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The “sharing economy” has made it easier to get around town, visit a new city and even wash your clothes (thank you Uber, Airbnb and Washio).

In logistics, a similar crop of sharing economy startups are finding more efficient ways to move freight from A to B.

By using GPS and mobile technology to help shippers and carriers connect in real-time, sharing economy startups are unlocking underutilized capacity and bringing greater efficiency to regional LTL, full truckload and drayage shipping.

This post will explore:

  • what a sharing economy is
  • why the model has proven so successful
  • how manufacturers, distributors and logistics providers can tap into the power of the sharing economy.
  • why the sharing economy model works for local trucking.

What is a sharing economy?

A sharing economy refers to the peer-to-peer sharing of access to goods and services.

But what does that mean? Let’s use an example:

You need a tack hammer because you plan on spending the weekend reupholstering your living room sofa. I own a tack hammer, but I rarely use it.

In theory, you could pay me a small fee to borrow the hammer, rather than going to the hardware store and buying a brand-new tack hammer. Or I could sell it to you for steep discount because I’ve already reupholstered my sofa and don’t need it anymore.

The problem is that you don’t know I have an underutilized hammer lying around, and I don’t know that you need to borrow one. It would be very difficult to build a sharing economy for tools — or for pretty much anything — without the help of the connective power of the Web.

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