10 Questions a Shipper Should Ask a Freight Brokerage Firm

For a shipping company, finding the right freight broker can be the difference between success and failure. To ensure this relationship leads to success, their are a number of questions the shipper needs to ask the freight brokerage firm right from the start. The following are 10 of the most important questions the shipper should before doing business with a freight brokerage firm.

1. May I see a copy of the brokerage authority that you have?

Verifying that the freight broker has the proper legal authority is vital. Make sure that the paper work shows legal authority has been granted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. They are the agency that licenses all transportation intermediaries.

2. How long have you been in operation?

This indicates how much experience and knowledge the company has and lets you know the level of expertise you can expect them to provide in dealing with carriers and customers.

3. Tell me about your dispatch process?

You need a brokers that does more than just fax your load details to carriers. Make sure they have a hands-on approach to the entire process of dealing with your load. They should remain in communication during the process, perform checks and verify on-time loading and delivery.

4. How many employees and offices do you have?

Make sure they have the resources necessary to service your account properly. Even if you primarily deal with regional loads, having a broker that has a presence nationwide ensures you will be covered no matter where your load is headed.

5. What are your pay terms for carriers?

Make sure they pay carriers in a timely manner. Their pay terms also shows their financial strength. Run a credit check on them to ensure they pay on time and in full. If they offer direct deposit and pay load advances for fuel that’s also a good sign.

6. How do you ensure carrier compliance?

Each carrier should be checked to make sure they have the proper insurance, authority, contracts with the providers and CSA Scores. This protects you from lawsuits.

7. To which trade associations do you belong?

Make sure they are Transportation Intermediaries Association members. Look at their Better Business Bureau rating. Only work with a freight broker committed to marketplace ethics.

8. What are the types of services you offer?

Choose a broker that can handle a pallet, a truckload, a rail box, or even an ocean container.  That means you can handle all your shipping needs with one call no matter the mode of transportation you need.

9. May I see references from your shipper and carrier?

Contact their references and ask about both the best and the worst experience they’ve had with the broker.

10. May I see your insurance and surety bond certificates?

Never work with a broker without seeing and verifying they have these certificates. By law all brokers must have a $10,000 surety bond. It provides carriers with protection should a broker not pay the freight charges.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

Brighter Logistics Newest Client Is Turning Shipping Containers Into Homes

Here at Brighter Logistics we have many clients that ship all kinds of different widgets, parts and merchandise across the united states.  But we could not be more excited about our newest client C3 UP and what we will be shipping for them, homes that are made from shipping containers.  C3 UP (a division of C3 Ventures) is currently working on about half a dozen large, metal shipping containers are undergoing modifications to become homes in their facility called C33D and a warehouse C3 UP located in Flint Michigan.

“It’s all part of the culture of what C3 means: Clean air, clean soil, clean water — so are able to make use out of these containers that were just sitting around rotting,” said Chris Williams, president and CEO of C33D.

C3 UP has already completed one storage container home, which was placed in Ferndale, and it’s currently in the beginning stages of building its second home.  The containers, some of which were used only once, were purchased in Detroit and brought back to the warehouse where crews cut holes for windows and doors to be installed.

Gil Opaleski, warehouse operations manager said after that, they’ll paint the outside with a Rhino liner, which is the same material used for pickup truck bed liners. “That’s good for 60 years, and the top of the roof – I mean, it’s better than shingles. You can hit it with a hammer and it won’t dent, it won’t chip or anything,” he said.

Other ideas for containers are also in the works, including creating manufactured park models that are smaller and on wheels with a hitch, as well as apartment complexes, since the containers can be stacked as many as 16 high.

Brighter Logistics will be handing all future transportation needs of C3 UP, from delivering the containers before they are converted into homes as well as delivering them to their dedications where they will be lived in and enjoyed for many years.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics


Source: www.mlive.com

Overcoming Less-than-truckload (LTL) Shipping Challenges

Transportation of goods and services is one of the most important aspects of any economy. People take for granted whatever they bought will be delivered to them somehow or other. When you go to the store to buy something, that product had to be brought to the store in the first place. But rarely do people think about all that until something goes wrong and they don’t get what they want. Most people don’t know much about trucking or logistics, let alone Less-than-truckload or LTL type of shipping. The simple definition of LTL is, freight that will not fill a large semi-truck trailer. It is a fancy term for the smaller trucks or the little guys in the trucking business. And it is also one of the most challenging parts of the trucking business for, both, the sender and recipient of goods.

