August 26, 2023

Asset-based logistics: A freight agent’s competitive advantage

On paper, a freight agent’s job seems simple: Provide shippers with stable access to capacity and connect carriers with stable access to freight.

Any agent would be able to tell you that the job is far from easy, even in the best market. For most agents, in today’s competitive market, more headwinds to providing stability exist than ever.

In an environment as volatile as today’s, freight agents are constantly battling to maintain great customer relationships and contracted freight — their bread and butter.

“Shippers are utilizing the spot markets more and more in order to minimize their costs,” said Brian AuBuchon, vice president of logistics at Artur Express Inc. “As a result, brokers are having to price freight lower than they have in years. This creates a very competitive and difficult market to secure freight and move it profitably.”

Artur Express, a Missouri-based transportation provider, has been serving the industry for the past 25 years and has witnessed the boom and bust cycles. AuBuchon knows that if brokers rely on the spot markets, their probability of long-term success is significantly reduced.

No matter the market, agents must be available to answer carriers’ questions quickly and provide them with loads on a consistent basis to keep their businesses thriving. 

Freight agents could do this and find greater success and stability in an uncertain market if they had dedicated carriers that can work for them. This gives them a “bird in hand” when quoting new lanes.

This competitive advantage is asset-based logistics.

Asset-based logistics is just what it sounds like — it’s a logistics company that is also part of a larger entity that owns and operates its own fleet of trucks and trailers. Owning the relationship with carriers allows an agent’s service and rates to win out, AuBuchon said.

“Asset-based logistics provides shippers with another level of confidence,” he explained. “If a company owns assets, the common shipper response is that if a brokerage truck is not available, the company can always cover with one of their own trucks.”

You don’t have to look further than TAB to see the success of this setup. As the freight brokerage division of Artur Express, TAB’s agents are backed by company-owned assets, including more than 850 trucks and over 3,600 trailers, as well as many services at their disposal. This includes drop trailer capabilities, team service, dedicated, refrigerated transport and more.

At the same time, TAB’s unique positions allow for agents to still manage customers’ overflow freight or freight that does not work well with its asset division. 

TAB’s state-of-the-art TMS and support structure enable agents to interface better with their customers and achieve much greater productivity and accuracy for their individual requirements. Meanwhile, the company’s competitive pay structure lets agents keep more of their hard-earned profits.

“TAB allows agents the opportunity to thrive and grow as a result of our training program and tech offerings. We provide operational support if needed in addition to all of the back-office support that we provide to all of our agents,” AuBuchon said.

As the market continues to challenge brokers and carriers alike, freight agents need an organization to call home that allows them to advance their business. 

TAB provides that — as evidenced by its 40% year-over-year growth for the past seven years that continues today. Despite the market volatility agents face today, TAB offers agents a safe place to land and grow their individual businesses.

To learn more about joining TAB, click here.

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