3PL or Freight Broker: Which One Should You Use?

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Do you know who’s handling your freight? What’s the difference between a third party logistics (3PL) service or freight broker? Often the terms “3PL” and “freight broker” are used interchangeably, yet their services differ greatly.

What or who is a freight broker?

A freight broker is a liaison between companies with shipping requirements and OTR (over-the-road) transportation carriers. In other words, a freight broker brings together a person or business with freight to move (shipper) and a person or business who has the capacity to move freight (carrier). The load board is a freight broker’s best friend! He/she arranges the deal between shipper-carrier to ensure successful transportation of freight.

What is the difference between a freight broker and 3PL?

A freight broker is the “middle man” between shippers and carriers. Freight brokers arrange shipments to meet specific goals for cost and service and focus mainly on OTR transportation.

A 3PL invests in human capital and technology to service a variety of transportation needs between shippers and carriers. 3PL’s are an extension of a company’s logistics department and able to provide a wide array of supply chain services that freight broker’s do not. For example, a modern-day 3PL may be asset-based hosting brick-and-mortar facilities or have their own vehicles for moving freight. Most importantly though, 3PL’s invest in relationships to drive their services.

Why choose a 3PL over a freight broker?

Choosing a 3PL over a freight broker will allow you more leverage and services when it comes to moving your freight. 3PL’s specialize in more than just OTR services, they also offer ocean, air and intermodal services. Additionally, a 3PL business strategy is relationship-based. This means your 3PL has worked to create strong business relationships with their suppliers and carriers to make sure your freight is moved successfully.

Over the years, Powerline Logistics has worked hard to create an extensive and qualified database of partner-carriers to offer you, the shipper and customer. No job is too big or small, no location too close or far! Feel free to check out our services to learn more about what we can offer you as a 3PL.

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