Shippers and carriers could soon tap into an expanded source of transportation assets as truckload carrier U.S. Xpress Inc. said Wednesday it would add its trailers to an online platform operated by vHub, a collaborative trailer repositioning and sharing marketplace.
The move comes as as experts say the nation’s freight capacity could be pinned at historically tight levels for several more quarters, due to pandemic pressures that have led to shortages of drivers and steep spikes in demand for certain industries.
Chattanooga, Tennessee-based U.S. Xpress today released its own trucking industry forecast, finding that the market is being “significantly impacted” by rising driver turnover, diminishing truckload capacity, and overwhelming load volumes. “Each of these three themes will greatly influence trucking rates over the next four to six quarters,” Eric Fuller, president and CEO of U.S. Xpress, said in the report. “It’s becoming increasingly clear that high tide conditions will persist for a long while, so shippers and carriers will have to plan – and act – accordingly.”
Across the industry, those pressures have left shippers looking for more reliable capacity and carriers looking for ways to expand their networks. Saint-Georges, Québec-based vHub says its platform can provide relief for those demands by creating an online marketplace for its community of over 40,000 registered trailers, turning those unused assets into revenue-generating equipment by making them available to short term users. Specifically, once renters have chosen the appropriate location and destination of the trailer they need, vHub creates a legally binding rental contract, handles invoicing and payments, and transfers rental funds to trailer owners.
“We are constantly repositioning equipment to provide efficient and reliable service to customers,” Joe Pricer, VP, OTR Operations for U.S. Xpress, said in a release. “vHub presents an opportunity to find users to reposition equipment and eliminate the cost of moving trailers back into our network.”
vHub’s growing footprint marks the latest move in a sector where supply chain service provider J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. in 2019 launched a trailer pool service in support of its digital freight matching platform, and UberFreight made a similar move in 2018 with its “Powerloop” pool.
“The U.S. Xpress support of our platform illustrates how valuable it can be for the trucking industry,” Francis Roy, vice president of vHub, said in a release. “vHub is improving trailer utilization by effectively repositioning units where they are needed and saving owners from the expense of empty miles. With vHub, trailer owners also have an opportunity to generate revenue by choosing to make excess and idle trailers available to rent.”
Today, @USXpress released our latest #truckingindustry forecast. In this short video, I highlight three key takeaways. Check out the complete forecast – along with other great content – on our Delivering Ideas blog at https://t.co/IPPwMl39yT.https://t.co/2E8q0uIS1C
— Eric Fuller (@EricEfuller) September 25, 2020