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Freight Bid Tip # 7. Establish Backup Carriers for Most Blocks of Business


We live in an ever-changing world. Trucking companies come and go. They are being bought, sold, merged, downsized and resized every day. Under new management, a company may flourish or deteriorate. In this era of driver shortages, carriers are being very deliberate about how they allocate their capacity. As they focus on yield management, this precious capacity is being supplied to the carriers' most profitable customers.

In addition, trucking companies are constantly adding and losing business. A trucking firm may add a new account tomorrow at a higher margin than they are receiving from your business. This may cause them to make their capacity more readily available to another client. The bottom line is that it is always prudent to prepare for a “rainy day.” In other words, there is value in having backup carriers for most of your business.

This means that it is critical during the rounds of bidding, to smooth out the variances in rates between your “low bidders” and the others who were on the short list. By doing this, it reduces the cost differential in making a switch for any of a variety of reasons (e.g. poor service, carrier goes out of business, de-markets certain lanes etc.).

It should also be kept in mind that a carrier will not be too motivated to serve your company if they are a backup carrier in name but receive no freight. To achieve success with freight bids, carefully determine your primary and secondary carriers. This should include both asset and non-asset based providers.  While the temptation is there to give all your freight to the low bidder, to maximize savings, this can be a risky strategy. Where possible, select primary and secondary carriers. Give your backup carriers a reasonable volume of freight so as to keep the primary carriers “honest” and to keep all of your transportation providers engaged in serving your company.


To stay up to date on Best Practices in Freight Management, follow me on Twitter @DanGoodwill, join the Freight Management Best Practices group on LinkedIn and subscribe to Dan’s Transportation Newspaper (



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Guest Saturday, 24 June 2017

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