The reason why LTL is the weakest link in the freight business is of course because of money. If there is only a small amount of freight, such as one box or pallet, finding an exclusive ride for it is difficult. There are basically only two options in front most senders; wait for the next big truck or hire an entire van to get the job done. However, waiting for the next truck is not an option for time sensitive goods. Now the sender is left with finding a smaller van to send the goods. Most large shipping companies do not even offer LTL services. This leaves you looking for 3rd party vendors. Whatever the method, it is important to follow some basic policies when handling LTL shipping. The following are some ideas.

Insurance is a cost that people tend to overlook when shipping something. Most carriers offer only limited liability coverage. The final rate will be decided by the shipper and there may be times when the insurance does not match the value of what is being shipped. In that scenario, it is a good idea to find out if additional insurance is provided. Peace of mind is not something to be compromised when shipping something important. Next on the list is to find a company that will ship the things, when they say they do. This may seem obvious, but the fact is that small amounts of freight hauling just doesn’t make a freight company as much money as a large amount of freight. That means there is always a chance that the box you are trying to send sits in the back somewhere, unmoved.

All said and done, the dynamics of the freight hauling business is changing. The business is actually shifting more and more towards LTL style of business. The good news is that there are more and more companies stepping up to the plate. With some research and due diligence, it is not that difficult to find a competent LTL.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics
Michigan Freight Broker

Quick Tips For Freight Shipping

Freight shipping is quite important for many large businesses as the shipping agency will send everything you need in a timely manner. It is cost-effective to use the freight shipping company, and this article explains how you may make the most of the freight shippers you are working with. You may find a partner in a freight shipping company, and they will give you all the information you need about shipping to countries around the world.


The Company Lowers Prices

You will save money when you are shipping over freight, and you will have everything taken care of for you. You must ask the freight shipping company how they manage customs, and they will help you understand the fees that are required. Each step in the shipping process is handled by the freight shipping company, and they will ensure you are not shuffling your own paperwork.

The Company Will Ship Anything You Need

A freight shipping company knows how to ship everything from cars and large machinery to massive plots of items that you have wrapped together. They know how to get everything to your final destination, and they will help you understand how everything must be packed. You may use the freight shipping company to ship a single item, or you may use the freight shipping company when you are searching for basic option for your weekly shipments.

Pickup And Delivery

The freight shipping company that you use will help you ensure you have all the information you need, and you must ensure you have asked them how they handle pickups and deliveries. There are quite a few times when you may send someone for shipments, and you must begin a search for someone who will help you with the specific shipment times and delivery times you need.

Paying In Advance

You may set up an account with the freight shipping company, and you may pay into your account any time you like. It is much easier to pay on your account when you are working on multiple shipments at once, and you will find it much easier to send out new shipments if you have a relationship with the company before you start. The relationship you have built with the shipping company will ensure everything is done properly, and you will save money because you are making single payments to the shipping company every month. They are delighted to work with you, and you must ensure you have made choices that will ensure your shipments are paid for in the proper amount of time.

There are quite a few things you must consider when you are searching for a freight shipping company, and you will find I quite simple to ask questions of the company that will inform your decisions. They will tell you who to manage customs and payments, and they will help you ship anything of any size. It is quite important for everyone who is involved in manufacturing to have a freight shipping partner.

You can download the Brighter Logistics Quick Tips For Freight Shipping here.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

1PL 2PL 3PL 4PL What’s With All The PL’s

Life has its fair share of levels that provide organization to industries and this proves incredibly true in logistics. Logistics play a huge role in how we get goods, merchandise etc. from one place to another. Consumers especially experience satisfaction due to this amazing industry. And its hardworking agents such as freight forwarders who put together these shipments so that they may arrive to their final destination on time and in one piece. Understanding the four levels of logistics (The PLs) will help simplify your shipping needs and the processes.

Whats With All The PLs

Massive action occurs at the bottom of the supply chain pyramid with the 4PL or fourth party logistics. It generally originates as a long-term partnership bound by a contract between one primary client and at least one other party. People have attributed terms such as, “Lead Logistics Providers” and non-asset-owning service provider to 4PLs. They serve as the overseers and managers of the whole supply chain.

