Manufacturers, distributors, and shippers alike know the value of a qualified freight broker. Connecting consumer and industrial goods with shipping services, these specialized and dedicated professionals play a vital role in matching cargo with carriers in mutually beneficial arrangements.

Take a look at an overview of the background and training that freight brokers undergo, and why they are such an integral part of the transportation process.

What does it mean to be a freight broker?

Freight brokers are the middlemen between those with a product to ship and those with the means to ship it. Their primary job is to determine both the needs of specific manufacturers/distributors and the capabilities of specific shippers, and to match companies accordingly. This ensures that all products can be transported safely and efficiently, and that any special needs are understood and accommodated.

Brokers must be licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and becoming so requires in-depth knowledge of the shipping industry and the technologies it utilizes. A typical day in the life of a freight broker may involve placing outbound calls to distributors to identify their upcoming needs, as well as to shippers to identify the types of vehicles and amounts of space available. It’s also the duty of a freight broker to negotiate shipping rates that are acceptable for both parties. In exchange, they are granted commission for successful matchmaking.

Why are specialized freight brokers a modern necessity?

Those new to the world of cargo shipping may question why dedicated professionals are needed to make these arrangements, rather than having distributors and shippers establishing agreements directly with one another.

The simplest answer is that not all freight is equal. Many distributors deal in multiple products, with different requirements for shipping time, temperature control, care of handling (for extremely fragile items), etc., and not all shippers are equally equipped for all needs. Setting up a detailed arrangement for each product – possibly with several different shipping companies – and maintaining working relationships can be expensive and time-intensive for busy executives whose efforts are best focused elsewhere. Likewise, shippers have a constantly shifting array of vehicles and available space, and keeping numerous clients informed of their status is a considerable undertaking.

Freight broker trainings offer both industries an alternative option: having a transportation professional, highly knowledgeable about cargo shipping and fair negotiation, as their sole contact. It’s simply the more economical choice, and many companies will consider this level of service well-worth the small expense that it costs them.