Despite skyrocketing diesel prices, innovative truckers are using online marketplace uShip to grow business, keep cargo space full.
(Austin, TX – June 25, 2008) Jim Van and Dee Coston are feeling the pinch. The couple, who team as independent transporters with locations in Spring Hill, FL and Hubert, NC, has seen diesel fuel rise from 30% to just over 50% of their total operating expenses – and Jim and Dee are not alone. They are among the thousands of independent truckers across the country that are being forced to make a decision – get innovative or get out.
Jim, a 25 year veteran of the transport business, and his partner Dee, known together as ‘I95transporter’ on the uShip marketplace, have been transporting motorcycles along the East coast together for the past 6 years. While they used two trucks in the past, today they operate only one, and it only leaves home with a full load. “We have been forced to scale back our operations just to survive this recent spike in diesel prices,” stated Jim Van. “This has made us rethink our business and make sure that we are maximizing every mile on the road. A site like uShip, which accounts for almost 60% of our business, gives us the opportunity to be more innovative by using the internet to find loads we otherwise never could. It has not just kept us in business while we weather this storm – it has also kept us profitable.”
A substantial number of truckers are following suit, as about 30% of American truckers are now bidding for jobs on uShip’s innovative reverse auction-style online marketplace. Truckers have embraced the eBay-like model and are actually growing their businesses by picking up additional jobs on routes where they have empty cargo space. Using uShip also instantly solves the problem of how to fill cargo space on return trips. For many, winning additional jobs helps to fill the gaps in business and provides much-needed revenue to offset otherwise prohibitive fuel costs.
According to uShip CEO Matt Chasen, rising fuel costs have made a significant impact on the trucking industry. As a result, many technology-savvy truckers are not only staying afloat because of uShip, but some are actually expanding their operations. “Since starting uShip three and a half years ago, over 100,000 transportation service providers (TSPs) have joined the site and shipped more than $400 million worth of goods-everything you can imagine,” Chasen said. “Now, you can find truck stops across the U.S. with truckers on laptops bidding on the jobs that will allow them to maximize every inch of cargo capacity for every mile they drive. Rising fuel costs are a reality, and those that want to survive will have to adapt.”
uShip, however, is more than just a marketplace to customers-it is a site dedicated to helping re-shape the transportation industry and give truckers the tools they need to be successful. uShip provides members a suite of innovative technologies, including feedback ratings that allow truckers to build a national reputation, advanced search capabilities that make it easy for truckers to find the right type of shipment along their route, and advanced bidding tools that make sure they never miss an opportunity to add dollars directly to their bottom line.
The result is that innovators like Jim and Dee Van are able to stay active in a business they love. “It would be tough going without uShip,” stated Jim. “These are hard times for everyone, but for us, this is our livelihood. If uShip can help us get that extra motorcycle in our truck, we know the extra income goes directly to our bottom line which helps us keep the truck running.”