Are you considering becoming a freight broker? Freight brokers are an extremely important part of the logistics landscape around the world. A freight broker has important duties that help to ensure cargo transactions go as planned for everyone involved in the process. Also, freight brokers have the opportunity to learn a great deal about logistics conditions in their area of specialization. This can make them very valuable members of an enterprise logistics team.
What Does a Freight Broker Do?
The main duty of a broker is to work as an intermediary between an enterprise that requires cargo to be carried and one that provides the necessary services at an acceptable price. This being the case, the broker does not need to be focused on the development of new logistics solutions, but must be highly familiar with existing solutions. He or she needs to have a strong background in business analysis to develop an understanding of the client company’s needs.
When Are Freight Brokerage Services Used?
Both motor carriers and their clients may choose to retain the services of freight brokerage firms. Brokers may coordinate the logistics requirements of an entire enterprise focused on movement of cargo. Small, medium, and large-sized businesses all benefit from these services. The broker should be well-versed in business relationship management and process improvement, focused on logistics operations, in order to develop a network of contacts appropriate to any situation.
What Kinds of Qualifications Are Required?
The U.S. federal government issues requirements for freight brokerage services through the Department of Transportation. At the time of this writing, the broker must secure licensure from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration prior to practicing. He or she must also carry insurance, and may be required to carry surety bonds depending upon the specific requirements of the state the would-be broker will be based in. Continuing education may be required.
What Does Career Progression in the Field Look Like?
Before practicing in freight brokerage, an individual must meet all of the federal requirements outlined above as well as any state requirements. He or she may have a degree in business, logistics, or any of a number of other fields. Once the basic requirements have been met, it is often the case that a newcomer to freight brokerage will work with an established company for three to five years. This creates the opportunity for a basic grounding in the field.
Following this period, many freight brokerage professionals find they are knowledgeable enough to specialize in certain areas of the field. For example, there are many state, regional, and international brokers whose services are focused and specific enough for them to compete effectively with much larger companies whose service offerings are broader. It is not unusual for such professionals to become entrepreneurs who work in a series of smaller enterprises for much of their careers. However, they can also cultivate larger enterprises with a vast reach. As in many fields, success usually arises from a combination of study and hands-on experience.
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