Business

How Brokers and Shippers Can Work Together to Ensure Success

Good relationships are crucial to the success of both freight brokers and shippers. They are the key to running a successful business in logistics. Just like with any other industry, getting along with your partners is highly important in logistics and freight shipping.

Brokers are putting a lot of effort into meeting the specific needs of clients in these difficult times thanks to their exclusive access to market data and insights. Long-term business relationships with experienced shippers are the source of a lot of this knowledge. Brokers should take into account some crucial factors in order to build meaningful and long-lasting relationships with their partners.

Empathy and transparency

Source: firststarlogistics.com

Brokers need to be highly aware of the frequent errors and mistakes shippers sometimes can let happen. A high level of understanding fosters empathy, enables a broker to close a few knowledge gaps, and promotes a more seamless process that everyone can view as a success. Even if the questions seem routine, a broker should still ask them, especially if they’re of a special matter. It doesn’t mean that as a broker, you should be the over-controlling partner. Instead, view this partnership as a both learning and teaching opportunity that will definitely benefit both sides of the deal.

Trust is essential for developing long-lasting business relationships. Brokers can add value in many ways while proving their commitment to a real partnership. This can be advantageous to all parties, being open and honest about pricing and market trends. All in all, you are partners and not rivals ‒ both brokers and shippers are invested in a smooth partnership with growth opportunities. Only by having trust in each other, you can expect a fruitful collaboration and business growth.

By being flexible with loading dates, setting up standing appointments, dropping trailers, and other cooperation ways, brokers can explain pricing and offer suggestions for cost reduction. They could be the first to lower rates once they notice the market beginning to decline because they are the first to notice the tendency. Both parties gain a lot from brokers assisting a shipper in understanding their effort and investment into the business.

Offer a wider range of services

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The main value of cooperation like this is knowledge. A good broker shares market insights and keeps the shipper informed about tendencies and new shipping strategies. This is highly beneficial for both parties. As a broker, you can offer more services, including market audit and strategy building. Moreover, you can share useful contacts and leads that will benefit both of you ‒ trustworthy dispatch companies and good retailers.

Some might ask, why shippers can’t do it all themselves. Well, the answer is quite simple: most shippers are focused on a certain industry, niche, or even product line. That’s why we have various stakeholders that are involved – agencies (for example SeaHarbor ship agency in the Curacao port), brokers, government, public, etc. If logistics in this supply chain get disrupted, the shipper will be out of service, looking for new opportunities. This is where you can help as a broker by sharing some insight and general knowledge on other product lines. All in all, a lot of shippers are anyway mostly focused on their industry and might not have a clue their products might be in use for other businesses. Finding new potentially promising shipping destinations for your shipper is beneficial for both parties.

Position yourself as a crucial partner by alerting clients to potential disruptions and being proactive in providing advice on how clients can protect themselves from these supply chain problems. You can deliver this advice either via monthly analytic reports or even in a more convenient way ‒ even as informal advice. As we’ve said earlier, trust, empathy, and transparency are the keys to a productive partnership ‒ not only in logistics but in any other industry as well.

You can even build a network of partners that expands and innovates regardless of market conditions. Do that by proving that you as a broker are a dependable addition to the efficient team and a reliable partner for keeping the supply chain stable.

It can also be difficult for shippers to figure out the right capacity during turbulent times. But those that have established deep relationships in the industry aren’t struggling as much, because mutual trust has been built up through making sacrifices and working in each other’s best interest.

Choosing a carrier

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It’s challenging and perhaps unjust to speak generally about how freight brokers, as a whole, handle finding the best solution for your shipment. This matter and ways of handling it can be very different from broker to broker. Most freight brokers have their own expectations of carriers and their own ways to find one. If you as a broker don’t know where to start or what to look for, you can use some help from fleet-assisting companies that help businesses build a productive supply chain.

Fleet assisting companies like Fleet Care successfully connect brokers with carriers. They consider a few factors to determine whether the carrier suits a particular broker:

  1. The amount of insurance a carrier holds. Insurance requirements are stated by the FMCS (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration). According to FMCSA, a carrier has to hold at least $1 million in their insurance. It goes without saying that brokers prefer to work with authorized and reliable companies, although some fleet-assisting companies might require smaller insurance amounts.
  2. CSA rating score. CSA stands for Compliance, Safety, and Accountability ‒ these criteria are evaluated whilst creating a score for a certain carrier. This is a good indicator of safe and responsible carriers, and FMCSA acknowledges four ratings. These ratings are “Satisfactory” when a carrier meets or succeeds in the requirements, “Unsatisfactory” for carriers with major deficiencies found, and “Conditional” ‒ when most of the guidelines are met. Also, there is a “None” category ‒ for carriers that hadn’t been audited yet.

Most shippers, obviously, prefer to work with carriers that have “Satisfactory” or at least “Conditional”. The reason is simple ‒ carriers like that work in alliance and synergy with the fleet dispatch and make sure that the supply chain is not broken.

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