Outsourcing Freight Operations: Who’s the Right Choice?
Companies choose to work with freight forwarders and freight brokers for a number of different reasons. Outsourcing offers access to logistics experts on an on-demand basis without having to hire in-house talent. It can also save money on expenses like warehousing space and packing materials.
Partnering with a freight broker or freight forwarder can also create additional advantages for businesses. Let’s take a look at the capabilities that each one offers.
Why Work with a Freight Broker?
Companies who engage with a freight broker to move their cargo can benefit from their broker’s:
- Network of relationships – Freight brokers pride themselves on their access to different carriers. This can save you a ton of time. Rather than calling around to find a carrier with capacity to move your freight, you can make a single call to a broker. That broker, in turn, will reach out to their network to find space for your shipment.
- Ability to negotiate – With access to multiple carriers, a freight broker may be able to find you a better price than you’d find on your own. This is especially true for brokers who do a large volume of business with particular carriers.
- Facilitating communication – As the intermediary between the shipper and the carrier, a freight broker help keep you in the loop when it comes to the movement of your freight.
Ultimately, working with a freight broker can save time, effort, and money—all making a freight broker a worthy partner. That brings us to the next question.
Why Work with a Freight Forwarder?
Freight forwarders offer similar capabilities to those of freight brokers. They, too, have a network of relationships they can access, as well as an ability to negotiate on volume. They can also assist with tracking and tracing your shipment and informing you of any changes or updates.
In addition to those capacities, freight forwarders can also:
- Assemble freight consolidations. Forwarders gather shipments from different shippers, all headed to the same destination. They store them in their warehouse until they have a full load, at which point they pack all the shipments up and send them on their way. Consolidations may travel over the ocean (less-than-container-load shipments/LCL), over the road (less than truckload shipments/LTL), or via air freight (air freight consols).
- Package freight shipments. Not all forwarders offer packaging services. However, to offer you an example of what might be possible, a forwarder might be willing to receive floor-loaded materials from a supplier, palletize these items for easier handling, and then send them onward to their final destinations.
- Handle international shipments, including negotiating with foreign carriers and assembling customs paperwork. Some freight brokers do handle international shipments, but most work with domestic freight. On the flip side, it’s common for freight forwarders to move freight internationally.
If you need any of these services—or anticipate needing them in the future—consider partnering with a freight forwarder. With one phone call, you’ll give yourself access to a much wider range of services. That said, not all forwarders offer all services, so make sure you choose your forwarder with care.
As you make your final decision, there are just a few more areas worthy of your consideration.