Just about every product made these days is at some point being transported on a truck. But shippers and manufacturers have a lot of options when it comes to determining who is going to be responsible for moving all that stuff around.
They can choose to do all transportation themselves – purchasing trucks, hiring drivers, and managing logistics internally.
They can choose to contract out to an asset-based company – a separate company that owns their own trucks to handle the logistics externally.
Or they can choose to contract out to a third-party logistics company, or broker – someone who doesn’t own any of their own equipment but will take on the responsibility of moving the product by contracting with trucking companies.
What’s the benefit of using the last option? Hiring a middleman to coordinate shipments could get complicated with them not having direct control over the trucks, right?
The third-party logistics industry is actually a $185.7 billion industry that is continuing to grow. As a 3PL ourselves, we actually have a lot more flexibility when it comes to handling logistics externally for shippers and manufacturers. We aren’t limited to a certain number of trucks – we can contract loads out to any available carrier that fits our criteria. We ultimately have complete control over which companies we choose to do business with, and we won’t work with carriers who have a history of being unsafe.
Not only are we not limited to a certain number of trucks, we’re also not limited to a certain mode of transportation. Sometimes it might be more efficient to transport product by multiple modes of transportation, and we have the ability to form relationships with many types of transportation companies.
If a customer needs one shipment expedited, a different one shipped via normal truckload, and yet another one shipped less-than-truckload, that’s not a problem because we can contract each of those loads out to different carriers.
Having access to so many different transportation options also allows 3PLs to become experts in figuring out which transportation solution is going to be the best for that particular shipment based on transit times, shipment size, location, and budget.
You hear about middlemen being cut out in certain industries, but 3PLs are such a big part of the industry that they are here to stay. Just like you could theoretically choose to buy a house without a real estate agent, a shipper could arrange their transportation by themselves. But brokers in any industry add value by having in-depth knowledge – saving you the time from figuring it all out yourself.
As a broker, we love operating within such a large and dynamic industry. Logistics is fast-paced, and we pride ourselves on keeping up on the latest trends to provide our customers with solutions tailored specifically to their freight.
By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding