Freight Broker or 3PL: Which is Best For Your Business?

Not sure about the difference between a freight broker and a 3PL (third-party logistics) provider? You’re not alone—and the transportation industry doesn’t make it any easier by using the two terms interchangeably. Plus, there are a lot of similarities between the two. Both freight brokers and 3PLs act as intermediaries between shippers and carriers, arranging deals between the manufacturers who need shipping and the carriers who will transport the goods. They make sure both parties communicate efficiently, and that they both get their needs met. Both freight broker and 3PLs are valuable logistics partners who can:

Offer expertise.

These professionals stay up-to-date about new rules and regulations, the latest technology, and current best practices. They can also identify the most efficient routes, advise you on the best (and most cost-effective) mode of transport for your goods, and suggest freight companies that suit your particular needs.

Provide additional resources.

Freight brokers and 3PLs necessarily have large networks of trusted transportation providers. Some of them (like us at Next Exit Logistics) work with carriers who specialize in unusual or difficult-to-haul freight. Having these networks at your disposal provides more than one benefit: You’ll get the right carrier for your needs, and your freight brokers or 3PLs can pass on any volume discounts they receive.

Deliver access to the newest technology

. Since freight brokers and 3PLs specialize in efficient shipping transportation, they also invest in the latest software and technology—which means you don’t have to.

Assist with documentation.

The paperwork involved in transportation can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to import and export. Freight brokers and 3PLs understand what’s needed and can make sure that all necessary forms and documents are completed. They can also manage carrier contracts and handle insurance issues.

Ensure compliance.

3PL providers and freight brokers must be up-to-date with the latest compliance regulations. They also ensure that any company they work with is compliant. You won’t have to worry about drivers who don’t meet DOT safety regulations or drive without cargo insurance.

Offer scalability and flexibility.

Transportation needs change, whether due to the economy, your personal business environment, or even the seasons. When using freight brokers or 3PLs, you can scale your shipping needs accordingly.

Reduce costs.

As mentioned, freight brokers and 3PLs can help save your company money by offering scalability and flexibility, and by leveraging their increased buying power. Their expertise also helps to cut costs—they know the most economical way to ship goods from one place to another. That’s their business.

Improve customer service.

These professionals make sure that shipping is efficient, dependable, and on time. Not only will this please your customers, but you’ll have more time to focus on their needs.

What’s the Difference Between the Two?

Though both freight brokers and 3PLs work as intermediaries between shippers and carriers, brokers don’t take possession of the goods at any point. They typically focus on individual shipments, finding the best method of transportation for your products, and using their relationships with carriers to get the best deals. Since freight brokers typically do not own equipment or warehouses, they can be especially flexible in finding the specific best fit for your shipping needs.

3PL providers often own vehicles and storage facilities in order to fulfill their mission of being all-in-one logistics providers. They provide not just freight brokerage, but a range of supply chain services including assembly, packaging, warehousing, and distribution. 3PLs generally look at your company’s long-range transportation goals rather than focusing on a particular shipment.

You can Feel Secure with Us

At Next Exit Logistics, we earn the trust of our clients with efficiency, transparency, and security. In addition, we understand how to handle freight services for unusual, oversize, or overweight shipments and are certified to arrange the shipment of hazardous materials. To learn more about our services, call Next Exit Logistics at 866-624-2661 or contact us via e-mail.

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