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Tips on Managing Freight in a Tight Market

Spurred on by a volatile market, shortage of truck workers, and tightening regulations across the board, the trucking market has yet to bounce back from pre-pandemic levels. This attrition of drivers and thinning margins have led to a tight market where only the savviest freight company owners can keep their heads above water. So, what can you do to be one of them? Here we have several ways to manage your freight and how to make the most of a challenging marketplace.

Consider Using Local And Last Mile Delivery Carriers

For long-distance freight, the last mile of city driving from warehouse to customer is one of the most expensive pieces to the complex puzzle of delivery management. Our first tip is to stick to what is profitable for you and leverage the usage of local carriers for city-driving short-range deliveries. Gone are the days of a single freight company shipping directly, as the market begins to favor multiple services to ensure timely and quick deliveries.

End Your Yearly RFP

In writing, the adage ‘kill your darlings’ means to let go of unneeded lines of thought and focus on what is essential. This mantra carries over to the freight industry in that it is time to end your yearly RFP, as its intended purpose of saving money doesn’t work in a modern ecosystem. Instead, it would be best if you focused on developing long-lasting relationships with other carriers in an effort to increase networking options and provide a broader range of shipping options for your freight. Locking in rates is the new standard, with multi-year commitments allowing for better rates and more effective service to your customers.

Practice Flexible Shipping Options

When the market is tight, bargaining power is lost, and you need to be creative on how to make yourself attractive to potential carriers. Flexibility means expanding delivery windows and accepting some deals you wouldn’t usually, such as nighttime pick-up and off-peak shipping dates. While such things don’t maximize profit in the short term, staying flexible will garner more respect, notoriety, and business for a long-term financial solution.

Keep An Eye On Driver Turnover

The industry average turnover rate for drivers is 87%, and while that number fluctuates year-by-year, it is not a good look for the trucking industry. Try and find carriers with lower-than-average driver turnover, and don’t be afraid to ask about retention when interviewing a potential client. This one tip can save you thousands as you develop rapport with drivers.

Do All You Can To Limit Driver Turn Time

Time is money; if your docks are clogged with drivers waiting to drop off freight, their parent companies are burning time and money. The development of AI and computer tracking software has made it easier for shippers to monitor driver wait times, and the more time they burn in your lot, the less likely they are to repeat business. As a solution, you can implement one or all of the following:

  • Set appointment times for drivers to arrive and have a delivery window to ensure a constant flow rather than an idling line.
  • Use a drop-and-hook system. Allowing drivers to drop off and go while you can sort out the deliveries later is a great way to improve efficiency.
  • Finally, you should consistently monitor the times that drivers are waiting. Note the peak and off-peak hours, scheduling accordingly and ensuring you never have a driver waiting longer than a few minutes.

Learn More About Freight Management from

At, we’re experts in all things related to freight management. As a supplier of a wide array of strapping products, we manage our own freight to ensure we have the necessary products available in our US-based warehouses at all times. To learn more tips related to freight and inventory management, continue to follow our blog or give us a call at 888-803-8140 today.

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