Should You Use 3PL Freight Brokers?

A freight broker is a middleman or intermediary who connects shippers

  • Written by Paola Olivera
  • Published on December 8, 2023
  • Time to read 9 minutes


3PL freight brokers, also known as a third-party logistics freight broker, are a type of intermediary that facilitates the transportation of goods for businesses. Here’s what each part of the term means:

1. Third-Party Logistics (3PL):

A 3PL company provides business logistics and supply chain management services. These services can include transportation, warehousing, order fulfillment, and more. 3PL providers take care of various aspects of a company’s logistics operations, allowing the business to focus on its core activities while benefiting from the expertise and resources of the 3PL provider.

2. Freight Broker:

3pl freight brokers, is a middleman or intermediary who connects shippers (companies or individuals who need to transport goods) with carriers (trucking companies or other transportation providers). Freight brokers do not own the transportation equipment but have relationships with a network of carriers. They negotiate shipping rates, arrange transportation, and ensure that goods are delivered efficiently from the shipper to the intended destination.

So, a 3PL freight broker combines these two roles. They offer logistics and supply chain management services as a 3PL provider and act as intermediaries to broker transportation services for their clients. They leverage their expertise, industry knowledge, and carrier relationships to secure transportation solutions that meet their clients’ needs, often at competitive rates.

This arrangement can be particularly beneficial for businesses that want to streamline their supply chain operations, reduce transportation costs, and improve efficiency without having to manage the complexities of logistics and transportation themselves.

The Benefits Made Simple

Now that we know what a 3PL freight brokerage is let’s dive into the benefits in plain and simple terms.

1. Save Money:

   – Simple Explanation: 3PLs can often negotiate better deals with carriers because they have connections and can send a lot of shipments their way. So, you pay less for shipping.

2. Save Time:

   – Simple Explanation: Instead of spending hours searching for a carrier, a 3PL freight brokerage does it for you. They match your shipping needs with the suitable carrier quickly.

3. Get Expertise:

   – Simple Explanation: These folks are pros in the shipping world. They know the rules, regulations, and best practices, so your shipments are in good hands.

4. Flexibility:

   – Simple Explanation: Whether you’re shipping a small package or a whole truckload, a 3PL can handle it. They adjust to your needs.

5. Reliability:

   – Simple Explanation: 3PLs ensure your goods arrive on time and in one piece. They’re like the guardians of your shipments.

6. Easy Problem-Solving:

   – Simple Explanation: If something goes wrong during shipping, like a delay or damage, your 3PL brokerage fixes it. You don’t need to stress.

7. Focus on Your Business:

   – Simple Explanation: By letting the 3PL handle the logistics, you can put energy into growing your business, not worrying about shipping.

How It Works: A Simple Example

Imagine you run a small online store that sells handmade candles. Your customer orders a dozen lavender-scented candles, and you need to ship them across the country. Here’s how 3pl freight brokers simplify the process:

1. You Reach Out: Contact your 3PL brokerage and provide details about your shipment, like the size, weight, and destination.

2. They Find a Carrier: The 3PL uses its network of carriers to find the best one for your needs. They negotiate a reasonable rate on your behalf.

3. Pickup and Delivery: The carrier comes to your location, picks up the candles, and handles all the transportation. You don’t need to worry about trucks or drivers.

4. Tracking: You and your customer can track the shipment’s progress online. It’s like a GPS for your candles.

5. Delivery: The candles arrive safely at your customer’s doorstep and are thrilled with their purchase.

6. Any Issues? If there are any hiccups, like a delayed delivery or a damaged box, your 3PL brokerage steps in to make things right.

Who Can Benefit?

3PL freight brokerages aren’t just for big corporations. They’re a game-changer for businesses of all sizes. Whether you’re a small Etsy seller or a large e-commerce giant, here’s how you can benefit:

Small Businesses:

   – If you’re starting, a 3PL can help you manage shipping without a massive logistics team.

   – You can save money on shipping, which is crucial for a growing business.

E-commerce Stores:

   – Handling a high volume of orders? A 3PL can scale with your needs.

   – They can handle everything from warehousing to shipping, freeing you up to focus on marketing and sales.


   – If you make products, a 3PL can streamline your distribution and get your goods to retailers or customers faster.


   – Running brick-and-mortar stores? 3PLs can ensure you have the right inventory in the right place at the right time.

Seasonal Businesses:

   – If your sales spike during certain seasons, a 3PL can help you handle the increased demand efficiently.

Global Businesses:

   – Shipping internationally? 3PLs are experts in navigating customs, tariffs, and international regulations.

FAQs About 3PL Freight Brokerages

1. How much does it cost to use a 3PL freight brokerage?

   – Costs vary based on your shipping needs and the services provided. Typically, you’ll pay a fee for each shipment, but the savings on shipping rates often outweigh the fees.

2. Do I lose control over my shipments with a 3PL?

   – Not at all. You still have visibility and control over your shipments. The 3PL simplifies the process for you but keeps you informed every step of the way.

3. What if I have special shipping requirements, like refrigerated goods or oversized items?

   – No problem! 3PLs are equipped to handle all shipments, including those with unique requirements.

4. How do I choose the right 3PL freight brokerage for my business?

   – Look for one with experience in your industry and positive reviews. Ask about their technology, carrier network, and services to ensure they meet your needs.

In Conclusion

3pl freight brokers simplify shipping for businesses, big and small. They save you money, time, and headaches while ensuring your shipments arrive safely and on time. So, if you want to focus on growing your business and leave the logistics to the experts, consider partnering with a 3PL freight brokerage. It’s a decision that can make your shipping operations smoother.

Now that you understand the power of a 3PL freight brokerage, you’re ready to take your shipping game to the next level. Happy shipping!

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