Mobile application-based ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft have revolutionized the urban taxi landscape in the past few years. Now, the idea of doing something similar to fill out trucks to full capacity is catching fire.

At least a dozen companies are in the hunt to develop and promote “smart trucking” apps that provide an all-in-one solution for freight shippers and carriers: fast, automated load matching based on location and equipment; turn-by-turn route planning and shipment tracking; algorithm-based instant pricing; and seamless proof-of-delivery, billing and payment. These apps are looking to replace fragmented and time-consuming legacy processes, such as the countless hours truckers often spend trying to find loads by calling freight brokers and checking load boards.

Many smart trucking apps are being developed by technology companies that believe they can undercut the middleman fees charged by traditional freight brokers, while offering more comprehensive solutions. Thus much like the taxi industry, which is fighting back against ride sharing with its own streamlined apps (such as Hailo and Arro), freight brokers will need to embrace “uberization” – or risk being displaced entirely.

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