The thought of selecting the wrong freight brokerage can be daunting, to say the least. That's why we strive, day in and day out, to give you all the information you need to make this crucial decision.
Freight brokerage is a competitive business. In fact, we’d venture to say that providing this third-party transportation service — due to limited barriers to entry — is one of this nation’s most competitive jobs.
Granted, locating and supplying the carrier capacity to transport this nation’s non-stop demand for trailer space from one industry to the next is not without its perks.
In exchange for their services, freight brokerages develop long-term partnerships in an industry that’s truly the backbone of American business.
That said, this industry is still competitive and with more than 17,000 freight brokers currently operating in the United States, it can be difficult to decide which one will adequately meet your needs.
You want to make the right selection and find a company that will become not only your transportation provider but a partner that you can lean on and turn to.
Here at ATS Logistics, we’ve been operating as a freight brokerage for decades and although we’re confident in our abilities and pride ourselves on giving our customers top-of-the-line service to match their needs, we recognize that there are other options out there.
You deserve the advantages that come from fruitful freight brokerage partnerships even if you don’t choose ATS Logistics.
In this article, we’ll outline 15 freight brokerages that you should keep an eye on when sourcing for truck capacity this year
Year after year, according to the operational revenue numbers reported by Transport Topics, these are the companies that come out on top of the industry.
These are companies that, as evidenced by their sheer size, do things right year in and out, making them worth noting as you strive to make your supply chain as fruitful as possible in 2023.
Top 15 Freight Brokerage Companies in 2023
- C.H. Robinson Worldwide
- Total Quality Logistics
- Coyote Logistics
- Worldwide Express/GlobalTranz
- Echo Global Logistics
- MODE Transportation
- Landstar System
- XPO Logistics
- J.B. Hunt Transport Services
- Hub Group
- Transportation Insight Group
- Arrive Logistics
- ArcBest Corp.
- Schneider National
- Allen Lund Co.
To help you make the best decision for your business, here is some high-level information about each of them.
C.H. Robinson Worldwide
Headquarters: Eden Prairie, Minnesota
Total Quality Logistics
Headquarters: Cincinnati, Ohio
Visit the Total Quality Logistics website
Headquarters: Chicago, Illinois
Worldwide Express/Global Tranz
Headquarters: Dallas, Texas
Visit the Worldwide Express website
Headquarters: Phoenix, Arizona
Echo Global Logistics
Headquarters: Chicago, Illinois
Headquarters: Dallas, Texas
View the MODE Transportation website
Headquarters: Jacksonville, Florida
Headquarters: Greenwich, Connecticut
View the XPO Logistics website
J.B. Hunt Transport Services
Headquarters: Lowell, Arkansas
Headquarters: Oak Brook, Illinois
Transportation Insight Group
Headquarters: Hickory, North Carolina
View the Transportation Insight Group’s website
Headquarters: Austin, Texas
Visit the Arrive Logistics website
Headquarters: Fort Smith, Arkansas
Headquarters: Green Bay, Wisconsin
Allen Lund Co.
Headquarters: La Cañada Flintridge, California
How to Choose The Freight Brokerage For You in 4 Simple Steps
Now that you understand some of the options available to you, you’re probably asking yourself:
“Ok. . . but even if I consider companies like this in 2023, how will I know if they’d be the best fit for me?”
This is the tricky part. Finding your best-fit freight brokerage isn’t as easy as simply selecting a company for this list. And, it isn’t as simple as picking the largest company or the company closest to your home base.
No, to truly find a partnership that’s worth writing home about, you’ll want to do four things:
- Take stock of your needs
- Determine the brokerage’s strengths
- Take financial security and longevity into consideration
- Prioritize safety
1. Take Stock of Your Needs
When looked at from afar, the transportation landscape is complex. Reefers transport temperature-controlled goods through the heart of the sunshine state while double-drop trailers haul large machinery to construction sites in Connecticut.
Dry Van’s haul pallet-based goods to North Dakota’s grocery stores and a line trailer moves a 400,000-pound boiler along interstate 94 through the plains of Wisconsin.
With all this going on, selecting a transportation provider that can adequately serve you and the day-to-day transportation requirements of your business is absolutely key.
