One of the most important questions many manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, importers, exporters have is “How and who do I use so that can I make sure to have my shipments moving, delivered on time and within my budget? Do I go direct with a Carrier or a Broker? Who is more effective?
The logical choice may be to go with a carrier who has a preferred choice of lanes and services (TL or LTL, Reefer, Dry loads, etc. It is rare they would deviate from such modus operandi. It is just the way it is…unless of course…they too are re-brokering those loads. However, there will be more oftentimes than not that they will not be able to accommodate your requests or multitude of service requirements because they are limited in the services they provide or the equipment they own. If your request does not fall within the confines of their operations, you will most likely need to continue to make other calls, wasting more time and money.
A professional freight broker on the other hand should have the ability to have capacity anytime. They will most likely have the flexibility, the vast network cultivated from many years, the security screening processes in place, the technology tools and will have access to the availability of multiple suppliers to handle the job on schedule for the shipper. They can more easily adapt to the given requirements of the shippers and they can search within a database of suppliers and a plethora of select carriers almost instantly instead of the shipper making multiple calls or browsing the net.
While a certain love-hate relationship still endure between some brokers and carriers, the professional freight broker of today understand that he serves an important role as middle-men between shippers and carriers. With the right broker, a shipper need not worry about many things such as driver or rail shortages, security of cargo, legitimacy of the carrier, knowledge of transportation regulations, or a lack of reporting that often leave shippers in the dark like …..will it PU and deliver on time? Where is IT? Why is it delayed? Why is it stuck in customs?...etc.
With thousands of freight brokers, small owner operators or online startups flooding into the market how can shippers ensure loads are contracted to reliable, proven freight brokers or carriers? You best safety net can often be summed up by these two characteristics: Who has integrity and financial stability? The right freight broker can deliver an invaluable service by screening and vetting all the carrier partners he uses and by protecting the shipper from 99% of all shipment related issue and still remain price competitive.
When armed with a good freight broker, you can weather any storm. Many shippers turn to brokers when freight demand far outstrips carrier capacity. Shippers using a broker can access increased capacity without the hassle of managing new carrier relationships. A top quality broker may be the most versatile component in your arsenal of freight service vendors.