Ocean Spray is a cooperative of more than 700 family-owned cranberry farms that harvest more than 220 billion cranberries a year for more than 1,000 different products. Last week, the cooperative announced that Uber Freight is now one of its top five carriers, having moved more than 1,500 loads in 2018.
Many of Ocean Spray's farmers are from multi-generational farming families, and one of the company's core duties, according to CEO Bobby Chacko, is leveraging technology to innovate and usher these businesses into the future. An intelligent, efficient supply chain is a key element of that strategy.
Uber Freight's digital freight brokerage platform allows shippers to find capacity from small carriers and book them quickly, without having to haggle over price. Uber Freight brought in more than $370 million in gross revenue last year, and recently announced an expansion into Europe. Although Uber Freight – categorized under ‘Other Bets' in Uber's financial reporting – is a relatively insignificant part of Uber Technologies Inc, it's expected to grow quickly over the next four years.
In Morgan Stanley's initiation report on the company, analysts wrote that they expected Uber Freight to grow at an 85 percent compound annual growth rate from 2018 to 2023, transforming the brokerage into a $3.9 billion business by 2021.
Earl Larson, Ocean Spray's vice president of global supply chain and operations for cranberries: "This business revolves a lot around capacity in the market, and with many of the conditions working against shippers the last couple of years, we've tried to be on top of emerging trends and solutions to find capacity.”
After the harvest, cranberries are brought from a farmer's bog to an Ocean Spray facility within 24 hours, Larson explained. While there's no precise deadline on when the berries have to be transported from the farm, but the sooner the better, Larson said, adding that "it's a beautiful and hectic time of year."
"We like to have a good mix of carriers and good relationships across a number of carriers, but not too many," Larson added. "Uber Freight fit in well, because after we trialed with them, they proved that the method and technology were delivering results, in the sense of on-time and at the right cost."
According to an article on finance.yahoo.com¸ Uber Freight's technology integrated seamlessly into Ocean Spray's transportation management system, so that his transportation managers do not have to change the way they tender loads to carriers in order to use Uber Freight's capacity.