A Year in a truck brokerage company

A couple of weeks ago I celebrated a milestone, one year as a truck logistics broker. This is not my first job in the transportation industry but a year ago it certainly felt like it. Over the road transportation differs greatly from international freight forwarding and ocean container shipping that despite their close relationship they are more like cousins than brothers.

With that said here are 3 of the things I learned in my year offering trucking freight services :

    1. Time is a Luxury we don’t have. Freight trucking is a fast paced world where the longest Canada/US transit topping out at 5 days. The buffer an ocean provides to ocean container shippers, or the warehousing stuffing and destuffing that international freight forwarders have, is virtually nonexistent in trucking. We need to be precise, efficient and available through every aspect of the move. The phrase “I’ll handle this issue tomorrow morning” is blasphemy and a recipe for upset client with a side order of extra charges.
    2. Jack of all trades, master… of all trades. A truck blows an engine in Smoke Rise, Alabama. Your customer faces a plant shutdown without this freight in Montreal in 36hrs. Now is when 3pl Logistics kicks into high gear. Find another truck in Birmingham. Contact a local warehouse to cross dock. Organize the meeting of both trucks and move on to the next issue. Client is none the wiser, wondering exactly what a 3pl does.Just when you think you’ve seen everything..The only thing I know is that I don’t know everything. Each and every day as a freight broker I am reminded of how little I know. Not in a negative way, and not by anyone in particular. I am reminded this when I think I have all my bases covered only to be shown that there is an entirely different playing field that I missed. It’s a client calling me to slow down their shipment. It’s a driver so committed to his duty that he drives 15mph on the shoulder with a transmission trouble to make his delivery appointment. It’s discovering Canadians love for melons by trying to book a truck in the Carolinas in May.

It’s exhilarating and excruciating.

It’s brokerage and logistics.