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While load boards are a necessary part of the trucking industry, they can be a source of headaches.

How to avoid load board and broker challenges

June 5, 2024
While a necessary part of business for many, load boards and brokers have challenges. Two industry executives offer advice on how to avoid them.

Trucking companies that rely on brokers and load boards might be frustrated with the process. The process of finding a load, connecting with a broker, bidding on a rate, and negotiating for it comes with many challenges, whether it is due to fraud, miscommunication, or a lack of trustworthy relationships. How can those challenges be avoided? 

Most trucking companies are classified as small businesses, according to the American Trucking Associations’ latest trend report: 95.8% of fleets operate 10 or fewer trucks, and 99.7% operate fewer than 100. Larger fleets are often private carriers that ship goods for businesses. 

Ed Stockman, co-founder and CEO of freight booking platform Newtrul, told FleetOwner that after you remove private fleets from the equation, about 80% of the trucking industry is transactional, which makes finding loads a competitive part of the trucking business. 

See also: Here's how the freight market fared in April

Of that 80% that Stockman mentioned, about 95% of loads are passed through load boards, requiring shippers and carriers to shift through posting after posting, lane after lane, and equipment requirement after equipment requirement to find a load to haul. This process leaves room for mistakes and, even worse, bad actors.  

Fleets should practice due diligence 

Andy Dyer is the president of transportation management with AFS Logistics, a global third-party logistics provider. Dyer believes fleets can best improve their experiences with brokers and shippers through due diligence. 

“A broker is responsible to understand if they are dealing with a reliable fleet,” Dyer told FleetOwner. “I would argue a fleet is responsible for understanding if they are dealing with a responsible customer, whether it be a shipper or broker."

“Brokers very much inspect the capacity that they're buying... to understand, ‘Am I buying from [and] am I working with a reliable source of capacity?’” Dyer continued. “I would encourage fleet owners to do the exact same thing.” 

See also: As cargo theft continues to rise, experts advise on prevention and spotting fraud

Along with ensuring a broker or shipper is legitimate, it’s important that carriers confirm the requirements of the load they intend to carry. Not only is it essential, it’s their responsibility, Dyer said, and they should be the ones to communicate the load requirements to the driver. He suggested that fleet owners and carriers again practice due diligence when working with a broker or shipper to ensure they are a “good actor,” including communicating well. 

“Are you dealing with a good actor? Because quite frankly, bad actors aren't always fraudsters; sometimes they're just knuckleheads,” Dyer told FleetOwner. “To me, it's all about asking the right questions, making sure you get it right, and making sure you communicate it to the driver.” 

About the Author

Jade Brasher

Senior Editor Jade Brasher has covered vocational trucking and fleets since 2018. A graduate of The University of Alabama with a degree in journalism, Jade enjoys telling stories about the people behind the wheel and the intricate processes of the ever-evolving trucking industry.    

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