Broker in the transportation process

A broker in the transportation process acts as an intermediary between shippers (companies or individuals who need to transport goods) and carriers (companies or individuals who provide transportation services). Brokers facilitate the movement of goods by connecting shippers with carriers and handling various logistical aspects of the transportation process. They play a crucial role in ensuring the efficient and smooth flow of goods from point A to point B.

Types of Brokers

Freight Broker: A freight broker specializes in arranging transportation for shippers. They work with a network of carriers to find the most suitable option for transporting goods based on factors such as cost, timing, and the specific requirements of the shipment. Freight brokers typically handle various types of cargo and operate across different modes of transportation, including trucking, air freight, rail, and maritime.

Customs Broker: A customs broker specializes in managing the customs clearance process for international shipments. They are well-versed in the complex customs regulations and documentation requirements of different countries. Customs brokers ensure that shipments comply with import and export laws, handle the necessary paperwork, and coordinate with customs authorities to expedite the clearance process.

Responsibilities of Brokers

Connecting Shippers and Carriers:

Brokers act as a link between shippers and carriers, matching the transportation needs of shippers with the services offered by carriers. They leverage their industry knowledge and network of contacts to find the most suitable carriers for specific shipments.

Negotiating Rates and Contracts:

Brokers negotiate freight rates and contractual terms with carriers on behalf of shippers. They strive to secure competitive rates while ensuring that carriers meet the required service levels and comply with all legal and safety regulations.

Coordinating Logistics:

Brokers handle various logistical aspects, such as scheduling pickups and deliveries, tracking shipments, and managing documentation. They ensure that goods are transported efficiently and reach their destination within the specified timeframe.

Providing Support and Problem Resolution: Brokers offer ongoing support to shippers and carriers throughout the transportation process. They address any issues or challenges that arise, such as delays, damaged goods, or changes in shipment requirements, working to find effective solutions and minimize disruptions.

Real Example

One example of a freight broker is “C.H. Robinson.” C.H. Robinson is a global logistics company that acts as a freight broker, connecting shippers with carriers across different modes of transportation.

They provide services for various industries, including retail, manufacturing, and agriculture. C.H. Robinson leverages technology and their extensive network to optimize supply chain efficiency and help their customers transport goods in a cost-effective and timely manner. They negotiate rates, coordinate logistics, and provide visibility and support throughout the transportation process.


  1. What is the difference between a freight broker and a customs broker?

    A freight broker specializes in arranging transportation for shippers, while a customs broker manages the customs clearance process for international shipments.

  2. What are the responsibilities of a broker in the transportation process?

    Brokers connect shippers and carriers, negotiate rates and contracts, coordinate logistics, and provide support and problem resolution throughout the transportation process.

  3. Can you provide an example of a real freight broker?

    C.H. Robinson is an example of a real freight broker that connects shippers with carriers and offers logistics services across various industries.