Building Relationships with Truckload Carriers

Truckload carriers are indispensable to the success of your business. They transport raw materials and finished products from one point to the other in your supply chain, ensuring that your customers’ needs are met. Therefore, it’s crucial that you build and maintain strong relationships with them to get the most out of their services.

Current Trucking Market

The trucking industry is the lifeblood of America’s economy. According to Statista, the industry is responsible for transporting most of the overland freight in the US and had a market value of  $732.3 billion in 2020. Additionally, over the past few years, the trucking industry has undergone tremendous changes. These changes have shaped the market into what it is now. These changes include:

  • The recent boom in e-commerce: Between 2018 and 2021, global e-commerce sales grew from $2.982 billion to $4.93 billion. The convenience of online shopping, easy access to technology, and the variety of available options are the major reasons behind the explosive growth in the industry. E-commerce greatly depends on truckload carriers to move goods from one place to the other. With that in mind, the increased demand has put a strain on the trucking market.
  • Truck driver shortage: In 2021, The American Trucking Industry (ATA) reported a shortage of 80,000 truck drivers in the US. This figure is forecast to hit 160,000 by 2030. This shortage has significantly reduced shipping capacity, resulting in delays and increased shipping costs.

The structure of the current trucking market gives truckload carriers the upper hand since the demand for shipping services significantly exceeds the available capacity. This increased demand has resulted in a tight market, allowing truckers to raise their rates while seeking “shippers of choice” to build valuable partnerships with.

Why long-term relationships are important

Building long-term relationships with freight carriers give you access to better shipping rates while improving logistics efficiency and customer fulfillment. With the demand for shipping services at an all-time high, it’s impossible to guarantee that a truckload carrier you have no relationship with will create space for your shipment. Without cultivating a strong partnership with a logistics company, your supply chain may develop bottlenecks that can lead to delayed shipments or delivery of damaged goods.

 A long-term relationship with your truckload carrier ensures that you get adequate support, especially in critical situations. Moreover, freight shipping can be very unpredictable. Unexpected complications, such as custom clearance problems, sudden road closures, and port congestions, may arise at any time and often need urgent attention. Mitigating these complications can involve making penalty payments, providing extra documentation, or changing the shipping routes. A freight partner you have a great relationship with will take these steps on your behalf to ensure that your shipment is delivered safely and quickly.

Ways to build relationships with carriers

In today’s trucking market, freight carriers can not handle all the shipments offered to them. If you want your preferred carrier to prioritize your business, you must build and maintain a solid relationship with them. Here are ways to go about it:

Negotiate agreements with carriers

Rather than focusing solely on getting the lowest possible rates, negotiate agreements for long-term partnerships. Looking for the cheapest rate may seem like a great idea in the short run. However, it is one of the fastest ways to ruin a budding relationship with a shipping company. Negotiations allow you and a truckload carrier to communicate your needs, values, and expectations. Working out an agreement that satisfies both parties makes a better first step to building a mutually-beneficial relationship than fixating on price alone. Long-term relationships require commitment from both shipper and carrier. Of course, slightly higher shipping rates are a small price to pay for the benefits you’ll enjoy from the relationship.

Provide rolling forecasts

A rolling forecast is a report that uses existing data to predict a business’ future performance over a specific period. Unlike static budgets that have no room for alterations. Rolling forecasts can be adjusted regularly based on industry trends or future headwinds. Businesses use rolling forecasts to manage their supply chain by predicting future demand and supply using historical data. Therefore, providing these supply chain forecasts to your truckload carriers allows them to prepare their systems to meet your needs.

Find long-term logistics partners on GoShip.

GoShip connects you with reliable and efficient truckload carriers that are open to building long-term collaborative partnerships. With over 40,000 certified carriers on our self-service platform, GoShip simplifies the process of finding a dependable logistics partner. Partners that will go over and beyond to keep your supply chain moving. Our platform eliminates the need for a broker helping small to mid-sized businesses find professional shipping solutions at competitive prices.

Enter your shipment details in our online quotation tool to find the best offers from domestic carriers around you.


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