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What does a Freight Broker Do?

Thursday May 06, 2021

Understanding the question: what does a freight broker do, it’s essential to know when and how their services are required. Freight brokers play a pivotal role within the entire supply chain since they allow the whole process to become simple and efficient by taking care of many complicated matters.   

Even though freight brokers are the linking element between shippers and carriers, they also take care of many other aspects that allow a streamlined shipping process.   

Answering the question: What does a freight broker do? 

These are some of the essential activities Freight brokers take care of:  

1. Create carrier networks.

Creating carrier relationships and networks is essential for any freight broker. Having a strong bond with all their clients will allow brokers to obtain the best loads and know who the best carriers are depending on the shipper's specific needs.   

Having a vast network of carriers ensures brokers give the right solutions for their clients. This is created with time, effort, and years of working together and being a reliable partner for carriers and shippers. Obtaining excellent results and handling stressful situations the right way shows a broker's expertise, and this something clients value over many other things.  

2. Secure capacity from shippers.  

Finding a suitable carrier to haul the shippers' freight is one of the most critical elements of the entire relationship. In some seasons, the amount of cargo that needs to be transported increases tremendously, and brokers need to be prepared, constantly communicating with carriers to know which ones are available and help transport the necessary freight.   

Apart from networking and relationships, brokers use a wide variety of tools like load boards or new digital tools to find the capacity their clients need.   

3. Research and find the best lanes.   

Even though carriers can take care of finding the best routes and being efficient, freight brokers also must have an understanding of routes carriers will use. Understanding the best lanes allows them to speak knowledgeably with carriers and discuss what's best for the client.   

4. Identify suitable carriers for each load.  

There is a wide variety of freight that needs to be transported around the world. Not every cargo is made for a standard truck. Different types of cargo require specific needs for them to be transported safely. Here's where freight brokers need to communicate with a suitable carrier with the required vehicles for each freight.   

5. Establish rates with shippers and carriers.   

For this specific task, freight brokers must have the industry knowledge and be up to date with how rates are moving. To negotiate fair rates for shippers and carriers, they must know the actual rates being used to date and how competitive they are. Communicating with shippers and brokers and understanding their expectations since the beginning of the process will allow freight brokers to access the best rates and add profitability to all the parties involved.   

6. Track load status.

Tracking the load status is necessary since freight brokers become the single point of contact for shippers. Brokers must be aware of the freight status, knowing where it is located and if it will meet the deadline. Before the shipping process starts, expectations need to be clear regarding tracking. Shippers, brokers, and carriers must agree on the frequency of updates they will need and the method used for this matter. This pre-arrangement will ensure there's no burnout or overall bad situations.   

7. Verify specific paperwork for the parties involved.   

Another additional activity freight brokers take care of to streamline the entire process is paperwork. In many cases, since freight brokers are the point of contact, it's easier and more efficient for them to handle the paperwork since they are the ones that are in constant communication with the parties involved. Handling invoices and payables take another burden off shippers and carriers' backs and allow them to concentrate on their core business.   

8. Organize and manage special transit requirements.   

With different types of freight comes different modes of transportation. Understanding the specific requirements for each load is also part of freight brokers' responsibility. For example, suppose a shipper needs to haul refrigerated freight or any time-sensitive goods. In that case, freight brokers need to find carriers that have these containers and take care of the required paperwork for that specific type of freight.  

In general terms, freight brokers take care of everything in between from the pick up until the delivery, ensuring everything runs smoothly and allowing shippers to feel completely safe. Working with reliable freight brokers means shippers and carriers can relax and let them take care of the entire process with no headaches or hiccups along the way. 

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