People recognize 3PLs as having a close connection to 4PLs, often mixing up their duties. These providers package together services which include the likes of receiving shipments from shippers and transporting them to the carriers. The legal definition by way of 2008 legislation reads, “A person who solely receives, holds, or otherwise transports a consumer product in the ordinary course of business but who does not take title to the product.”

Second Party Logistics deal with how the carriers will transport the agreed upon items. This day and age presents many different ways to transport goods from point A to point B. These carriers may turn to trucking companies, rail systems, over the water shipping companies and more to get the job done. They may own, lease or charter these means of transportation. Freight forwarders do much of their work in this level. They arrange for the cargo transportation to different cities.

The First Party Logistic level refers to cargo owners. This represents a provider or firm that needs the merchandise, produce, goods or freight transported from one place to another. They rely on freight forwarders. Originally this whole logistics process just included shippers and carriers. Firms and companies started to outsource work to others who specialized in a specific job and the creation of the other PLs came to pass.

Logistics exists solely because of the need to transport freight. The supply chain has come together in beautiful form to make this process easier on all parties. The emergence of the internet has sparked the creation of new parts and factors to this equation. Freight forwarders remain one of the constants that connect the various links in the supply chain. Manufacturing and retailing has grown to new heights because of the great advancements in logistics. People from around the world are connected due to the 4PLs.

The responsibilities regarding these four PLs cover logistics consulting, providing services, transportation and more. They mark essential places in supply chain integration. They cause freight to travel hundreds of thousands of miles every day. The field of logistics continues to evolve and it benefits from the rapid advancement of technology, making processes more simple.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

Should Freight Shippers Worry About A Capacity Crunch in 2017?

The recession of 2008 did not treat anyone kindly, and that includes the logistics industry. The future at the time looked bleak, but now the industry has got up again and brushed the dust off and moved on. Don’t forget, the shipping industry saw a crunch in business back in the late 90’s. One of the biggest users of logistics is the manufacturing industry. In fact, they set the tone for the rest of the industry. However, manufacturing has rebounded in a big way and the trucking industry is booming again. Even railroad freight is at an all time high. But the trucking industry has some special advantages.

Nothing can beat the point-to-point capability of the trucking business. Not only that, if it is fragile, time sensitive goods, then a truck or a van is indispensable. The good news in all this is that out of all freight being moved, nearly 70% is with the help of trucks. And each year it is increasing. Even intermodal shipping is increasing each year, close to 5% by some estimates. This is good news for truckers also, because the freight needs to reach the customer’s doorsteps, after all.

One of the concerns lately regarding the trucking side of things is a shortage of drivers. But the truth is that ever since trucks were invented there has been a driver “shortage”. People cite the high turnover rate of drivers as an indication of a driver problem. This has more to do with a lot of people trying out the driving trade to see if it works for them. Rather than the core workforce leaving the industry. Today, with better than ever salary, bonus, and benefits, more and more people who otherwise might not have considered this job, are becoming drivers.

In conclusion, the trucking and shipping business has always moved and evolved with the times. The other side of the trucking business, known as the less-than-truckload, has seen an increase recently. Less-than-truckload is a fancy term for smaller trucks or vans. Railroad freight has been going at maximum capacity for some time now. But the trucking side of things has plenty of room to grow. Another side story to all of this is the IT side of things. The fact is, the industry as a whole has not fully taken advantage of information technology to help increase efficiency. Once all of the smaller issues have been ironed out, logistics will see a bright future.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

When to File a freight Loss or Damage Claim

Delays, losses and damages are unavoidable. When such events happen, shippers should file a claim, which will help them to recover the losses. If you are a shipper, you should understand how the claims process works as well as the application of the law, since the shipping industry tends to work differently. There are two main reasons why you should understand these claims. First, unrecovered claims have a huge financial impact on the bottom line of the company. Secondly, this knowledge is important for shippers since they are on their own especially when it comes to claims.

When to File a Freight Damage Claim

When Should You File?

First, you need to understand that a cargo claim mainly depends upon the breach of contract on the part of the carrier. Whether the carrier was negligent or not is a different matter altogether. When it comes to a transportation contract, the shipper and the carrier have two distinct roles.

