse set of shippers and any eligible carrier,” the company claimed in a statement. “By renting trailers, Powerloop is lowering the barrier to entry to trailer pool programs and unlocking access to drop freight for trucking companies of all sizes.
“Carriers leveraging the Powerloop program are able to find backhauls more frequently and spend the majority of their day seamlessly moving through the network instead of constantly searching for their next load.”
Max Pike, Uber Freight’s program manager of strategic projects, said in a blog post the traditional trailer pool model is “ripe for reinvention.”
Trailer pools, he explained, are groups of pre-loaded trailers asset-based carriers can pick up and drop off at shipper facilities. Decoupling the power unit from the trailer allows for loading and unloading without the driver present, decreasing costs and wait time for shippers and drivers and increasing time on the road.
“Unfortunately, the majority of trucking companies around the country can’t take advantage of these programs,” Pike said. “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 six trucks.
“(So) 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.”
The goal, the company said, is to scale the Powerloop program and create a single, interconnected trailer-pool system.
“At Anheuser Busch, we believe that a universal trailer pool program, such as Powerloop, is an innovation that is long overdue for the industry,” said Ties Soeters, vice president of logistics procurement at Anheuser.
“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.”