Freight Brokers: Getting Things Where They Need to Go

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We live in a world where we can get anything we want in a couple of clicks, whether it’s from a major retailer or someone selling books out of their garage.  This means more freight that needs to get from point A to point B to point C, and more trucks on the road at any given time. Enter the Freight Broker.

What are Freight Brokers?

Freight brokers are go-betweens.  They take care of things. Freight Brokers help move things along quickly and smoothly so we can get what we need when we need it.  Say a shipper has some hats that need to get to Walla Walla, Washington. The shipper calls a freight broker and pays him or her to make sure the hats get to Walla Walla before the big hat festival.  The freight broker finds a carrier who regularly travels to the area and makes a deal with them for the hat delivery. The carrier picks up the hats, drives them to their destination and all the while, the freight broker is tracking the truck to make sure the hats arrive on time.  When they do, people in Walla Walla can buy the hats, and everyone’s happy. Freight brokers facilitate shipments from their starting point to ending points.

How do they make money?

The freight broker hired the carrier to deliver the hats for less money than they received from the shipper.  This is called their “spread”. The freight broker is not merely making a better deal, they’re responsibility is to ensure that the freight is delivered safely and on time.    

Why wouldn’t the shipper go directly to a carrier?

They can, and many do.  However, there are many reasons why using a freight broker can be beneficial to both shippers and carriers.

  • It lightens your workload if you’re a shipper. It saves time searching for a carrier and tracking your shipment, which can be time-consuming.
  • The freight Broker’s main focus is the shipment.  For carriers and drivers, it lessens time searching for loads because the loads find them.
  • They’re experts.  Many brokers got their start working other jobs in the shipping or trucking industry.  They know best practices for both.
  • They track the load using GPS technology, remain in constant contact with drivers and always know the driver’s location.  
  • They’re problem-solvers.  If problems arise along the way, it’s up to the freight broker to resolve them.  What could go wrong? Lots! There could be:
    • Accidents
    • Breakdowns
    • Scheduling issues
    • Hazardous weather conditions
    • Unplanned checkpoints and other stoppages
  • They’re scalable.  Freight Brokers can quickly deal with busy or slow periods.  If a business is seasonal or is experiencing growth or decline, a freight broker can easily adapt to volume changes.
  • They have connections.  They build a large network of contacts through job experience and load boards which allow them to help shippers to take advantage of volume discounts.  They have route coverage all over the country.
  • They want you to succeed.  It doesn’t benefit the freight broker to take the shipper’s money and find the cheapest carrier or driver to create the biggest spread.  Why not? You get what you pay for and if you’re paying a carrier poorly, you’re likely going to get poor service which always costs more in the end.  

How Do I Pick the Right One?

Freight Brokers are a growing part of the industry and as with anyone you choose to do business with, it’s important to vet them properly.  Freight brokers must have a license from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and should have a membership with the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA).  It’s also a good idea to check out their rating with the Better Business Bureau.   Try to stay away from brokers who have recently joined the industry.  The best freight brokers are ones with not only freight brokering experience but have also held jobs as carriers or shippers.  

Direct Freight Services is a go-to resource for freight brokers.  It can help those just starting out build a network or just help round out route coverage and fill gaps.  More than 3,500 companies post freight on our site so it’s the perfect tool for helping freight brokers make new and trustworthy connections.  With all sorts of useful features for shippers, carriers, and freight brokers, you’ll wonder how you ever did business without it! Go to DirectFreight.com or call (888)894-4198 and see what we have to offer.  
Source:  https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov, http://www.tianet.org, https://www.bbb.org/en/us

Load Boards: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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Whether you have freight that needs to be shipped, a truck you need to get out on the road, or you’re a freight broker who needs to connect the two, more and more people are turning to load boards to get the job done.  But are they really all they’re chalked up to be?

The Good

They’re easy to use.

If you’re using a good load board, everything you need will be in a simple, clean table that appears on the front page of the site so you don’t have to go through unnecessary windows.  It will have all of the pertinent information to help you find what you’re looking for in just a few clicks.

They’re inexpensive.

While there are free load boards, they don’t necessarily include relevant information needed before committing to move the load.  The cost of paid load boards can be well over $100 a month. There are some are under $50 a month for a full subscription (Direct Freight Services is $34.95 a month).

They’re easy to access.

Web-based load boards can be accessed from any computer, phone, or tablet  with internet access. They’re also available 24 hours-a-day, 365 days-a-year (366 during leap years!) so your load search can work around your schedule.  

They’re up-to-date

Load boards would fail if they posted old information, and whether you’re looking for a load or posting one, not having a load immediately accessible will cost you money.  Direct Freight load boards are updated in real time so you’ll always get the most current information. No lines, no waiting!

Eliminates “deadheading”.

“Deadheading” is the term that refers to empty trucks returning home after they’ve dropped off freight.  Unless there’s a return load, it’s just wasted fuel, wear-and-tear on the truck, and missed opportunity to earn money for the driver .  Why drive empty? Once you’ve set up your outward-bound trip, you can search for nearby loads for your return route.

