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February 24, 2020 11:15 AM, EST

Trailer-Sharing Platform vHub to Launch in US Market

VHub Roy Francis of vHub speaks at TMC. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

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ATLANTA — Digital asset-sharing platform vHub is bringing its trailer sharing and repositioning marketplace to the U.S. trucking industry.

The collaborative trailer-sharing service, which launched in Canada in April 2019, matches trailer owners, and rental and leasing operations with companies that need to rent a trailer on a short-term basis.

Participants can access vHub through a web application and mobile app, where they can sort matches by location, routes and destinations, as well as by the number of rental days needed.

The company made the announcement Feb. 23 at American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council annual meeting.

Francis Roy, vice president of vHub, said it’s “mind boggling” that transportation companies haven’t had a way to know when there’s an idle trailer sitting across the street that could be available for immediate use.

“In 2020, with the technology that we have in our hands, it’s time that we give the industry a one-stop shop — one vision of what’s available,” he said.

The vHub service gives trailer owners the opportunity to generate more revenue from underutilized trailers by making them available for short-term rental. They also can reduce deadhead and cut repositioning costs by renting trailers to operators willing to move them one way.

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At the same time, renters can gain access to nearby trailers faster and at a lower cost than they would from an equipment-rental company, Roy said.

Trailer owners set their prices and availability for renting out their equipment, while vHub handles invoicing and payments, and transfers rental funds to the trailer owners.

The service includes dry van, refrigerated, flatbed and specialty trailers.

“Our aim is to become the global, digital trailer-sharing community for the trucking business,” Roy said.

The trailer-sharing business is a subsidiary of equipment-financing firm Finloc 2000 Inc., which has been catering to the trucking industry for more than 40 years.

That experience in trailer financing gave the company a clear understanding of how much trailer utilization fluctuates, and how much it could improve, Roy said.

With an estimated 3-to-1 trailer to tractor ratio in the trucking industry, there are always two trailers parked for every one that’s moving, and there are also many empty miles, he said.

A more collaborative approach, however, could unlock mutually beneficial opportunities to make better use of available trailer capacity.

In the greater Montreal market, more than 100 transportation companies already have registered about 5,000 trailers and have booked more than 20,000 rental days of trailer usage on vHub’s digital marketplace.

“The acceptance of community marketplaces is on the rise because users are understanding the true value of collaboration,” vHub CEO Sebastien Blouin said in a company statement. “vHub is a perfect example of a collaborative strategy that is a win-win for all parties.”

Trailer owners remain responsible for maintaining their trailers, but renters are responsible for damage caused while they are operating them. Drivers can document the condition of trailers on vHub, including by taking photos of any trailer damage prior to departure.

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