CRANBERRY TWP., PA (Aug. 11, 2020) — PLS Logistics Services, a leading third-party logistics provider, has ranked in the top 50 on Transport Topics Top Freight Brokerage Firms for 2020.
Transport Topic’s annual list ranks freight brokerage firms based on net revenue for the most recent 12-month period. The list includes a breakdown of the top freight brokerage firms, air and ocean freight forwarders, dry storage and refrigerated warehouse operators, and dedicated contract carriage service providers in North America.
“It has been a challenging year, and we are very thankful to be an essential business and have the ability to grow and help clients move freight in any way we can during this time,” Greg Burns, CEO of PLS Logistics, said. “Our relationship with carriers and shippers, and their confidence in PLS has been a fundamental reason for our growth, and we are elated to be featured by Transport Topics and continue serving our customers with the best technology and quality supply chain solutions.”
This marks the 12th consecutive year that PLS has been ranked on the Top Freight Brokerage Firm list. For a complete list of the top freight brokerage firms, click here.
About Transport Topics
Transport Topics is the news leader in freight transportation and has been for the last 80 years. When it comes to major issues, industry events, and new departments, Transport Topics journalists are there first and most often. Read daily at: www.ttnews.com.
About PLS Logistics Services
PLS Logistics Services is a leading provider of logistics management, brokerage and technology services for shippers across all industries. PLS handles millions of loads annually across all major freight modes: flatbed, van, LTL, rail and barge, air and ocean. The PLS carrier network consists of over 45,000 pre-qualified trucking companies along with Class-1 railroads and major barge companies. To learn more visit www.plslogstics.com.
Many shippers underestimate the value a freight broker can bring to their transportation strategy. These professionals can significantly increase the performance of your freight shipments and save you costs. While there are many benefits of using a good freight broker, you somehow have to assess their effectiveness for your company. To get the best out of the freight broker, you have to make sure you are receiving high-quality services from a legitimate specialist.
How to measure your freight broker’s effectiveness?
Carrier network and expertise
First, your freight broker must be able to provide quality services to you and have the buying power to fulfill your business needs. It is crucial to first check your broker’s credentials and assess their experience and expertise in the industry. Do they work for the company or individually? What businesses do they serve? How many years have they been on the market? All these questions should be considered to help understand the level of freight broker’s competence.
A whole idea of a freight broker is that this person has to be your one point of contact for all your transportation needs. Clear and timely communication is the cornerstone of successful cooperation between you and your freight broker. If you are constantly left with a bunch of unanswered questions, don’t have enough visibility and updates, and communication in general, is poor, you may consider changing your broker.
Insurance and claims
The ability to handle problems and deal with difficult situations is a primary marker of a good freight broker. Sometimes, freight gets damaged or lost, and those situations can’t be avoided. But the process of handling claims and painlessly resolving the issue should be the standard for a good freight broker. Apart from service, you should also be provided with an option to purchase additional freight insurance.
Generally, there are many other factors that make a professional freight broker. These professionals have to be able to quickly resolve your arising issues, timely respond and give updates, deal with unpredictable situations, and generally simplify your transportation process as much as possible. Keep in mind that the lowest price isn’t always the best deal. Before making a final decision, and find a perfect freight broker to work with, you might want to take all the above factors into account.
In the logistics and transportation industry, many terms are confused, especially if you don’t have years of industry experience. One example of terms that might be confused is ‘3PL (third-party logistics provider)’ and ‘freight broker.’ Many shippers consider these the same things, however, there is a significant difference between a 3PL and a freight broker.
What is a freight broker?
A freight broker is a middle man between the shippers (or the companies who need to ship freight) and transportation carriers or drivers. Both shippers and carriers have their own requirements and schedules, and a freight broker acts as a person who matches them together and arranges freight shipments.
Usually, freight brokers are non-asset based. This means they don’t own any physical equipment. This allows brokers have the flexibility to find whatever equipment you need to ship your freight with. They work with numerous freight carriers and partners so that you don’t have to search for reliable carriers on your own. Freight brokers handle most of the communication and paperwork for you.
