The Difference Between a Freight Carrier and a Freight Broker

Scale conceptIf you are looking for a company to do your shipping, two services you may come across are carriers and freight brokers. Since they can both get your freight from where it is to where it needs to go, does that means they are the same thing? Not even close. Let’s take a look at the differences between a freight carrier and a freight broker to see when one might be more appropriate to use over the other.

Freight Carriers

A freight carrier may be the thing that comes to mind when you think of moving cargo. A carrier is a business that operates a fleet of trucks that moves your freight from point A to point B. They own the trucks, they pay the drivers and they handle dispatch and scheduling.

Freight carriers typically have coverage areas that they operate within. If you are having a freight carrier move your goods, you can track its progress through them and would address any issues you had with your service directly through the carrier.

Freight Brokers

A freight broker does not own any shipping equipment. They do not operate the trucks and do not have coverage areas or terminals. Much like the name suggests, they are brokers for freight carriers.

This means a freight broker’s job is to match up freight carriers with cargo. They are well versed in carriers. They know the routes, the coverage areas and where the terminals are. Typically a broker will be able to move your freight quickly using one or a series of freight carriers.

If you were to use a broker, you would not interface directly with the carrier. This means in order to track your shipment or to deal with customer service issues you would need to work through your broker as the interface to the freight carrier.

When to Use a Carrier or a Broker

So now that you know the differences between the two, when should you use one over the other? A freight carrier is great if you are just making one shipment, can fill up that shipment and have one destination. Things get more complicated if you have multiple shipments or less than a truckload.

Typically carriers charge more for LTL service. A broker, on the other hand, may be able to help you with that. Brokers have several freight customers. This means that they can pair your LTL up with another customers’ LTL, saving both of you money.

If you have multiple freight shipments, having the broker as a single point of contact for all your freight can save you time and effort. Instead of having to track multiple shipments with multiple carriers (not to mention the time to set that up), you can just use the broker as a single point of contact.

Before selecting your carrier, make sure that your freight is properly packed and ready to be shipped. Cratex group are your industrial packing experts. Contact us today for a quote!