For shippers that have never used a freight broker or carrier management services before, how a load is brokered can be murky. The broker acts as their liaison with carriers, helping companies access capacity and, ideally, save time and money. But it’s not always clear what tasks the broker is responsible for and what they need to do to keep things moving smoothly.
Here’s a look into how a carrier management relationship works and what you can expect.
How Carrier Management Works: A Day in the Life of a Brokered Freight Load
- Pickup request: When a shipper has an order that needs to go out, the service starts the ball rolling by requesting a pickup. This might be a one-off request, but shippers can also set up regularly scheduled pickups with the brokering firm.
- Information assembly: All the necessary details are assembled to find an optimal carrier for the order, including contact information, commodity type, and any special requirements, such as the need for a refrigerated container. Depending on the shipper’s systems, the agent may be able to obtain all this information automatically (e.g. via electronic data integration). Otherwise, an email or phone call may be required.
- Carrier selection: Once the broker has all the information they need, they can get to work finding the appropriate carrier for the shipper’s freight. Smart brokers leverage a transportation management system (TMS) to put the request in front of their carefully cultivated network of reputable, vetted carriers, rather than simply floating it on every freight board. This ensures your freight is being handled by carriers that are licensed, insured, reliable, and able to accommodate any specialized needs.
- Load scheduling: After selecting the best carrier for the job and confirming that they’re available within the required timeframe, the service will then schedule the load and confirm pick-up and delivery times.
Dispatch and loading
- Driver communication: Ahead of the scheduled time, the broker will be in touch with the carrier to provide pick-up information to the driver and re-confirm handling requirements. This means the shipper doesn’t have to waste staff time on endless back-and-forth.
- Bill of Lading: The broker remains in touch with the carrier throughout the loading process, ensuring the right freight is loaded to avoid any mistakes and delays. When everything is on board and the broker is satisfied, the driver will sign the Bill of Lading (BOL), accepting liability for the freight.
Tracking the shipment: The broker’s job isn’t done when the BOL is signed. They’re responsible for staying in contact with the carrier for the duration of the transit process, confirming that everything is on track and ensuring that potential delays are quickly flagged to the shipper, so they can alert their customers. Leading brokers also leverage cutting-edge in-transit tracking to provide complete visibility into shipments, so there are no nasty surprises.
Unloading and billing
Invoicing: Once the carrier has arrived at the destination and fully unloaded, the consignee will sign the BOL, accepting possession of the shipment. Typically, the broker will then wait to receive the relevant paperwork from the carrier before invoicing the shipper.
Not your average carrier management service
Freight brokers can play an important role in the shipping process, making it easier for shippers to access carrier capacity, take time-consuming tasks off their employees’ plates, and bring their shipping costs down. Unfortunately, not all freight brokers offer the same benefits, and some shippers have been burned by untrustworthy brokers that do little more than serving as a middleman and pocket a hefty fee.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Shippers can unlock all the benefits of working with a broker without shouldering their weaknesses by carefully vetting their options—or working with us instead.
CTSI-Global is not a freight broker—or rather not simply a broker—but we can fill this gap in our clients’ processes. We’ve spent decades cultivating relationships with top-rated carriers, and our carrier management services allow shippers to tap into our robust and reliable network. Putting the full resources of our firm behind what we do, enables clients to flex and scale. You might need a load moved today and full-on logistics management services tomorrow. The beauty of partnering with CTSI-Global is you never have to go back out to the market to find capacity or capability. We’ve always got that covered.
Let us handle the heavy lifting to keep your freight moving. Contact CTSI-Global about carrier management.