The main role of the carrier is to move the cargo, from the pickup point to the agreed destination. On the other hand, the shipper should pay the carrier, on arrival of the goods, as agreed. There is a caveat to this contract. The cargo should not be tampered with or damaged, during arrival. This implies that if the cargo is damaged, delayed or even lost along the way, then the carrier has breached the contract.

However, shippers must prove their claim, in order for it to be successful. Moreover, shippers must prove that the goods were in good condition at origin and show proof of damage at destination, as well as the extent of the damage. The three scenarios must come out very clearly, for the claim to succeed. After these three elements have been established, the carrier has to shoulder the burden.

Determining the Rules

The method of transportation used mainly determines the legal principles to be applied. For example, domestic water, rail, domestic air, international air, and international ocean all come with different time and delivery limits for filing claims. This translates to the fact that different deadlines apply to different situations.

For example, goods moving through road will take a much longer time to arrive, than those transported through air. Therefore, when filing for claims, such issues must be considered, in order to make it fair for all parties involved. There is also the issue of timelines, which will be discussed below.

Watch the Timelines

When it comes to air carriage, rules apply differently, depending on the location of the goods. In terms of domestic shipments, the carrier sets time limits as well as limits of liability. Such limits vary, from seven days moving down.  These timelines will determine the amount of liability incurred by the carrier. The longer the delay, the higher the liability.

Bottom Line

Whichever transportation mode you chose, the first step when it comes to recovering a loss or damage, is filing a claim. As a shipper, you should file the claim with the transportation carrier, whom you have entered into a contract with.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

Five questions you must ask a prospective freight broker

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.

Michigan Freight Forwarder

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

Red Flags to Watch Out for with your Carrier

Some carriers post quarterly losses every once in awhile, and much of this can be attributed to the overall state of the economy – however a string of consecutive losses may indicate a larger problem with your carrier. From a business standpoint, you don’t want your carrier’s inefficiency to hamper your investments.

Freight Broker Michigan

Bad rates

Your loyalty to your carrier may cause you to put up with unreasonable pricing structures and let’s face it; the hassle of taking up a new service provider puts you off. Your current provider may use their knowledge of your business and efficient customer service (or other skillset) as a counterbalance for high rates but the implications of this should be interpreted within your own corporate culture. Find out how much you’re comfortable paying your carrier and feel free to shop for market competitive rates if necessary.

Falling service standards

The nature of carrier services is that most of the major companies provide essentially the same services – however, what separates individual brands is the quality and scope of their services. If you notice a decline in quality of service, contact sales support and try to learn more about how that affects your business and when possible, extricate yourself from among poor performers.

Does your carrier lag behind in IT?

This goes without saying but if your carrier does not invest latest technology to support supply (e.g., GPS, Cloud-sync, etc.), they may be slowing down your business. Modern carriers need heavy support from IT in managing transactions and tracking of supply chains from one or multiple locations. If your carrier appears to lack the proper IT framework required to offer competitive service, then you might be forced to hire a third party to operate IT connectivity for your current carrier.

Rapid business expansion

Service requirements may vary as your company grows and it is important that your existing carrier grow with you. If your current carrier is unable to fill the orders coming in, then it might be time to look for a larger, more established service provider. As you plan to expand your business, make sure your partners can keep up with subsequent service demands.

Brand attribution

There’s value in knowing your true brand attributes and how existing business relationships influence each other. When building a brand, the quality and value of your products and/ or services is critical; and working with controversial brands may damage your own reputation in the industry. Is your carrier engaged in a public dispute over their services? It is more logical to replace the carrier than to maintain that alliance and risk social backlash.

Whatever the size of your business, your marketing strategy should facilitate brand attributes of association, awareness, and advocacy. From a purely business standpoint, if your carrier can provide a stable platform for you to operate your business (and take liability for any inconveniences caused by third parties), that would be ideal. But often times you need more collaboration and fewer affirmations.

Watch how your carrier performs under your own perception of successful business practices and find out whether their own model is compatible with yours.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

The Differences Between Less Than Truckload and Full Truckload

You need to know the clear cut differences between less than truckload and full truckload shipping services before you can effectively decide on which one is most suitable for your shipping plans. This article will help you with the information you need to clearly understand each shipping option, and also point out what to consider before settling for one or the other to meet your logistic needs.

