Online transportation marketplace uShip is opening its doors to freight brokers, allowing brokers to offer loads to truckers on the Web-based auction site.
"It's a natural evolution for us to expand from the retail side of the business to the broker or wholesale side," said Matt Chasen, CEO and founder of uShip.
"In the past six years we've built a robust exchange platform for all different kinds of freight, but we've focused mainly on the retail side of the transaction," he said.
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uShip is a marketplace designed along the lines of eBay. It has a million "shippers" or customers who post items to be shipped and accept bids from carriers.
The majority of the marketplace's customers are individuals shipping personal goods ranging from boats and cars to furniture on a one-time basis.
But about 30 percent of uShip's customers are businesses and half of its volume is commercial freight, and those percentages are growing, Chasen said.
Chasen launched uShip into the world of brokered freight at the Transportation Intermediaries Association annual conference in Orlando, Fla., April 7.
More than 200,000 brokers and carriers already use the marketplace to bid on freight, often to fill backhauls or more completely to fill partly empty trailers.
An increasing number of businesses are using uShip to fill gaps in their distribution networks, he said, noting the number of repeat customers is growing.
uShip will also allow freight brokers and logistics providers to create their own private transportation exchanges using the company's technology, Chasen said.
He expects the service to become more popular among shippers and brokers as truck capacity gets tighter and shippers look for new sources of capacity.
"Last year we saw a tightening of capacity on our site for the first time ever," said Chasen, who founded the transportation exchange in 2003.