The Broken Brokers

Why are brokers broken in shipping today? I don’t understand the broker problem and how the industry got into such a mess with them. They can cut deals and take virtually all that they can hope to get away with. To the best of my knowledge, there’s no amount that they cannot weasel out of a shipping charge. If they can get a trucker to take it for a price, they can make the deal look like anything they want – and they do not have to disclose the information to the trucker or the shipper.

Today I had an odd experience. I talked to a broker that didn’t have kids yelling and a dog barking in the background. Cool! They were an actual business called Mercer Transportation. You’d think that is a good sign, right? I couldn’t even get basic information out of them, they told me to call the shipper.  All that the shipper would tell me was that he paid Mercer to take care of things so that he wouldn’t have to talk to truckers all day, so call Mercer! I don’t blame him. It took three phone calls and over a half hour on the phone to find out my appointment time and directions. At one point, they couldn’t even tell me the name of the shipper! They offered no excuses, they just kept putting me on hold.

The problem is that nobody understands brokers. I don’t fully understand. They are there to help shippers find truckers, truckers find shippers, and to be the information source for the two. It should not be that hard with today’s technology. They cannot handle the task effectively and the shippers and truckers are so used to this, that they just accept it. Not only do they accept it, they pay dearly for the service! In most cases, the shipper does not even know what the final amount of his payments actually make it to the truck hauling his load.

It seems to me that all the industry needs is a load board, but this turns out to be false too. Good freight rarely hits a load board. If it’s good paying freight, they go through the expense of a broker that has trucks.

I have to wonder, “Who is going to finally come up with a solution that ends the brokering madness and waste?” It’s got to be coming soon. Truckers are going out of business at a very alarming rate. A major cause for truckers losing their trucks is that the fuel surcharges are being skimmed by the brokers and their leasing companies leaving the trucker will very little for fuel. What will the brokers do when the only truckers left standing are large companies that broker their own freight?

The practices that brokers are pulling now are basically legalized robbery. They do it because they can. I would advise any criminal minded individual to skip the court system and jail time, go to truck broker school and learn to steal legally. How much longer then can do it, we’ll soon find out.

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