What is uShip
For sending packages or parcels across the country and globally, there are a few names that spring immediately to mind: UPS, DHL and Fedex. The story is different however, when customers want to ship bigger items, like cars, animals and furniture at a moment’s notice. More time is spent calling up various local shipping and transportation companies to get then compare quotes than to actually transport the goods. For freight providers, the problems lie in filling trucks or containers on a daily basis. No trucker wants to drive thousands of miles cross country for a single drop off.
How does uship work
Bridging the gap between customers and transporters
Austin, Texas-based online shipping marketplace uShip addressed this gap by creating an e-Bay style arena where shipping providers bid to transport customer goods in reverse auction mode. Launched locally 2005, uShip started going international in 2009 and now has teamed up with goods-specific sites like Motorcycle.com, Equine.com, Cars.com and Boats.com to bring freight costs even lower for customers, while filling trucks and shipment quotas for transporters.
Reverse auction mode
Unlike eBay, when customers bid on a price basis alone, uShip lets customers sign up free of charge and fill in an online form detailing the dimensions of the goods, pick up and drop off points, estimated dates and transport duration, as well as other shipping details. Transporters – both local and international – then bid by providing the cheapest rates and insurance coverage as well as the fastest delivery times, while leveraging on its reputation built from previous uShip customer reviews. For example, customers can check on previous Direct Connect Auto Transport reviews before considering the vehicle transporter’s bid. uShip only participates in dispute resolution or mediation.
Prices and tracking
For customers new to the freight scene, uShip has a helpful tool called the Shipping Price Estimator – also used by Cars.com and eBay Motors – that estimates prices for goods based on previous uShip transactions across similar distances and goods transported. uShip does not participate in setting the prices and bids, and take a transaction fee from both customer and transporter once a deal is sealed. Much like individual freight providers, uShip enables independent truck providers and freight specialists to upload their GPS locations so customers can track shipments while on the move.
Third party logistics (3PL) providers often leverage on whole carrier networks or affiliates to get goods from one end of the globe to another, and uShip Pro allows them full visibility of the network’s performance and available loads to be filled. Similarly the mobile version is not only for customer convenience to check and follow up on multiple bids live, but also for freight providers to find and bid on loads using their GPS locators. Communication is key, as the uShip mobile app also allows customers and transporters to discuss terms and receive online payments while on the go.
Independent truck providers
Independent truck providers, while lesser known outside their home states, can now fill empty loads on journeys home or communicate with freight brokers to locate and bid on goods being transported all over the world. By doing so, they can build a reputation for common service areas and personalised customer service, due to their flexibility. This can be done via a live web-based Find Shipment tool available to transporters. uShip also provides cargo insurance services and fraud protection to customers, so independent truck providers can leverage on the trust uShip’s system instils to gain customers they might now have gotten in the brick-and-mortar world. In addition, uShip also has transporter forums and FAQs where truckers can communicate with each other to determine the best insurance companies for their specific goods and service areas.
Last but not least, customers stand to save massive amounts of time and money arranging shipments. In addition, by setting a deadline for bids, customers can organize transportation within a matter of days – sometimes hours – for heavy equipment, fragile goods and even live cargo such as horses. Setting up shipments at a moment’s notice has never been easier for both small businesses and individual users.
John Gary is a cross-border specialist in shipping and transportations services for freight and retail customers. He has years of experience navigating the changing shipping industry across America, as new growing cities encourage trade and goods movement.