How to find last-minute loads

How to find last-minute loads

By sennder team, 3 minute read

It’s 4:30 pm, and you’re thinking about a new recipe you want to cook for dinner when you get an email about one of tomorrow’s loads that has fallen through. Suddenly, you need to find a last minute replacement load, or else you’ll have an empty truck driving all the way back to your depot.

Finding loads for your trucks the traditional way–by calling a number of different brokers–is exhausting. It can take hours, and there is always the risk that you are left without a suitable load. Truck drivers are irritated when they are left waiting for their next load for hours on end, and carrier operators are frustrated when they need to make a dozen frantic calls to find a last minute load to fill a truck.

A truck diver waits for their next load at a warehouse.

Fortunately, technological advances in the shipping logistics industry have changed the game in terms of finding loads. With the right tools, sourcing loads for your fleet is a piece of cake. Read on to learn a couple quick hacks for finding last-minute loads that suit your business.

The problem with brokers

Calling a series of different brokers is intensely time consuming, and it puts carriers at a disadvantage.

Essentially, brokers act like middle-men between shippers and carriers. Brokers bid on loads that look lucrative on the spot market. Carriers seeking loads call them up, and take on the loads that fit their transportation schedule. Brokers earn a brokerage fee on every load that they successfully award to a carrier.

From a carrier perspective, there are a few problems with this transaction. First, carriers don’t have visibility of all the loads on the market; merely a subset of loads that have been selected by their broker.

Second, broker’s and carrier’s needs are different. Whereas carriers are often seeking the next available load that starts from a point nearby their truck, brokers are more concerned with loads that have good profit margins. In effect, the loads that a carrier can find through a broker may not be the most ideal loads for their transportation schedule. For the carrier, this can mean longer wait times between loads, or more empty kilometers driven between loads. Both of which negatively affect the bottom line, as an empty truck costs the total lost revenue plus the cost of the empty kilometers driven.

Finally, brokers commonly have very long payment terms, and brokerage fees cut into profits.

The solution is found in digital tools

Increasingly, carriers are making use of freight boards and digital tools to avoid the downsides of dealing with brokers and to cut out the administrative work involved.

A freight board is essentially an online platform where carriers can see loads available on the market. The upside here is gaining increased visibility of potential loads.

However standard freight boards have some frustrating downsides as well. First of all, freight boards are typically for viewing loads, not bidding on them directly. Bidding happens outside of the platform, which means that some of the visible loads are no longer available. There can also be inaccurate information about loads.

Also, as a largely carrier to carrier platform, freight board users need to be wary of loads that have been purchased and reposted by other carriers. These are called rechartered loads, and they are problematic because multiple brokerage fees cut into the margin.

Finally, freight boards are not always easy to use, which makes searching for loads into a time-consuming process where operators are often forced to compromise between price, location and time.

This is where digital solutions really make a difference. For example, in sennder’s digital carrier tool, load matching algorithms based on one’s lane preferences make finding the right load for your truck easier than ever. Booking the loads you want is also made painless with an “immediate booking” option.

With the help of our digital tools, finding a last-minute load can be accomplished with a few clicks. Try it out for yourself and see how easy scheduling truck freight can be.

Learn more about how sennder works with carriers to streamline road freight logistics HERE.