Uber has created a “private-label” version of its delivery platform to assist the United Nations in delivering food and water supplies to Ukraine’s war-torn areas.
The technology firm is collaborating with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
Large delivery trucks find it difficult to access some areas of Ukraine due to structural damage and the threat of attack.
The WFP can coordinate a fleet of smaller vehicles using Uber’s platform.
The World Food Programme selects its own drivers and vehicles, but some are former Uber drivers who worked in Ukraine prior to the Russian invasion.
Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber, stated that his company provided the WFP with “their own private-label Uber.”
It’s a customised version of the Uber Direct delivery platform, which is commercially available – notable customers include Apple and Tesco. Businesses typically pay Uber a commission per delivery, but the WFP is not being charged.
Within a 100-kilometer radius of its warehouses, it can use the software to coordinate distribution and track deliveries and drivers.
The scheme is being tested in Dnipro, Ukraine’s capital. It is hoped that it will be expanded later to four other cities: Lviv, Vinnytsia, Kyiv, and Chernivtsi.
The Red Cross, the International Rescue Committee, and Save the Children are among the organisations working to provide emergency supplies to those in need.
Within a few weeks of its initial contact with the World Food Programme, Uber’s platform was up and running.
“It’s not like you have a month to get food to people – people have got to get food immediately,” said WFP executive director David Beasley.
“You can’t go a few weeks without food, and so using Uber’s technology, their distribution systems, their dispatch systems… it really is a great success story.”