Transparency is M.I.A in Freight Procurement

In a world where data and transparency are driving groundbreaking results, freight procurement is one vertical, in particular, that’s still operating in the dark. And while categories such as retail, healthcare, insurance, and many others are raving about the number of insights they’re receiving — and the “glass box” they’re operating in regarding data — shippers and carriers are still blindly looking for ways to operate with minimal insights to work with. Needless to say, they’ve gotten tired of this state of affairs.

Shippers and carriers deserve better from their partners regarding data transparency. Yet, brokers continue to stonewall inquiries around transparency and data. Here are the key areas where brokers are blocking out the sun when it comes to data transparency, and why it’s hurting shippers and carriers.

On-time delivery

Brokers would like shippers to think they constantly have their fingers on the pulse around alternate freight options, and that when they pick up a load they have an asset in hand. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case and it can sometimes take hours to lock in an alternate. This is simply unacceptable, especially when OTD delivery is supposed to be a key priority for brokers. On top of these delays, brokers provide virtually no visibility or feedback about how close they are to locking in an alternate until it’s secured. This means that shippers are totally left to the whim of the broker.

Market value

For shippers and carriers, it’s key to know what the market value is for a given lane. However, this is again virtually impossible to do when relying on brokers. Instead of providing clear, itemized data about the going rate, brokers provide a bulk cost that’s often laden with massive add-on fees for themselves. This results in huge overpayments for shippers and no insight from carriers to tweak their bids to remain as competitive as possible.


Understanding the available capacity is pivotal for shippers to make smart business decisions. Yet when relying on brokers for fulfillment, there’s virtually no insight into what the existing capacity looks like — driving up tender costs and imperiling OTD. Moreover, from the carrier side, brokers provide little insight about when another load could become available. This makes it very challenging for carriers to map out their own capacity in advance.

The Transparency Gap Solution

Smart technology is now eliminating the need for the costly, non-transparent broker and connecting shippers directly with compliant, asset-based carriers when alternate carriers are needed most. By working directly with carriers, shippers obtain carrier information and rate data to understand true market cost on a specific lane.

For more information on this topic, read “Transparency in the Freight: Where is it?” published on Industry Today (6/22/21).