A freight broker is basically an individual or company that processes shipments for organizations or individuals from one point to another. They play a very critical role between shippers and carriers. They come in handy especially when shippers face pain points like rising transportation cost, driver and rail shortages, limited ability to source for service providers, lack of expertise, constrained truckload carrier capacity, and lack of shipment reporting and visibility.
When choosing a freight broker, find the right broker that can help your business effortlessly and efficiently move shipments and ease some of the transport-related supply chain challenges. A good freight broker can also help you save lots of money and time, increase shipment visibility and speed, and reduce your risk. You need to choose an authorized, experienced and trustworthy Michigan freight broker that understands the trade and has the capacity to handle all your logistics needs.
Now, with thousands of freight brokers in the market, and each of them claiming to offer professional and reliable operations, how do you choose a proven, reliable partner? When all is said and done, the two main factors to look for in a freight broker is integrity and financial stability. Here are the five questions you should ask when choosing your freight broker.
Is the broker and their contracted carriers, authorized, proven and reliable partners?
First, check that the broker and their contracted carriers are operating under the legal authority given by respective transport regulators and licensing authorities. They should also be your partners as well as partners with their carriers. Ideally, they should be vetting their carriers’ qualification process before bringing them on board. Additionally, though uncommon, check that your preferred freight broker is not brokering to another broker (double brokering)
Do they have the experience you need?
It’s fairly easy to start a freight brokerage firm, but the freight business has its own deep waters, and if a company doesn’t know what it’s doing, it won’t last for long. Years of experience means that your freight forwarder has the capacity and wisdom to deal with different situations such as port shutdowns, dockworker strikes, smoothing out customs, need for rerouting cargo, and handling warehousing issues.
Do they have compliance knowledge, networks and business partners in cities you are shipping to?
This is obviously very important for local handling of your cargo. Your freight broker should have networks and connections around the country, or at least in the cities that are the origin and destination of your freight. If you are shipping from New York to Florida for instance, it doesn’t matter how well connected your freight broker is in Texas.
They should also be well versed with trade agreements and understand customs rules, compliance requirements, duty rates and governments regulations of the countries you need to ship to and from.
Do they have regional offices in geographical regions of your interest?
Apart from connections and compliance, your freight broker should have sufficient knowledge of the cities that you intend to ship to. Ideally, they should be familiar with the infrastructure, local language, economy, tax laws, etc. Find out if they are a member of any reputable freight brokerage networks. If so, chances are they will handle your shipment with care and accountability.
Can they help you manage and reduce shipment risk?
Your preferred broker should be able to assess and manage cargo risk so that your company is protected against any unforeseen losses. Your freight broker and its carrier partners should have comprehensive cargo insurance whose policies can be extended to cover your shipments in the event of loss, damage or theft. If you ask these questions and get the answers you are looking for you should be able to move forward with confidence that your freight will be in good hands.
Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics