By Ashley Coker | FreightWaves Associate Editor
Published June 17, 2021
Capacity levels are strained and reaching all-time historical tightness. Today, carriers are in high demand and have more choices on which organizations to work with than ever before. Shippers are innovating and implementing various strategies to make them a “shipper of choice” and connect with carriers to move their freight while avoiding sky-high rate increases.
Shippers who lived up to historical freight volume commitments and proved dedication to their carriers before this market shift will continue to have a capacity advantage in today’s market. There are, however, several things shippers can do to start improving their carrier relationships and access to capacity now.
In an attempt to be a “shipper of choice” companies generally focus on creating carrier-friendly spaces and policies. These tactics range from providing basic amenities like clean bathrooms and access to water, to more in-depth operational changes like flexible appointment windows and reduced detention time. While all these factors are important, they are not the only ways shippers can build better relationships with their providers.
BlueGrace Logistics Regional Vice President Chris Kupillas has some unorthodox advice to help shippers set themselves apart in a volatile market like this: innovate from within first.
“Shippers need to look internally first. Many shippers aren’t planning very well on the front end,” Kupillas said. “They should look as far upstream as possible to help manage orders and capacity. If shippers manage orders, they can build out a load plan ahead of time. It will save them warehouse space, help them communicate with carriers and allow them to build out a consistent weekly shipping schedule, which carriers appreciate.”
When shippers create more predictability and structure within their freight networks and capacity needs, it becomes easier to build long-standing relationships with reliable transportation providers. Carriers appreciate and thrive on the visibility of their next load, and if a shipper can help consistently provide that next move information they will gain on becoming a “shipper of choice.”