UPDATE: March, 21 2019:
Uber Freight announced it will launch service in the Netherlands "in the coming weeks" via a blog post on the company's website. The company intends to expand to other European countries in due course.
- Uber Freight teased a possible international expansion in a statement emailed to Supply Chain Dive announcing two new executives joining its team.
- "Uber is a global company, as are our Freight aspirations. We have a dedicated team looking into viable international markets for Uber Freight and where we go beyond the U.S. in the future," the company said in the statement announcing the new Head of Uber Freight Global Sales Andrew Smith, who joins the team from cloud content management company Box. In addition to Smith, Uber also hired a new head of marketplace, Bar Ifrach, who comes to the company from Airbnb.
- A spokesperson told Supply Chain Dive the company is not currently releasing any target countries or regions outside the U.S. Uber's ride-sharing network is active in 69 countries, according to the company's website. In the release, Uber Freight head Lior Ron called 2019 "a year of growth for Uber Freight."
Uber Freight was not the first digital freight-matching service, but it is the only one with a global ride-sharing network behind it. Uber's international experience with ride-sharing will certainly help ease the transition into new markets since the company already has boots on the ground in so many countries, along with regulator relationships.
That doesn't mean it will be without competition should it push into new countries. Spanish startup Ontruck expanded into France this year, its third market after Spain and the U.K. Deliver expanded from Russia into Western Europe last year. And French Everoad covers 27 countries across Europe.
International expansion could be a boon for Uber Freight's business, as it offers a global hedge for any downturn in specific freight markets.
It remains to be seen in the freight-matching space what shippers and drivers will value in such a service. The winners in this space will need to attract both. Uber Freight claims to have 30,000 carriers on its current platform. Barring M&A, it will be starting from scratch in each new country.