After several years of working for Old Dominion, veteran driver Christopher Knox decided it was time to venture out on his own. Knox used savings to buy a truck and started Knox Logistics, based in Riverdale, Georgia, in 2020.
He started going to load boards and digital freight marketplaces to find loads and quickly found a strong partnership with Uber Freight’s offerings, Knox said in an interview with FreightWaves.
“On load boards you have to book the load on the dashboard and usually have to call the broker directly, and it turns into a double-booking situation,” he said. “The Uber Freight app just was different. I wasn’t getting a lot of functionality out of other brokers apps. There was something that was always left out [of the load life cycle]. With Altanta being a booming freight market, I get plenty of [push notifications] through my phone and can check in and check out. It’s automated very well.”
About a month ago, Knox received an email from Uber Freight (NYSE:UBER) on an offering that he had not seen before.
“The email was for power-only loads through a service called Powerloop,” said Knox. “I called [Uber Freight] and they helped me get set up to take my first load.”
On Thursday, Uber Freight announced that Powerloop, already in Texas and California, is officially being offered to carriers moving throughout Georgia to maximize their time through its drop-and-hook freight operation.
Launched in 2018, Powerloop creates a network of preloaded trailer pools for carriers to pick up and drop off at a number of Fortune 500 companies’ facilities.
“Loss of time can be one of the biggest challenges for carriers,” said Knox. “With Powerloop I don’t have to wait to be loaded or unloaded. I can just interchange my trailers and keep moving.”
Knox explained that the program has helped him slowly grow and scale his business over the past month, allowing him to move nearly 60% more loads than during previous months.
The drop-and-hook transactions allow Knox to worry less about what his truck can earn in a week or if there will even be available equipment for him to move loads.
“It’s easier for me to base out what my truck is going to make in a week having consistent loads available,” he said. “Also, trailer prices are sky high right now. I was looking to scale my business by getting some more truckers and trailers, but the way Powerloop’s volume is picking up, I can go ahead and just add more power-only drivers without having to worry about investing in more equipment.”
This large volume of power-only freight was a main reason for Uber Freight to expand its service into the Peach State.
“We are following the demand of our customers and carriers,” said Carl-Christoph Reckers, general manager of Uber Freight. “Of course Georgia is a key freight market and as we expanded our customer base [into the region], they continued to ask for us to bring in our drop trailer solution.”
Since these trailers are being leased through Powerloop, the company is able to better manage the trailers, including leveraging its technology to create a strong, trackable network of assets.
“Leasing these trailers allows us to leverage technology in a much deeper way, specifically through telematics integrated right into our systems,” said Reckers. “If we didn’t have full control of those trailers, we would be one step removed, making it difficult to drive down efficiencies for the shipper.”
For Glen Stewart, the manager of Powerloop who has been a part of the project since inception, the most rewarding aspect is empowering carriers like Knox, leading to a stronger network of carriers for the company’s shipper customers.
“This is about lowering the barrier of entry for owner-operators,” Stewart said. “We are trying to push them forward and help them make key decisions that will ultimately lead them to success in scaling their business. We can empower them while still bringing efficiencies to the shipper side, creating more dock space for them, helping them manage their staff and create less detention time, which affects both the shipper and the carrier.”
UberFreight and Powerloop will continue to listen to their shipper and carrier base, following load density trends, and open up power-only services to more states in the future.
“Powerloop is a key investment area for us going forward, and we will continue to expand its services to areas where we have density on both the shipper and carrier sides of the market,” said Reckers.
“At Uber Freight, we sign up to work on difficult things, and creating a good power-only marketplace is difficult to do,” said Stewart. “We are going to continue watching demand in top freight markets, empower our owner-operators to support our shippers and keep on loopin.’”