Why ‘shippers of choice’ pay heed to carriers

In an era of soaring rates and limited freight capacity, shippers have a compelling incentive to keep their carriers happy by embracing efficiency and relationship-building.

“When you’re a ‘shipper of choice,’ you have a competitive advantage,” said Sam Ralat, senior director of Carrier Innovation at project44, a shipping and logistics platform, during the webinar “Navigating a Carrier’s Market: Becoming a Shipper of Choice” held on March 21 and hosted by American Shipper. “Carriers are going to compete for freight, drivers are going to enjoy coming to pick it up. These things are timeless.”

Ralat, who spent 17 years at FedEx Freight before joining project44, discussed how companies can become “shippers of choice” with Joe Bartone, Senior Director of Logistics Consulting at CarrierDirect.

The pair said shippers need to make timely pickup requests and minimize load times at docks by having freight ready, with the paperwork in order and use bar codes.

“Ideally the carrier would like to be on the dock for 20 minutes,” Ralat said.

Bartone underscored the importance of having a collaborative relationship with carriers. “Embrace the journey and partnership with a carrier,” Bartone said. “If the carrier and shipper actually worked together and went through their pain points and actually fixed them, imagine how efficient it would be.”

Ralat recommended that shippers “open up that line of communication” by sending their account executives to carriers’ service centers.

But a shipper and carrier can do all the right things and still face problems.

“You then go to deliver it – boom – you’re stuck there,” Ralat said.

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Nate Tabak, Canada Correspondent

Nate Tabak is a journalist, editor and producer in Toronto. He covers Canada for FreightWaves, with a keen interest on the cross-border economic relationship with the United States. Nate spent seven years working as an investigative editor and reporter based in Kosovo. He covered everything from corruption to the country’s emerging wine industry. He also reported across the Balkans and investigated Albania’s multibillion-dollar marijuana industry with a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Nate grew up in Berkeley, Calif. He enjoys exploring Toronto with his wife and is always looking forward to his next meal.

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