There are no costly software updates.

With web-based load boards, there’s no need to put load software on your computer.  That means no more expensive software updates that tie up your computer while the update is being performed and no need to buy new software, ever.

You can see who you’re dealing with before you commit.

The better load boards like Direct Freight allow access to credit reports so you don’t take risks.  The reports display any legal actions taken against the freight company or shipper, public filings, credit score, and the number of days it takes them to pay, on average.

 

The Bad

They’re competitive.

Most free load boards get their information from the same sources so there’s competition for the loads which drives down the price truckers can make.  Paid load boards are less competitive.

You still have to do the work.

If you’re a shipper or trucker using a load board directly, you still have to search when you’re ready for or with your next load.  Some load boards offer text or email alerts that let you know when what you’re looking for is available but you still have to do some amount, albeit small, of legwork.  

You could become a victim of fraud.

With the rise of load boards, there’s been an increase in fraud.  The fraud, “double-brokering” occurs when a freight broker uses the services of a secondary freight broker who sets up the deal but then absconds with the payment.  This happens more often on free load boards.

 

The Ugly

We were kidding about that.  There’s no ugly! Paid freight boards are an essential tool to save time for shippers, freight brokers, and truckers.  They get freight shipped, connections made, and trucks on the road faster. Time is money! Even if you have regular contacts deals can fall through, product demand can fluctuate, or it may be time to expand your operation. A good load board can help you  move forward without skipping a beat.

With 3,500+ companies posting 300,000+ loads daily, Direct Freight has everything you need to fill trucks and move freight.  We’ve been serving the trucking industry since 1997 and our years of experience helps us continue to do so.. Shippers, freight brokers, and truckers alike know that with Direct Freight, they’ll get what they need.

Go to DirectFreight.com or call us at (888)894-4198 and start your 15-day free trial today!

Source:  https://www.interstatecapital.com/fraud-in-trucking-industry/#

Brokers: Why You Need a Freight Board

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So, you decided to become a freight broker.  What was the reason? Was it the flexibility?  Wanting to become your own boss? The ability to turn hard work into a 6-figure income?  The prestige in being part of the supply chain that keeps America running?

Whatever the reason, you took the plunge to become a middleman between shippers and carriers and went through all of the processes of structuring your business and filing all of the legal forms to make your business possible.  (If you haven’t, more details on the process can be found here.)  Now what?  Where do you begin?  How do you get a list of shippers?  Do you know any truckers? You’re the middleman, how do you get in the middle?

Sure, you can use Google to search for names of shippers, and you may even be able to find some truckers, but it’s a tedious process that takes a lot of time.  And as we all know, time is money. Load brokers rely on their contacts for work and most people don’t have a handy Rolodex of direct shippers sitting on their desk, certainly not when first starting out.  But you can have one at your fingertips.  Load boards are your Rolodex.  

That’s the beauty of them.  Load boards give you all the information you need from shippers who need loads shipped to truckers looking to drive loads.  Even if you do have contacts that you can utilize, load boards can help you fill in gaps and keep trucks on the road when your regular contacts have nothing for you.  
Load boards have other advantages too.

  • They’re inexpensive.  For a small monthly fee you can have full access to their updated lists of shippers and carriers.
  • They’re convenient.  Because most of them these days are web-based, they can be accessed from any computer or mobile device 24/7 so there is no costly software requiring constant updates.
  • It reduces deadheading.  That’s when there’s a load going in one direction but not the return one.  The most successful freight brokers will keep trucks full, picking up loads for the return trip for efficiency.

  Okay, we’ve fully established that the success of your brokerage business depends on you finding a freight board.  But which one? There are so many of them out there and it’s important to find one that works for you. Many load boards have lots of bells and whistles and their main function gets lost in the mire.  Look for an interface that is straightforward with the load/truck search engine as the main feature.

Your main goal is to find concise, current loads and trucks, but there are a few other features that some load boards have that can help your business be more efficient.

  • Credit reports.  Know who you’re dealing with ahead of time.
  • Deadhead and Trip Miles.  Know your miles full and empty.
  • Weather Reports.  Know the weather where your trucks are.
  • Store and Send Documents.  Fax, email, or text with one click.
  • Email Alerts.  Get alerts on loads and trucks.
  • Load organization.  Keep everything organized so nothing gets lost in the shuffle.

DirectFreight has everything you should be looking for in a load board.  With its clear-cut interface, you can easily navigate your searches along with customized features like important saved documents and emails.  It not only provides up-to-date load and truck information, it helps your business to be more organized and professional. Check it out for yourself with a 15-day free membership at DirectFreight.com and make your freight brokerage firm prosper!

Simplify Your Hunt for Loads

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Whether your trucking company is big or small, using a load board to find loads can reap big rewards.  They are handy, profitable tools that are particularly useful for small fleet owners, owner-operators, and newcomers to the trucking industry.  Load boards are sort of like dating services for freight and trucking companies, minus the long walks on the beach. If you’re a trucking company looking for a hot date with an attractive load, load boards are the place to turn!