What is a 3PL?
A 3PL, or third-party logistics provider, is a company that provides a wide range of outsourced logistics and transportation services to businesses. The extensive service coverage of a 3PL includes everything from shipment tracking and dispatch to long-term supply chain management. 3PL’s work with thousands of freight carriers, suppliers, vendors, brokers, companies, and partners, so they have the buying power and a large network of industry connections. This lets them perform complex operations and manage the entire logistics branch of huge companies.
3PL vs Freight Broker: What is the difference?
Both a 3PL and a freight broker act as a connection between the shipper and the carrier. However, they have different roles. A 3PL provides a much more extensive variety of services that just managing a particular shipment. Third-party logistics providers focus on building trusted, long-term relationships rather than simply executing one or two operations. A 3PL can help manage any volume of freight shipments, your supply chain, and any other logistics function.
3PL vs Freight Broker: Which option to choose?
If you need to send a few shipments occasionally, a freight broker can be a cost-effective and helpful solution. For companies with complex supply chains, a 3PL will be a better fit in terms of partnership, equipment, freight rates, and services.
CRANBERRY TWP., PA (May 31, 2019) — PLS Logistics Services, a leading third-party logistics provider, has ranked in the top 50 on Transport Topics Top Freight Brokerage Firms for 2019.
The annual list ranks freight brokerage firms based on net revenue for the most recent 12-month period. The list also features breakdowns of the top freight brokerage firms, air and ocean freight forwarders, dry storage and refrigerated warehouse operators, and dedicated contract carriage service providers in North America.
This marks the 11th consecutive year that PLS has been ranked in the Top Freight Brokerage Firm list.
“It’s an honor to be continuously recognized as a leading firm, and we are thankful for each nomination” Greg Burns, CEO of PLS Logistics, said. “We have built a strong partnership with carriers and shippers, and their confidence in PLS has been a fundamental reason for our market growth. As PLS continues to advance in technology and ongoing innovations, we are proud to keep serving our customers to the best of our ability.”
For a complete list of the top freight brokerage firms, click here.
About Transport Topics
Transport Topics is the news leader in freight transportation and has been for the last 80 years. When it comes to major issues, industry events, and new departments, Transport Topics journalists are there first and most often. Read daily at www.ttnews.com.
About PLS Logistics Services
PLS Logistics Services is a leading provider of logistics management, brokerage, and technology services for shippers across all industries. PLS handles millions of loads annually across all major freight modes: flatbed, van, LTL, rail and barge, air and ocean. The PLS carrier network consists of over 45,000 pre-qualified trucking companies along with Class-1 railroads and major barge companies. To learn more visit www.plslogstics.com.
Historically, the connotation of freight management was changed and reshaped many times. In general, it refers to all the processes that cover preparing, shipping, storing and receiving freight.
What is freight management?
Freight management is the service provided by freight forwarders or third-party logistics companies. It suggests matching loads to freight carriers, route planning, and the optimization of the transportation process.
Why do you need freight management?
Whether you are a large enterprise or a small business, cargo management can be complex. Even if you know the exact obstacles in your way, it may be challenging to put the overall picture together. Additionally, freight shipping involves numerous processes. To manage all of them efficiently, you need to pay attention to details and focus on everything simultaneously.
Attempting to handle all of this on your own won’t end well for your business productivity. More companies now realize the complexity and importance of logistics and transportation management and outsource it to external parties. Apart from peace of mind, delegating such a large branch of business can result in substantial cost savings and a much better operational efficiency.
How does freight management work?
If you consider outsourcing freight management, you would probably wonder: how does this process work? First, you need to understand freight forwarding and freight brokerage.
These are specific departments in the logistics company that are responsible for finding a carrier that can and wants to move your load. This is one of the key parts of the load management process because brokers can find the appropriate vehicles for your specific needs. They also negotiate freight rates for you, and these rates are lower than you would find on your own.
