Top 20 Freight Brokerage Companies in 2023 (& How to Choose The Best)
November 22, 2022 •Rick LaGore
We talk with hundreds of shippers about their truckload capacity requirements. In some cases, we provide guidance in modal conversion from truckload to intermodal, but many times truckload is the best fit for their lane, service and their freight characteristics.
The one topic that frequently comes up in this discussion is: who are the largest and best truckload providers in the market today, followed by who are the largest and best freight brokers?
We are not ones to shy away from this question because we have been around long enough to know there is not a one size fits all answer to their inquiry. Our belief is that transparency gives our buyers data to assist in their journey in finding the best possible fit for their business requirements.
Top 20 Freight Brokerage Companies
- CH Robinson
- Total Quality Logistics
- Echo Global Logistics
- Worldwide Express
- Coyote Logistics
- Landstar System
- Mode Transportation
- GlobalTranz Enterprises
- JB Hunt Integrated Capacity Solutions
- Hub Group
- BNSF Logistics
- KAG Logistics
- Yusen Logistics (Americans) Inc.
- England Logistics
- Transplace (now part of Uber Freight)
- ArcBest Corporation
- Allen Lund Companies
- Redwood Logistics
Prefer your "Best ofs" in video form? Watch here:
Before digging deeper into this article, some may be asking why would someone want to know about freight brokers when they initially were set out to find the largest truckload motor carriers. The reason is based on the sheer number of truckload motor carriers operating, which according to the US Department of Transportation there are over 700,000 motor carrier companies, with 91.0% operating 6 or fewer trucks and 97.3% operating fewer than 20 trucks.
A key takeaway in the market stats on total truckload motor carriers is the mass segmentation, which drives the difficulty in finding the best fit for any company.
Outside the big names in trucking, it can be like looking for a needle in a haystack, so many companies turn to the brokerage non-asset logistics service provider market to help them in their 53’ capacity needs.
The challenge in finding the “right” non-asset logistics service provider (LSP) is the massive freight brokers where one discovers they are a tiny fish in an ocean, so it is key to do your homework and include other LSP’s in your search to ensure you find the best fit for your company. After going through the top 20 freight brokers, we will walk through key topics companies need to use in their quest.
Part of your search in finding the best freight brokerage company also includes understanding the difference in a freight broker and a logistics service provider, which is well documented in Logistics Service Provider (LSP) vs Freight Broker: A Comprehensive Comparison.
Top 20 Freight Brokerage Company Listing in Detail
Location: Eden Prairie, Minnesota
Total Quality Logistics
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Location: Greenwich, Connecticut
Echo Global Logistics
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Location: Dallas, Texas
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Location: Dallas, Texas
Location: Green Bay, Wisconsin
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
JB Hunt Integrated Capacity Solutions
Location: Lowell, Arkansas
Location: Oak Brook, Illinois
Location: Flower Mound, Texas
Location: North Canton, Ohio
Yusen Logistics (Americas) Inc.
Location: Secaucus, New Jersey
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Transplace (now part of Uber Freight)
Location: Frisco, Texas
Location: Fort Smith, Arkansas
Allen Lund Company
Location: La Canada, California
Location: Chicago, Illinois
So, now that you are armed with the basic information on the top freight brokerage transportation providers in the market, consider the services your business requires to find the best fit for your supply chain.
Important Considerations for Choosing the Best Freight Broker
Properly Licensed to Operate Legally
This topic is surprisingly overlooked because many are so quick to judge rates and capacity, but highly important to ensure your freight is in good hands.
To see if your carrier, asset or non-asset, is operating legally and under what type of operating authority we highly recommend logging into the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) site and input the providers USDOT and MC numbers.
Multiple Modes & Service Offered
As part of this thinking, consider the freight broker to be more than just a rate and some of the things that can be added in service for better pricing would include:
Managed transportation service solutions for a holistic approach to optimizing service and price.
Distribution services to forward position product to the ultimate customer for quicker transit at lower prices.
TMS technology services to move the logistics operation from spreadsheets to the cloud.
Supply chain service and coaching to help in one-time reviews of your total supply chain network.
Many of the smaller freight brokers offer a handful of services, which can be limited over time and may cause a change later down the line.
So, keep in mind the more a freight broker has to offer the better opportunity it will have to optimize freight capacity at the best price for a company, which is the ultimate goal for every logistics professional.
Is the cargo liability policy a shipper’s interest or contingent cargo policy?
What is the deductible?
Request to be listed on the policy.
Request a certificate of insurance (COI) to ensure the policy is valid.
Not all insurance is created equal, so look into the coverage before moving any of your freight with the new provider. Key questions to ask are:
Is the freight and logistics company you are working with affiliated with the top associations and are they actively engaged?
While it may seem superfluous to some, the membership and involvement is an important aspect of the quality of the provider you are working with since there is a review of the business before being allowed to be a part of the organizations listed below.
With that said, make sure to look for the logos of the below on the freight brokers site.
Ask how the freight broker qualifies, onboards and reviews its motor carriers to ensure there are no gaps where the carriers put on your loads could fall out of legal compliance.
Subject Matter Experts
Is the leadership actively engaged in educational or other support content publishing? Are they engaged in the logistics and supply chain industry at various levels? Do they sit on the boards of higher education entities or of leading industry associations? Again, this may seem a bit much, but it does show a level of commitment to the industry.
Will you be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in an ocean? The mergers and acquisitions within the freight and logistics industry have created some mega logistics service providers, which are great for some companies but they are not a one size fits all solution.
With that in mind, find out how your business will be served during and after hours. One thing you do not want to fall in after hours is the 1-800 call center. While this is great for the cost structure of the broker, it does not help your company when there is an issue.
This is another topic that is often overlooked in today’s vetting process, yet it is so important in a logistics service providers ability to move freight, find capacity, communicate and provide the highest level of service. Outside of the basics, the system will also give a glimpse into the operations and the ability for growth.
Quality of Service
Does the freight broker have the systems and internal processes to provide exceptional service, even when there is a failure to meet your service level requirements? Reference requests of current and past customers help in reviewing this facet of the broker.
There cannot be enough said on the financial strength of the freight broker that moves your company’s freight. The importance of financial stability is a key because a shipper is on the hook for all invoices of the underlying carrier the freight broker does not pay if the broker closes its doors. Even if your company paid the freight broker for the load, if the motor carrier is not paid, then you will have to pay them too.
Reputation & Years in Service
While not a final deciding factor, reputation and years in service does say a lot for the quality of the company that you are considering to move your freight.
If you are interested in learning more on how to vet your freight broker, 10 Tips How to Select Best Freight Broker for Your Company dives deeper into the above topics.
One item mentioned earlier is the possibility of modal conversion from truckload to 53’ domestic intermodal containers. If a freight lane has intermodal characteristics that make for a good intermodal lane and can handle an additional day in transit over truck, a shipper can save an average of 15% over truckload.
Some of the key qualities of a freight include:
Length of Haul: 700 miles or greater is when intermodal makes the most sense.
Dray Distance from Intermodal Ramps: 50 to 100 miles from the origin and destination intermodal ramp helps.
Weight: The freight cannot weigh more than 42,500 pounds.
While InTek Freight & Logistics did not make the largest freight broker companies this year, we have the ability and breadth of service that many shippers find beneficial to their logistics and supply chain needs, so would love to be part of the conversation when you are looking for other logistics service providers.
An additional article that you may find useful is Freight Costs: An Insider’s Look on Freight Pricing Buyers Should Know.
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