Less Than Truckload Shipping

This kind of shipping service, which is often shortened as LTL, is the kind that requires shippers to pay for the trailer space that they use per shipment alone. These shipments are less than a full truckload. They may be made of about one to 10 pallets that weigh as much as 100 to 10,000 pounds. The LTL carriers operate by the use of a network of terminals that’s similar to a hub and spoke formation. The spokes, in that illustration, represent the local terminals while the hubs stand for the major centers of distribution. By the use of their various terminal positions, carriers can help with freights that are headed in a similar direction to cut down the cost of their shipping for shippers who don’t have the capacity to completely fill a whole truck.

Truckload vs LTL

Full Truckload Shipping

Unlike the less than truckload shipping, full truckload shipping, which is also shortened as FTL, is the conveyance of similar goods that completely occupy an entire truck or trailer. Some carriers are able to haul as much as 24 standard pallets that weigh as much as 42,000 pounds. Freight that is transported through FTL would normally convey goods straight from the take off point to the scheduled destination.

The Market Differences Between Them

One of the cardinal factors to consider when trying to decide on which kind of shipping to settle for is the market difference.

The Full Truckload Market Place

The full truckload market is almost incapacitated by the demand of more than 350,000 owner operators who are looking to fill up their trucks or trailers to transport goods around the United States. Carriers aim to keep their trucks full because empty miles result in the loss of revenue. So they use load boards, which is a software designed to aid carriers and shippers in posting their needs to transport freight or the availability of carriers to transport the freight in any given area.

This kind of market is referred to as the full truckload spot market. This is because rates aren’t determined beforehand. Instead, they’re decided on the spot by negotiations. In the spot market, a cardinal factor to consider is something called backhauls. Backhauls is another word, in the spot market, for return trips that are needed for a carrier to return home after a primary haulage. If the backhaul of a carrier is empty, there’s bound to be a loss of revenue and an unavoidable expense on the return trip. So, carriers consider their backhauls before embarking on a primary haulage.

See the following illustration for clarity: Carrier Company X is based in Houston, Texas. In order to be in profit while also avoiding any possible losses of revenue, they stick with shipment requests from within Houston in order to avoid running with empty trucks, which would unavoidably cost but not generate revenue, leading to a loss. For Carrier Company X to accept a shipment request from Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, for instance, there has to be a need for another freight in Oklahoma City to be hauled back to Houston, Texas. That way, Carrier Company X stays in profit.

The Less Than Truckload Market Place

This market is different from the full truckload market because it has fewer carriers to choose from. This is caused by the need for certain assets to manage the operation of an LTL business. The entire United States is served by only 10 national LTL service providers. A few of the LTL carriers are specialized for operations in certain parts of the country, which means they’re not available to others. The pricing of LTL services is also more complicated than that of FTL. With LTL, carriers offer diverse discounts that depend on density, distance, minimum charges, classification, and accessorial charges.

Furthermore, the LTL carriers evaluate the freight of the shippers before coming up with a price. They consider factors such as packaging specifications, product value, and pattern of shipping in order to determine a shipping cost. To find out more on LTL cost, visit http://ltxsolutions.com/less-than-truckload-ltl-shipping-cost/

Their Capacities

LTL and FTL alike offer various kinds of capacity. FTL is likely to be influenced by erratic factors that can result in capacities either in the shippers’ favor or in the favor of the carriers. Think of it like a scale in which the carriers are on one side and the shippers are on the other. Factors like seasonal freighting needs, fuel, tonnage, and driver availability all determine where the scale tilts to in connection with cost. For instance, seasonal freight, like produce, can move the shippers’ freight expense to twice or thrice as much as the normal price, which gives the carriers an edge on the shippers. On the flip side, shippers would pay less if the overall market tonnage went down.

The capacity of LTL isn’t as closely related to the overall economy as FTL. Typically, pricing contracts can last as long as a year, which enables shippers to negotiate on annual basis. This is also in favor of the carriers because it allows them to account for levels of capacity by extrapolations. Both FTL and LTL serve most shippers well. If you fall into the category of shippers who turn out enough products to fill a whole trailer per shipment, then, FTL will serve you best. If, on the other hand, your shipment is sparse, go for LTL to avoid paying more than you should.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics
Michigan Freight Broker