Three logistics professionals in a warehouse

3PL or Freight Brokerage: Which One Should You Use for Shipping?

Both 3PL (third party logistics) companies and freight brokerage firms are incredibly helpful when planning a shipment, finding the best prices and having access to the equipment and resources you need ASAP all in one place. 

You save time and money, and best of all- you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that your shipment is being handled by professionals.

So, what’s the difference between a freight brokerage firm and a 3PL company?

While both sectors act as middlemen to connect shippers with carriers, there are distinct differences between the two.

What is a 3PL company?

A third party logistics company outsources equipment, fleets, storage, planning and other logistics services to businesses, serving as a “one stop shop” to help business owners get everything needed for a shipment without having to go to multiple sources. 

With that being said, 3PLs have valuable resources and networking capabilities, as well as in-depth experience and knowledge when it comes to overall supply chain management. They work on a larger scale to conduct complex logistics operations.

What is a freight broker?

Typically freight brokers are non-asset based, which means that they do not have equipment or vehicles for shippers to use. Instead, freight brokers work with numerous carriers and partners in order to find the best services and rates for a shipper’s unique needs.

And, since brokers don’t have equipment, they offer more flexibility to find the exact equipment you are looking for elsewhere.

Should I use a 3PL company or a freight brokerage?

Every business is different, so your decision will be based on your shipment needs. Both sectors offer benefits, but for a beginner it can be confusing, especially since both essentially connect shippers with carriers.

That’s why everyone wins with a 3PL freight brokerage partnership.

Let’s get nostalgic and travel back to the 90s for a moment. Remember the Power Rangers? Each ninja had their own dinosaur robot that would fight evil monsters, but when those dinosaur robots joined forces and transformed into one giant robot, those combined powers enabled them to defeat evil once and for all.

The same can be said when a freight brokerage joins with a 3PL company.

Shippers get access to the most prominent connections, equipment choices and the best rates with a 3PL company that works with a freight brokerage.

You’ll be connected with a freight brokerage that matches your needs and can connect you with the best carriers, while the 3PL is the brick and mortar support that offers the essentials, such as licenses, insurance and equipment. 

In conclusion, instead of choosing one over the other, go for a 3PL and brokerage partnership that gives you the most resources and professional assistance all in one dependable place

3PL or Freight Brokerage: Which One Should You Use for Shipping?
Courtney L.
October 23, 2020

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