Digital freight brokerage firm Uber Freight is developing a program to maximize a commercial truck driver's productivity once federal regulations take effect in mid-December that will no longer make it possible for drivers to violate their on-duty hours-of-service requirements, the head of the Uber Technologies Inc. unit said.
Effective Dec. 18, virtually all post-model year 2000 vehicles must be equipped with some type of electronic logging device. The rule, required by Congress and crafted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), ends drivers' long-held practice of keeping manual logs to track their compliance with the federal government's driver hours-of-service regulations.
Many larger fleets have voluntarily installed some form of electronic logging equipment in their vehicles. However, most small fleets and owner-operators have yet to do so, in part because they are unable to determine how productive they will be in a world where their vehicle status is monitored in real time, Uber Freight Director William Driegert said in an interview Wednesday at the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals' (CSCMP) 2017 EDGE annual conference in Atlanta.
"Following their ELD implementations, large carriers will tell you their capacity dropped and then recovered, because they learned how to solve for hours, not just miles," Driegert said. "We can help smaller carriers do the same."
Driegert added that Uber Freight wants "drivers to be able to manage that hard constraint, to be able to say 'I have eight hours left; help me find the freight that fits that profile'."
However, such a tool will probably not be a competitive advantage for Uber Freight because competing online brokers could offer similar solutions, said Tony Wayda, supply chain practice senior director and principal at Boulder, Colo.-based, consulting firm SCApath LLC. "Given the readily available technology, I would envision all the other players with brokerage apps jumping into the ring," Wayda said in an email.
After launching in Texas in May, the San Francisco-based freight unit of ride-hailing pioneer Uber Technologies Inc. threw open its business in August to loads in the West Coast, Midwest, and Southeast, and had added a feature to its app that could proactively make load recommendations by memorizing drivers' preferences. The move marked an aggressive expansion in the face of rising competition by established brokers as well as well-funded new rivals such as Convoy and Transfix.