Freight Brokers Help Shippers Add Strategic Value to Supply Chains

Learn how end-to-end global transportation solutions can provide seamless options and resources to secure shipping capacity

Tractor trailer hauling freight down highway

Freight brokerages like those operated by Penske Logistics can serve as strategic partners for shippers and carriers, matching available trucking capacity with freight. Shippers commonly utilize a mix of transportation options to fill capacity gaps and will work with brokers to aggregate capacity and access a larger pool of carriers. Penske Logistics brokerage solutions provide another option for shippers to secure capacity and move goods.

“Due to the breadth and depth of brokers, their collective networks are larger than asset-based providers,” said Brian Kenney, vice president of brokerage for Penske Logistics.

Securing Trucking Capacity

The majority of trucking companies in the United States operate six trucks or fewer. Smaller carriers provide critical capacity within the trucking industry, and brokers are vital in connecting shippers with a broad base of carriers. Plus, the number of smaller carriers is growing as some professional truck drivers transition to the owner-operator market to take advantage of increased freight rates.

“If you look at the motor carrier numbers added in the last couple of years, there have been a lot of smaller operators,” Kenney said, adding that Penske Logistics’ brokerage aggregates capacity on 15,000 providers and adds new carriers daily. “Without owner-operators and small fleets, we’d be in trouble. Millions of loads move on these small fleets. Every shipper of every size and scale is using this group to move freight.”

Tapping into all available carriers is especially important when capacity is tight, or shippers need to flex due to planned or unplanned surges. Capacity is tight nationwide, but some regions, particularly near ports and both coasts, are facing even higher demand.

Shippers can secure either truckload or less-than-truckload loads through brokerage. For less-than-truckload shipments, Penske ensures LTL carriers receive the correct information to avoid reweighing or reclassifying the freight, which can create additional charges for shippers. “We also look for a more efficient way to move freight, such as consolidating multiple LTL shipments into one, consolidating and cross-docking freight or optimizing the network as a whole,” Kenney said.

Brokers have always been on the leading edge in terms of data and analytics of their customers, and data analytics remains a large part of Penske’s work. “We are looking for efficiencies and cutting waste out of the network wherever possible,” Kenney said.

Creating New Supply Chain Pathways

Given ongoing supply chain challenges, some companies are adding a second source of raw material suppliers to ensure a consistent supply. This has created new demands and supply chains. “Companies that used to source locally are now sourcing from new areas, some globally. That can create mode shifts or drive more demand for truckload,” Kenney said. “If you want to ship by air, ocean, rail or truck, we can provide a solution.”

Penske Logistics offers intra-Mexico, intra-Canada and cross-border solutions. “We can provide expedited capabilities to meet global and cross-border needs,” Kenney said.

Increasing Freight Agility and Resiliency

The real value brokerage provides is flexibility. “We can provide spot capabilities and capacity during your peaks and valleys,” Kenney said. “On the days when you have only 15 loads, you don’t need to pay for 25. If you need less capacity, it is not an issue. If you need more capacity, we can get that.”

There is no minimum amount of freight shippers must have to work with Penske’s brokerage department. “Because of our deep carrier base, we can work with customers that have 100 loads a day or that customer that just needs one load per month,” Kenney said.

Penske also handles drop trailers and power-only requests. “There are a lot of things we can do to mimic the assets they get from an asset-based provider,” Kenney said, adding that Penske will help find solutions for shippers on their most challenging lanes. “I will always tell shippers we will do everything we can to find a solution. Brokers are a little more willing to take loads than asset-based providers and have a little more flexibility to go outside their comfort zones.”

Additionally, Penske’s brokerage rates are transparent. “The rate we give them is actually the rate,” Kenney said, adding that the goal is to provide seamless capacity for shippers. “We have a sales team focused on creating opportunities for our brokerage team.”

Protecting Freight

Time, cargo and capacity are valuable, and Penske utilizes a thorough vetting process for shippers and carriers to ensure both are quality partners. “The first thing we do is qualify the customer and make sure they have freight we can move and that they’re creditworthy,” Kenney said. “Our carrier onboarding and carrier compliance is in line with the best of breed for top brokers. Carriers are all contracted and have insurance and active operating authority.”

Penske Logistics provides end-to-end global transportation solutions and can provide seamless options and resources to secure shipping capacity. To learn more about Penske’s brokerage offerings, contact 844-854-8442.

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