Third-party companies have a significant advantage over in-house logistics departments, due to their relationships with carriers. Combined with industry expertise, third parties can provide efficient management and drive cost savings.
What does good freight management include?
Apart from freight forwarding, cargo management actually includes many different aspects. If you are looking for a freight management company, here are the main things it should provide to you:
One of the main reasons why businesses start working with third-party logistics providers (3PLs) is for freight brokerage services.
What is a freight broker?
A freight broker is a person who contacts carriers and handles the load moving process. Ultimately, a good freight broker is one point of contact for all of your transportation needs. These professionals provide you with high-level customer service, letting you access their carrier network, and negotiate freight rates for you.
Why should you use a freight broker?
Many shippers underestimate the role of freight brokers or have a skeptical attitude towards them. This misunderstanding is a result of not knowing how exactly brokerage services function, and how to work with them. Working with freight brokers can significantly reduce the time you spend on load arrangements and carrier search. You can eliminate transportation costs because of the reduced rates and more sufficient logistics processes. To fully understand the potential of freight brokerage services for your company, it is better to learn how freight brokers work and what piece of responsibility they handle.
What does a freight broker do?
This is the primary stage of the transportation process. A freight broker either calls or gets a call from a company with a request to schedule a load. At this point, you have to provide the 3PL with all the necessary information. Apart from address and contact information, the broker will ask you to mention handling conditions, commodity type, and other important data.
Once you’ve stated accurate information, freight brokers put it into their transportation management system (TMS). Working through a TMS lets them find reputable and experienced carriers who can move your shipment. Essentially, you can be sure that all the carriers are licensed, and have appropriate equipment. Once your load is booked, the broker schedules pick-up and delivery.
Loading is a crucial step in transportation. Brokers stay in touch with the carrier from the very start and make sure the driver is loaded with the right freight. At this point, the carrier signs a Bill of Lading, which means the driver is now liable for your freight.
During the entire transit, a 3PL stays in touch with you and your carrier. A good logistics provider has advanced tracking systems that give you complete visibility into your shipment’s location and the truck condition.
After unloading, the carrier notes the delivery time and the consignee signs the bill of lading. Normally, once the delivery is documented, the broker waits for the paperwork to invoice the shipper.
Finally, the broker gets all the documents and prepares everything for the payment.
Ultimately, freight brokers can help take a lot of burden and responsibilities off your shoulders. They handle the entire transportation process from A to Z, including payments. With a reliable 3PL, you are assured that all the information is correct and that transportation runs smoothly.
The key to a positive experience with freight brokers is being direct about your needs, and providing the correct information about your freight. The more details you tell your broker, the higher the chance is to find a suitable carrier and successfully move your shipment.
PLS Freight Brokerage
PLS Logistics is one of the US leading freight brokerage and logistics providers. Learn more about our Freight Brokerage Services!
Shippers use freight brokers for managing their transportation needs. A good freight broker offers access to an extensive carrier network and provides quality service you can rely on. Having a go-to freight broker is an easy way to boost up the capacity for your loads without the daunting task of qualifying and managing lots and lots of carrier partners – this is especially beneficial in times of the current load-to-truck ratio.
How difficult is it to find one? It’s easy to choose a freight broker, but will they handle your shipping with the care and integrity you deserve? Giving your business to the wrong freight broker will without a doubt affect your business.
What does a freight broker do?
Has expertise and license
Make sure the broker has a license, an active property broker authority, and appropriate insurance coverage. Check for how long they have been in business – it’s hard to underestimate stability, experience, and expertise. Be careful and avoid carriers without the broker authority who broker the loads out to outside carriers.
Executes carrier vetting procedures
Will you give you freight to any carrier? This will probably not end well and your freight will get damaged or even stolen. You should expect your broker to have certain carrier qualification processes in place. Ask your potential broker about the minimum qualifications and the verification process. At the very least, they should be checking carrier authority, insurance, and safety ratings, but taking into consideration additional factors will be a plus.
