According to The Wall Street Journal, the $700 billion industry that is commercial trucking is beginning to experience change as startups enter the playing field. Leveraging truck drivers’ smartphones, several startups, which are receiving millions of dollars from investors, aspire to become an “Uber of Trucking” by connecting drivers with nearby companies seeking to ship goods. The trucking industry, which is highly fragmented, has been exceedingly dependent upon third-party brokers connecting customers with truckers, but with the age of technology upon us, the industry may shift.
One of the first companies to enter this realm, Trucker Path Inc., has stated that it is intending to reach $1 billion in value by 2016. Convoy, a more recent startup based out of Seattle has amassed $2.5 million in funding pouring in from the likes of Amazon, the founder of Salesforce, the founder of eBay, and even the co-founder of Uber Technologies. Convoy declares that they facilitate companies looking to ship goods locally via its website, get instant pricing, and can track the shipment in real time.
In an industry that is such high value, these companies are relatively small and are new players; however, that means there are opportunities to grow for the company that discovers the right model. Industry analysts feel that there are many obstacles in front of these startups before they can really make an impact including “risk-averse shippers and technology-averse truckers” in addition to the complexity of the overall trucking market.
With the movement to a constantly connected world and the increased talk of the Physical Internet, it seems that these startups are heading in the right direction. These companies are able to connect customers to truckers in minutes compared to the hours it can take using a broker, cutting down on wasted time and money. Having the ability to track the shipment is an added perk as well and could expand to the entire market as shippers become more and more demanding. If one or more of these startups is able to become the “Uber of Trucking” than the industry will surely be shaken up.