As a freight broker, you will no doubt realize that understanding truckload capacity is one of the most important metrics in your business. It allows you to help both shipping clients and drivers achieve the most mutually profitable way of moving freight around North America. And with $800 billion worth of freight being moved around the US alone each year, this is a serious business. However, the fact that up to 35% of trucks are traveling empty at any one time means that there is definite room for improvement.
Truckload capacity is the total available shipping space that is free on the market at any time – whether that’s local or national. As you might expect, this metric can have a very significant bearing on the market conditions and is fundamental in determining freight rates for both carriers and shippers.
As a broker, you need to have a clear picture of truckload capacity at all times. This can help you to deal with issues such as supply chain disruptions, and more crucially, help to prevent capacity being exhausted during busy seasonal periods or freight events such as cold chain transport in heat waves. Securing truckload capacity on regular days can be enough of a challenge but continuing external pressures are making the process even more difficult
If you’re still asking yourself ‘what is truckload capacity?’ and why is it so important to freight brokers, then think about it like this: whether you’re simply trying to cover a spot load or making longer term predictions about transportation costs for the next financial year, you need to know how many trucks are or will be on the road. This lets you know the total amount of freight that can be transported at any one time. But, of course, this can be difficult and there are various external factors that can impact truckload capacity.
These factors can include both seasonal and regional capacity. Seasonal capacity in the trucking industry has to do with the time of year, with the two major busy periods being the produce season between April and July and peak season from August to October. During these periods, shipping volumes shoot up across the US and truckload capacity is tightened. Regional capacity varies according to where you are in North America and the types of goods being transported to and from your location. For example, shipping to areas such as Denver, Dallas, Seattle, and Phoenix is generally undesirable because of the low numbers of manufacturing and distribution centers in these places.
In addition, factors such as equipment availability (for example, are there enough available trucks or flatbeds?) can have an impact. And you probably already know that the US is going through one of the worst driver shortages in its history right now.
Despite the difficulty in fully understanding truckload capacity, there are a few tips and tricks that will help you to stay one step ahead. Below you will find three ways you can enhance your freight brokerage skills and find truckload capacity more easily.
Real-time trucking data remains key to success within the trucking industry. Your ability to find the best spot rates, fastest routing, and best carriers depends on having access to timely and accurate data at every stage of the process. Having this data to hand from real-time freight tracking systems allows you to make judgements and decisions with greater certainty, boosting confidence and keeping the chain moving. There’s no more ‘best guessing’ relying only on days’ old freight market and truck capacity data.
Data is king in the modern supply chain, so trying to operate in a modern, digital, and automated system using outdated and inefficient practices is not a good idea. Being able to secure trucking capacity depends on your ability to quickly locate availability, secure contracts, and work closely with carriers. Modern data analysis and dashboards can make all of this easier and more accessible for freight brokers, and without these tools, capacity procurement will continue to be a logistical issue you could do without.
Other benefits of modern dashboards and platforms include:
· Improved response time to issues
· Better monitoring of individual carriers
· Lower expenses
· Fewer missed orders
· Streamlined communications and notifications
· Stronger partnerships with carrier networks and shippers
Advancements in supply chain tech have increased the use of automation and AI machine learning within the trucking industry. This has combined to reduce the amount of mundane manual work required, freeing up brokers to do much more meaningful tasks with their time. By embracing technology in your transportation management systems (TMS) you can make finding trucking capacity easier and more profitable. You can set up automated alerts when problems arise such as failure to meet delivery deadlines and improve functionality across a range of tasks.
In addition, consumer needs and demands have changed radically since the pandemic, which has increased industry demands to embrace new innovations and technology. Put simply, if you’re not keeping up with these developments then you’re in danger of being left behind. Increased collaboration through the use of automated apps is essential for the growth of your business.
The two above tips for finding truckload capacity use data and technology to give you a clearer picture of the state of market conditions at any one time. These are invaluable tools for boosting profitability. As well as using modern technology, sometimes just good old-fashioned business and relationship development can help too.
Once you have embraced the applicable trucking data as outlined above, it allows you as a freight broker to quickly and easily share information. This will hopefully improve response time and mean that any issues will be flagged up sooner in the process. This can help to reduce any expenses associated with dwell time, as well as limiting shipping delays, customer complaints, and any other issues that can impact your operations.
That’s why collating, preparing, and sharing any relevant information or data with freight partners is an effective way to help you stay one step ahead of the competition and allows you to offer your customers the best possible service.
If you are a freight broker and need help finding truckload capacity, then FleetOps is the perfect solution for you. Since 2017, we have helped countless freight brokers discover unique carrier capacity using their existing TMS. We are a certified integration partner with top TMS providers including McLeod, Mercury Gate, Turvo, and others.
FleetOps lets you access new carrier capacity right inside your existing TMS in just a few taps. Simply connect your TMS with FleetOps and get your loads covered.
Our goal is to aggregate the right data to make operating your freight brokerage as easy as possible. That’s why we have become the USA's fastest growing capacity finder and digital freight matching platform, supporting more than 227,000 drivers in our network. If you would like to know more about how FleetOps can help you find new carrier capacity inside your TMS, get in touch with a member of our team or try a free demo of our services.
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