Freight Functions and Roles
There are a number of different freight functions and roles in the freight industry. What is even more confusing is that a number of individuals and companies might provide more than one function, tending to blur the lines and leave customers confused. Key functions in the freight industry are as follows:
The person or business that has the items that will be transported as freight.
The person or business that items are being transported to as freight.
A freight broker connects shippers and carriers. Freight Management Logistics as a freight broker utilizes its knowledge, technology and human resources to insure that shippers and carriers are matched correctly and that freight is delivered on-time and on-budget.
Freight forwarders take possession of items that are to be transported consolidating smaller shipments into one large shipment. They hold smaller shipments until they amass a larger shipment and move the items onto their various destinations. Freight forwarders typically have significant warehouse space used for consolidation.
Shipping associations are the “Sam’s Club” of the shipping industry. Associations are cooperative organizations that arrange shipping (much like a freight forwarder) for their members. Shipping associations are not open to the general public.
Helping facilitate international shipping, the import-export broker will work with customs agencies, government agencies as well as international carriers.
Agricultural Truck Brokers
These smaller organizations concentrate on specific areas of the country and arrange the transport of agricultural products. Agricultural products are exempt from many shipping regulations.
A company that provides truck transportation usually with a tractor trailer combination. There are two types; private – generally a company providing its own cargo transportation and for hire – those who transport freight for others.
Intermodal transportation is done by truck, rail and ship without handling the freight other than at the point of origin and the destination. Typically this is done with containers that can be transported by truck, rail and ship or barge. Intermodal transportation is typically used for inter-continent freight.
One of the fastest growing carrier markets is air freight. Cargo or freight is transported either by dedicated cargo aircraft or on traditional airline flights. Air freight offers a much faster means of transporting freight over long distances and can be an effective means of transportation if the distance transported is greater than 800 miles.
There are several organizations that oversee and align various freight functions. Most notable government organizations are:
US Customs Service overseeing the entry of foreign goods into the United States.
Department of Transportation responsible for distributing funds for highway transportation, setting motor carrier regulations and setting safety standards for freight movement.
Federal Maritime Commission regulating the overseas shipping industry.
Each states Public Utility Commission regulating permits to operate and intrastate freight rates.
Each state’s Department of Motor Vehicles issuing licenses and tax payment compliance.
TIA – Transportation Intermediaries Association. Freight Management Logistics is a proud member of the TIA which provides education, information, and connections for ethical transportation brokers.
NMFTA – National Motor Freight Traffic Association providing expertise in the classification of freight, packaging and transportation codes.
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