Trouble Finding Capacity? How a 3PL Can Help

Partnering with a 3PL could be the best solution to improved visibility and lower costs over the long haul.

More regulations, fewer driver hours, and even fewer new drivers entering an already understaffed industry all add up to a perfect storm. The ripple effect of what analysts have been predicting is starting to hit home for people who probably never gave a second thought to what a truck capacity shortage could mean to their business, let alone everyday life.

Every industry—from food to manufacturing, banking and finance, healthcare, retail, and beyond—relies on trucking to keep goods flowing on time, without damages, and within a realistic budget.

While there is no silver bullet solution to solve all the issues a trucking shortage creates, one way to take pressure off some of the pain points is to leverage a partnership with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider.

Here’s how a 3PL can help you manage the trucking shortage:

  • Access to a large network of carriers. 3PLs have robust carrier administrative processes, load matching services, and back-office support teams that allow them to properly vet more carriers quickly and effectively.
  • Provide optimization. 3PLs have either built their own or invested in a Transportation Management System (TMS). A TMS helps the 3PL analyze shipping patterns and provide recommendations for improvement. A 3PL will load all mode, transit, and rate options available to ensure your shipments move efficiently and cost effectively.
  • Help control costs. 3PLs have access to a mix of carriers on long-term rate agreements; they also actively purchase freight in the spot market. By having access to a larger number of carriers, 3PLs understand the rates the market can support.
  • Offer a larger volume of business. Higher freight volumes give 3PLs greater leverage with carriers, which means they can find backhauls, resulting in lower costs for shippers.
  • Investment in technology and tools. Some tools 3PLs have that help shippers make optimal transportation decisions include TMS with carrier integration for rate confirmation, load tendering, and track and trace. 3PLs also have access to several load boards or freight marketplaces. These freight matching services help connect carriers and shippers.

Beyond alleviating some of the immediate woes related to the truck capacity shortage, working with a 3PL can drive other key benefits including lower costs to manage loads as a result of their systems capabilities and back-office processes.

3PLs can tender loads, track and trace, and process freight bills efficiently. They can also create customized reports and provide business intelligence tools. Larger 3PLs can provide international freight forwarding and warehousing and distribution solutions.

Solution for the Long Haul

The truck capacity shortage shows no sign of being short-lived. A strong U.S. economy is driving larger than normal freight volumes and increased manufacturing is resulting in increased shipping needs. This new reality, combined with the ramifications of the ELD ruling, which are only just starting to be felt, foreshadows even more challenges on the road ahead.

Partnering with a 3PL could be the best solution to improve your supply chain visibility and reduce costs over the long haul.

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