Offers a wide range of services
Will they give you access to various modes of transportation? Or be able to provide good service and competitive pricing for both, full truckload and LTL? Also, will they be able to suggest a warehouse or help with transloading? Do they do any international shipping? What about expedited overnight options? Even if you use regular flatbeds for 99% of your shipping needs – you never know! Maybe a knowledgeable freight broker will be able to find an amazing intermodal option for you which will fit all your needs and save money.
All of the above has been already discussed and you feel you are almost ready to make a decision. Now it’s time for the finishing touch – how will it actually work day-to-day? What will your daily communication look like if you strike a deal? Will the rates be discussed in advance, or will it be spot quotes only? How do they go about tracking the loads and providing updates? All these things matter and define whether you are satisfied with the services or not so much. Openly having this discussion will give you an opportunity to outline your expectations and find out how your broker is doing business.
How to choose a freight broker?
Finding the right Freight Broker is like winning a lottery. Well, slightly more common, but feels just as great! Your Freight Broker values your business, takes pride in their high-class customer service and reliability while also having the means to handle your shipping needs and make your supply chain management much easier.
Freight brokers are commonly talked about on the internet in a negative light. In reality, a freight broker can be a tremendous asset to an organization to secure carriers quickly and cost-effectively. In this, we’re going to explore the ins and outs of freight brokers – giving you the cold, hard truth.
What Do Freight Brokers Actually Do?
How does a carrier handle an urgent pickup or a problem covering lanes? What does a shipper do if they have no one to pick up their load? What does a carrier do if there are no trucks available and a customer has a last-minute request?
Answer: Call a freight broker!
Freight brokers are great business partners in predicaments, however, they are especially useful as a primary transportation solution.
Freight brokers are essentially personal freight managers for organizations, working hard to find you the best carrier at the best price to move your freight. This allows you to focus on other critical aspects of your business, optimizing productivity and providing you with a competitive advantage.
A freight broker can help improve client service and minimize the cost it takes to serve those clients. With the continual driver shortage, a relationship with a freight broker is a handy tool to keep in your back pocket.
Why Use A Freight Broker?
Supply chains are changing. The freight industry is changing. Most companies have limited resources and limited time. Their valuable time and money shouldn’t be spent on forming relationships with trucking companies, checking loads, and dealing with claims – that’s where freight brokers come in.
A freight broker is your one-stop-shop for all your transportation expertise. These professionals know how to secure loads with pre-qualified carriers through their company. This industry knowledge and pre-existing relationship allow them to lock in lower rates than you would get as a one-off shipper.
Do freight brokers help with resource productivity?
Freight brokers help carriers optimize their resource productivity. In other words, by doing things like scheduling back-hauls and more effective routes, each truck is doing more work for less money. This improves your bottom line. What’s more, freight brokers may be the future of trucking. Shift Freight, an LTL carrier based in California, has developed a business model that relies solely on freight brokers.
Contrary to popular belief, freight brokers are here to help you! Their main role is to make sure the customer (you) has everything they need to get their shipment from point A to point B hassle-free! They optimize the freight business by saving time, money, and resources.
A substantial amount of over-the-road freight transportation is handled by freight brokers. A freight broker is a person or company that brings together a shipper (with freight to move) and a qualified carrier (who has the capacity to move the freight).
Nothing New! Freight brokers have been around the transportation industry since the 1900s. But before the ’70s, regulations governing brokers were so restrictive that few firms employed the intermediary.
The Bond. All freight brokers are required to have a $75,000 surety bond or trust fund. If a freight broker does not live up to the contract with a shipper or carrier, the bond assures that the broker has the cash or assets to cover the amount.
Reliable Capacity with Qualified Carriers. A freight broker assists you, the shipper, in finding a dependable motor carrier that you might have otherwise overlooked.
The Truth about Rates. Shippers pay a fee to use a freight broker’s services, but the end price is almost always lower than if you had arranged the transportation yourself. Brokers can find the best price because of their access to a broad carrier network.