To do this it’s important that you — before taking any action to find a provider — understand exactly what you’re looking for in a transportation partner.
You can do this by outlining your necessities, including:
- How much and how frequently you’ll need capacity.
- Where you’ll need coverage (areas, regions, locations, lanes).
- How much load-tracking visibility you’ll require.
Identifying your true pain points, before you begin the process of finding a freight brokerage to meet them, will help you substantially in the long run. It’s simply impossible to find the right partnership if you don’t first understand what you’re looking for and the part they’ll play in your supply chain.
2. Determine The Brokerage’s Strengths
Due to the wide variety of freight in transport, and the intricacies of these processes, many of the nation’s best freight brokerages don’t have experience moving all commodity types.
The last thing you want to do is to select a brokerage that — due to a lack of experience — can’t get the job done for your freight. To avoid running into this issue, make sure to ask your brokerage the following questions:
- What freight are you best at moving?
- What is your experience moving my kind of commodity?
- What are your preferred lanes and lengths of hauls?
Analyze their answers to these questions to determine whether this brokerage’s core competencies will fit your supply chain. Many times, you’ll discover that the best freight brokers understand their strengths and weaknesses fully.
Find a brokerage that has the strengths that meet your challenges so when it’s time to get your freight moving, they know exactly what it takes to do so.
3. Take Financial Security and Longevity Into Consideration
Not all freight brokers are created equal.
In an industry with such low barriers to entry, a lot of freight brokers pop in and out of the marketplace at their convenience. This makes it difficult — without doing the proper vetting procedures— to find a brokerage that will stick by you, even when it’s not convenient for them.
You want a brokerage that has the longevity and financial security to get you a truck and maintain your relationship through thick and thin.
Brokers who don’t serve their customers well don’t stick around this industry for very long. Find a brokerage with a deeply rooted history of commitment and the financial standing to match.
Ask potential brokers questions like:
- When were you founded?
- How many employees do you have?
- What do you do if something goes wrong with my load?
These questions, and questions like these, will play an important role in selecting a brokerage that has a reliable history of putting the customer first.
You’re their customer, you always come first.
4. Prioritize Carrier Safety
In the business of transporting heavy freight at 60-70 miles per hour along interstate highways, while minivans and SUVs wiz by, maintaining safety and safe practices through the entire process is crucial.
Working with a brokerage that doesn’t have the proper checks and balances in place within their network won’t only damage your timelines and supply chain but your reputation as well.
As such, don’t ever select a brokerage without asking them about their carrier safety qualification practices first.
Their answers to questions like “what is your process for vetting the carriers in your network?” should give you the information you need to determine whether each brokerage values safety as highly as you do.
Nothing is more important than safety in this industry. Nothing. Not any amount of freight or the potential to save any sum of money. Good brokerages know this and have solid processes in place to vet their carriers.
Make sure to find a brokerage that values quality and hire carriers that have demonstrated history of safety.
Find a The Best Brokerage For You This Year
Now that you have a list of companies to check this year and some guidelines for selecting the right partner for your business, you’re ready for the next step in your freight brokerage selection journey!
But what should you do next?
Here at ATS Logistics, we’ve committed ourselves to helping great companies, like yours, fill their transportation networks with companies that will come through for them.
To do so, we’ve developed this 26-question Frieght Brokerage Selection Checklist.
Download it today and ensure that the brokerages you add to your network this year are “checking all the boxes.”
Finally, here at ATS Logistics we're proud to consistently rank among the best in the business. But that doesn't mean we're the right fit for every company. So here's what you should know about us...
You should consider ATS Logistics as long as you're looking for a brokerage that:
- Prioritizes service quality and reliability —but not always the lowest price.
- Can help you move anything from refrigerated and dry van freight to flatbed and heavy haul cargos.
- Has a firmly-vetted and well-managed network of carriers.
- Only works with the safest trucking companies and transportation providers.
- Will help you meet each of your customer commitments with solutions customized to fit your requirements.
If these things intrigue you and leave you wondering whether a brokerage like ATS Logistics would fit your supply chain, please don't hesitate to reach out. We’d love to show you how a great brokerage operates and what this can truly mean for its customers.