We could spend days answering this question. Many of our meetings are spent doing just…
One of the services we provide is our freight brokerage service. Many of our clients ask us what the difference is between freight brokerage and third-party logistics (3PL.) The truth is, both systems are meant to get your products from A to B. However, both services have a unique use case that makes them stand apart from one another.
What is a Freight Broker?
The key word is “broker.” Anytime you act as a broker, you are essentially a negotiator. In the case of freight brokerage, we are the negotiators and arrangers of your freight needs. Any freight brokerage service worth its salt will be a complete intermediary between the carriers and the shippers; that means handling everything from scheduling to delivery.
What Are the Benefits of a Freight Broker?
Freight brokers will handle everything for you. Think of the times you’ll save when a brokerage service handles all the calls, emails, and invoices associated with your shipping. Freight brokerage services will also collect important metrics on your shipping as well as client data, leaving you more informed than if you did all of this yourself. Lastly, freight brokers have relationships with many carriers, so that means you get the best possible price and the smallest possible lead time.
What Makes a Third-Party Logistics Company (3PL) Different than a Freight Broker?
The key difference between a 3PL and a freight broker is time. 3PLs are long-term solutions to your shipping and transportation challenges. A quality 3PL will learn from you, grow alongside you, and even anticipate your needs. Think of a 3PL as a family doctor; they know your full history and have plenty of context when challenges or opportunities arise.
A freight broker is best used as a solution to sudden demands for unusually timed shipments. They are a piecemeal, as-needed approach to shipping and transportation. In many cases, freight brokerage is a “value-added” service of a 3PL; it’s there for situations where you need more resources than you currently have.
With that said, a 3PL that offers a freight brokerage service will often get you the best rates no matter what service you use. Think of it as bundling your insurance under a single company. Once you’re part of the family, you reap the rewards of the services that that family offers.
Do You Need a Freight Broker?
Are you a company that makes a lot of last-minute shipments? Maybe you’re a growing business and simply need to “shop around” when it comes to the care, transportation, and delivery of your products. Either way, a freight brokerage service, especially if it’s paired with a 3PL, could be the best way to save yourself both time and money.
Are you interested in our freight brokerage service? We are a 3PL located in Western Massachusetts. Reach out to us today to discuss our logistics, transportation, and warehousing solutions.