Uber Technologies Inc hired the team behind a Chicago transportation brokerage last fall as part of an effort to break into the long-haul trucking industry.
All five employees from 4Front Logistics joined Uber in November, said an Uber spokeswoman, who added that Uber did not pay anything for the company. Brokerages such as 4Front Logistics connect manufacturers and retailers that are shipping goods with truck owners and fleets.
The deal comes as Uber is vying to apply the logistics expertise it has gained ferrying passengers in countries around the world to the trucking industry. That strategy puts it in the middle of a large, highly fragmented industry of freight brokers who match cargo with truck operators.
Uber Chief Executive Travis Kalanick posted a photo on Twitter on Sunday of a large white truck emblazoned with the words “Uber Freight.”
In one of Uber's first public displays of its interest in trucking, Uber last August acquired self-driving truck startup Otto for $680 million, a deal that is now at the center of a legal battle with Alphabet’s Waymo.
Since launching its push into trucking about a year ago, Uber has been steadily gaining traction, said transportation analyst Jack Atkins of investment bank Stephens Inc.
“They are being very active building up their scale in the brokerage market, both in terms of going after customers but also making sure they have the capacity to fulfill that,” he said.
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