- Milton Collier
The New World of Freight Brokering
Updated: Feb 6
It's still a Great Day to be in Logistics. With rapidly changing supply chains and the evolving freight industry, it's become a bit more challenging for shippers to move their goods.
Shippers are increasingly turning to digital freight brokers that use advanced technology, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, to create flexible solutions for shifting market dynamics. In many cases, digital freight brokerages can streamline the process for shippers and reduce costs.
The below companies are on the frontline of the Digital Freight industry:
What is a digital freight broker?
Brokers connect shippers with carriers. They help shippers get their goods to their destination and assist freight and trucking companies in finding loads to keep their trucks generating revenue. A digital freight broker handles all this in real-time on a digital platform that matches shippers with carriers.
The digital platform streamlines the process by connecting the shipper and carrier directly without a go-between. A digital freight broker can significantly broaden the search for carriers and lead to more competitive rates. By tapping into the digital freight network, shippers can develop carrier relationships that they would not normally find.
It is becoming increasingly common for digital freight brokers to work as a primary source for shipping goods. As a whole, the digital freight brokerage market is expected to reach $26 billion by 2030.
Digital freight brokers vs. traditional brokers: What's the difference?
With traditional freight brokerages, much of this work occurs manually using spreadsheets, making phone calls, or sending emails back and forth. Brokers might be third-party logistics companies or solo operators.
A digital freight broker, by comparison, uses a digital platform to leverage capacity more efficiently, significantly speeding up the process and providing greater transparency into the entire process.
With spot rates starting in 2022 at near-historic numbers, a digital freight broker offers shippers an easy way to find alternative sources for shipping. In the current environment with tight capacity and a shortage of drivers and equipment, a digital freight broker provides suppliers with the freight intelligence and truck drivers they need to move freight efficiently.
How does the digital freight brokerage process work?
The process is simple. Customers go online, submit the load information, and include any relevant pickup and delivery information.
The digital freight broker platform will automatically find available carriers and highlight loads based on the shipper's terms. When both parties agree to the match, loads can be booked instantly. Instead of contacting multiple brokers, shippers can find more options for getting freight delivered, and carriers can find more loads.
How digital freight brokerages can benefit your business
A digital freight brokerage can benefit your business by helping you to find the best carriers at the most competitive rates.
Here are eight ways to streamline your workflow using a digital freight broker.
1. Automate administrative tasks
Freight transactions create a lot of paperwork, from orders, Bills of Lading (BOLs), Proof of Delivery (POD), invoices, and more. For years, these tasks have been done using manual data entry.
Digital freight brokers use AI and machine learning tools to automate these processes. Not only does this work quickly and seamlessly, but it eliminates human error. Due to its efficiency, it can also reduce costs.
2. Source quality carriers
Finding capacity can be a challenge. With dramatic shifts in consumer demand, finding favorable rates in the right freight lanes can be tricky. Digital freight brokers can access deep databases to find the best carriers and routes, providing more options at competitive rates.
The best digital freight brokers, like the Truckstop.com Load Board for Shippers, produce carrier performance ratings so you can choose carriers based on more than just the rate. You can evaluate their overall rating, inspection, history, complaints, and compliments.
You can also search by truck or lane and uncover hidden capacity.
3. Increase negotiation strength
When armed with the correct data, you can significantly improve your negotiating strength.
Rate estimates: Get accurate estimates specific to the load, weight, length, equipment type, lane, etc.
Week trends: Track rates for similar loads in the past month for better pricing.
Month trends: Analyze a more extended period to account for historical and seasonal shifts, and anticipate future changes.
4. Onboard carriers faster
Another significant time-saver using a digital freight broker arises when it's time to onboard a new carrier. At Truckstop.com, for example, more than 98% of today's active carriers are already in the system, which can reduce the time it takes to onboard carriers by as much as 80%. Because carriers are pre-vetted, it also lowers the risk of fraudulent carrier documentation or identity theft.
You can automate carrier onboarding and monitoring. Monitoring assures you that carriers are on track with freight rules and regulations, such as keeping their insurance and operating authority up to date.
5. Monitor carrier compliance
After onboarding, a digital freight broker can also ensure carriers meet your standards for safety ratings, Compliance Safety and Accountability (CSA-e) scores, TIA watchdog reports, operating authority, and insurance every time you book a load. Most insurance certificates are already in the system.
Using a non-compliant carrier is risky for everyone involved. It can put you at risk for litigation, especially if the information was available and you failed to check and monitor for compliance. Because of legal liability, using a carrier that hasn't stayed current on their paperwork puts your reputation at risk.
6. Access real-time freight data
Perhaps one of the most significant advantages of working with a digital freight broker is that you can find trucks ready to cover your loads in real time. This accessibility means the data you see is always up-to-date, allowing you to monitor changes in truck capacity, load volumes, and rates across thousands of lanes.
You no longer have to guess at competitive rates or rely on historical data to set pricing with access to freight intelligence data. You get access to current data for better forecasting.
7. Book loads quickly
Digital Freight Brokerage platform also allows you book loads quickly. You can decide which carriers can view and book your loads and offer them to carriers you already trust.
Carriers see these loads, and they can book them instantly — even outside regular business hours. There's no need for time-consuming phone calls or sending documents back and forth. Post your load for a small flat fee, and carriers can book them instantly.
8.Get your freight moved faster
A digital freight broker cuts out the middleman to save you time and money. It eliminates the back and forth to find a match for your loads and provides transparent pricing for everyone in the supply chain. With real-time data and freight intelligence, you can make better decisions and move freight faster.