According to Business Insider writer Eugene Kim, that 800-pound gorilla isn’t Uber itself, who as we’ve written have clear intent of moving into freight brokerage themselves. Kim reported from sources with knowledge of plans inside another giant company that it, in this case Amazon, was eye-ing an Uber-like app for freight. Assuming the veracity of the report, on which Amazon declined to comment, there’s a big difference between Amazon and many of the start-ups in the tech brokerage/freight “uberization” space that might indeed make it worthy of the phrase Kim used to describe them as the “new 800-pound gorilla” everyone needs to pay attention to: assuredly a critical mass of freight, lots of which moves into, through and out of company distribution centers.
Here’s Kim’s description of the application the company’s planning, according to his sources:
The app will offer real-time pricing and driving directions, as well as personalized features such as truck-stop recommendations and a suggested “tour” of loads to pick up and drop off. It could also have tracking and payment options to speed up the entire shipping process.
Kim’s also written a good piece connecting some of the news dots around what he sees as Amazon’s moves in recent times to become a transportation provider itself, from trailer purchases, cargo plane leases, expansion of its distribution-center network and more. The app would appear to be of a piece with such, and if past statements from the company are any indication, the app might well start with freight from within Amazon’s own network before opening up to outside shippers and/or brokers and competing more directly with others.
That, of course, could open new opportunities to independents who don’t move loads to or from the company today. Kim’s sources suggested a summer 2017 release was hoped for. We’ll see.