Domestic truck carriers, particularly large ones, continue to rely less and less on freight brokers, according to research from Transport Capital Partners.
The firm surveys carriers twice annually and has found in each of its last five surveys (since the first quarter of 2011) that brokered freight services as a share of total revenue in the preceding three month-period has declined.
“Our reporting base suggests that carriers are using less brokered loads than they had previously,” Richard Mikes, managing partner at TCP, said in a recent conference call held by the investment bank Stifel. “That trend has held for every survey point since February 2011. Brokered freight accounts for less than 5 percent of volume for 50 percent of the carriers. In other words it truly is a spot-on spot-off market for a number of carriers.”
Mikes emphasized that smaller carriers tend to rely on brokers more heavily for a variety of reasons. The survey split carriers based on whether they had revenue of more or less than $25 million.
“Generally, carriers under $25 million are more reliant on brokers,” he said. “Carriers under $25 million are clearly more dependent on loads from the spot market than the larger carriers are. Generally speaking, smaller carriers have a longer average length of haul compared to larger carriers. These smaller companies also do not have the same size of marketing departments that the larger carriers have nor as much freight in lanes. So they are, by nature, more dependent on brokers.” - Eric Johnson