The freight management world is busy and complicated. The LTL market alone is worth an estimated $35 billion, and in 2013 trucks were transporting about 15 billion tons. That amount is expected to grow to nearly 19 billion by 2040. The terminology and logistics can be confusing though and understand the types of load boards, what a transportation broker does, and what broker systems are can take some time and experience. If you need things shipped, here’s a quick guide to the basics that will help you figure out what to do next.
What is a Load Board?
It’s basically a software system that allows carriers to communicate with those who need shipments moved. It’s also sometimes referred to as broker software or freight broker software. So, for example, a shipper might have a contract with a freight company but occasionally find themselves with an exception load that isn’t covered. The shipper advertises on one of the types of load boars. A carrier looking to pick up some extra loads can answer. Similarly, if a truck has emptied and doesn’t have a load to go home with, it can advertise space and hope that a shipper might fill up the truck.
What Types of Load Boards are There?
There are a number of popular ones, but the best types of load boards will have messaging boards, the ability to leave reviews, provide mobile access, send alerts when freight or a carrier match one another’s needs, and provide real time rates so everyone knows what’s a fair price for the shipment in question. The best load boards also have security protocols in place that make the marketplace safe and transparent.
Why Would Shippers and Carriers Use a Load Board?
The trucking shipment market is currently in flux. During a recent period of economic downturn, a lot of carriers downsized. When the market turned, there weren’t enough trucks with regular carriers, and this encouraged smaller carriers and trucking companies to jump into the market. Sorting all this out is a lot easier using one of the types of load boards currently available. Additionally, retail market changes spurred by internet purchasing have led to a need to ship smaller loads. Logistics software of this type allows a truck to easily coordinate several smaller shipments going to the same place.
This is just the basics about shipping, trucking carriers and how integrated load boards can coordinate them. There are a lot of options available for those who want to dig deeper, and transportation management software that will make shipping and transport faster, cheaper, and safer.