Communication is Key. What are your needs? Be direct with the broker about when freight can be loaded, your price range and how to notify you with any disruption.
Not A Forwarder. A freight forwarder takes possession of goods and consolidates smaller shipments into a larger shipment, then arranges for transportation.
Becoming a Regular. As a shipper, you can utilize a freight broker for regular lanes or specialized freight. A broker can find private carriers covering the lane to make your delivery faster and safer. A broker can obtain specific equipment needed to ship your freight.
Non-Asset Brokers Advantage. Non-asset brokers have immediate access to many carriers and trucks. Non-asset brokers are more cost-effective since their focus is to find you the best rate and judgment isn’t clouded by specific ownership of the truck.
Freight rates and carrier discounts are not the only factors that shape freight costs – there are more components shippers should consider. Factors like market conditions, fuel prices, transportation management, and budget planning all affect the amount you ultimately spend on freight. Many companies are looking for ways to eliminate unnecessary freight spend and save costs on logistics in a proper way.
Reducing freight costs starts with understanding how cargo is moved through a particular supply chain. By getting all parts working efficiently, shippers can mitigate and manage freight costs.
How to reduce freight cost?
Get a Carrier Discount
It is always worth asking about additional discounts from the carrier when processing a freight shipment. Large businesses and frequent freight shippers get discounted prices more easily while finding competitive rates is more challenging for small shippers. When negotiating and comparing discounts from carriers, consider base rates. A small discount from a lower-rate carrier could be more beneficial than a big discount from the higher-rate carrier.
It’s All about Mode
Choosing the appropriate shipping mode can be tricky; each has its own pricing, fees, and liability protection. First, shippers should consider freight classifications: weight, package density, shipment destination, and specific transportation services. Sometimes, it’s more effective to break down a truckload shipment into an LTL shipment. The secret here is to think long-term and to get the best transport available.
Consolidating shipments gives smaller-order shippers the chance to minimize costs with reduced time and handling. Shippers should consider combining their freight with other shipments when possible or trying to send fewer, larger shipments in the first place. Fewer shipments also mean less fuel burned, which is great for the environment, and many shipping and trucking companies are seeing the benefits of going ‘green’. Consolidation can be logistically confusing, but shipment consolidation is not a new idea – it has been practiced for 50 years already and is proved to be a tried-and-true method.
No One Likes Additional Charges
The most common accessorial fees are residential adjustments, weight adjustments, and additional handling accessorials. When a shipper understands how and why these fees apply, it’s more likely to mitigate these costs. A fuel surcharge calculation could also be discouraging, as it varies greatly, but good news: a fuel surcharge is negotiable – so there is a chance the carrier will provide a discount.
What’s the Address, Again?
In the age of address-verification software and ERP, shipping to the wrong address is a common mistake that is paid off with man-hours and additional costs. One of the reasons for this is offensively simple – shippers forget to correct wrong addresses after it has been reported to them. A solution to manual data entry is to automate the process with transportation technology integrated with ERP systems.
The largest parcel carriers and LTL companies are turning to dimensional weight pricing systems. For shippers, proper packaging has never been as important as it is now. If your package is outside stated parameters of weight, height, and width, it will increase in rate by double-digit percentages. If you cannot shrink the standard packaging, the best options are to add more weight to each parcel or create a new, efficient package.
Make an Outstanding RFP
Take a second and imagine how carriers will react to your shipper profile and RFP. Is there enough information about your requirements? Is all data relevant? Spend time to help carriers understand what kind of freight you want to ship and what the details of hauling are. A consistent, outstanding RFP will help create a cost-effective and efficient supply chain.
Reduce your freight cost with PLS
Third-party logistics companies offer knowledge in explaining freight costs and reducing additional costs. They can also provide a full analysis of the company’s shipping history and current expenses to help lessen future charges. With a lack of proper knowledge, tools or expert help on transportation management software, a shipper could leave money on the table. Don’t hesitate to ask for qualified help that will reduce freight cost – contact the experts at PLS Logistics today.