On online load boards, with a little or a lot of criteria, you can search for loads that are going to be the most cost-efficient and make you the most money.  While free load boards are available, they generally have less to offer and fewer options. DirectFreight is one of the most popular national online load boards and now offers new, easy-to-use filters that can narrow your loads or trucks into just the ones you’re looking for.  

Begin your search for freight or trucks by inputting your origin city or state on the main page.  A results page will be returned which you can sift through, or you can narrow your search further by adding:

Trailer Type

Load Size

Ship Date

You can also choose to sort them by:

Origin City

Age (newest)

Pay Rate (highest)
Deadhead Miles (shortest)

Trip Length (longest)

A list will be returned that includes all of your criteria information along with a full credit report and score for each result to minimize your risks, the load weight if available, and the age of the posting.  The list allows you to hide single results or all results for a particular company that doesn’t interest you. Clicking on a single result will yield more information if it is available, and give you the opportunity to perform a reverse search to find a returning load to cut down on deadhead miles.  DirectFreight is customizable so you get all of the information you want without the information you don’t. Get email alerts on your loads and trucks delivered directly to your inbox. Pick a load and calculate your mileage with one of our handy maps and receive information on any weather that may interfere with or impede your trip.  

DirectFreight is web-based, as all of the good load boards are.  Why is it better? In the olden days of load boards, software was loaded on your computer, which meant any updates or improvements to the software also needed to be manually loaded onto the computer which was costly and meant your computer was tied up for hours.  By having a cloud-based system, updates can be made automatically without service interruption and your information is automatically backed up so you don’t have to worry about a virus wiping out your data. You’re not tied to your desktop computer. The DirectFreight website can be accessed from anywhere using your mobile phone or tablet and because it’s web-based,  it’s available 24/7.

Load boards like DirectFreight keep your loads detailed and organized so your business can run like a well-oiled machine.  Go to DirectFreight and sign up for a free 15-day trial today!

With DirectFreight, the load and trucker dating site, load and trucker will live happily ever after!

Load Posting Made Easy with Direct Freight

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You’re a liaison.  A go-between. A middleman (or middlewoman).  An intermediary. A Freight Broker. You do the legwork needed to move freight down the street or across the world.  It could be a load of toys from a factory, food from farms, or a myriad of products from a distributor―anything from anyone who has goods that need to be shipped.  You take care of all of the details to get those goods from here to there. You make the necessary arrangements with trucking companies or individual carriers.

You are more than a liaison, however.  You’re the responsible party if anything goes wrong.  If you do your job well, you can also help reduce transportation costs, cut down on lost time, and allow your shipper to increase their shipping capacity as needed. As companies grow, it becomes more difficult for them to find the time to broker deals with trucking companies so many are turning to freight brokers like you to handle the task―to broker the deal, make all of the arrangements and make sure that the trucking companies have DOT compliance, a good credit record, and a clean driving record. It’s your responsibility to make sure everything goes smoothly and deal with any problems that arise.   

To be a successful broker, you need to ensure the fast and efficient delivery of goods.  Your relationships with shippers and carriers are your bread and butter. The very nature of your job requires a need to foster relationships with both shippers and carriers.  However, building a big database of customers can take years and even with a large collection of shippers and carriers at your disposal, there may be gaps in coverage. That’s why load posting on a superior load board is vital to any freight broker.  Load boards allow you to post loads that need to be shipped and find reliable truckers by seeing their credit report and driving history. Even the best brokers may not have trucking contacts everywhere. Load posting allows you to fill any gaps you may have in your service area and make it easy to post load details and get exposure to thousands of carriers looking for loads and building your list of contacts.  By fostering relationships with carriers, a good freight broker can provide vast shipping coverage and value combined with quality services.

With Direct Freight, posting loads couldn’t be easier. Loads can be posted for free but the monthly subscription allows access to credit reports, route weather, route planning, text alerts, load filtering, and other features to streamline load planning.  Because it’s web-based, the Direct Freight interface can be accessed anywhere via computer, and there’s also a mobile version for phones and tablets. Direct Freight is an indispensable tool to help freight brokers grow and maintain their business and build relationships with carriers and shippers all over the country.
If you’re a freight broker, Direct Freight is your key to success.  Call (888)894-4198 or go to www.directfreight.com, sign up for your free 14-day trial, and start load posting today!

Why Load Boards Are a Shipper’s Best Friend

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When it comes to finding a dedicated loyal friend to help through busy times or when you need to find a new carrier, the freight shipper need not look any further than a good load board.   

 

What is a Load Board?

A load board is a web-based system that allows shippers to list a load that needs to be transported somewhere.  The shipper gives details such as “from” and “to” locations, freight size, type and other details, and carriers who can meet the requirements can apply for the job.  

Even if you are a shipper with contracts with established carriers, load boards can be a useful tool if problems arise and you need to find a new carrier quickly, or if your number of shipments is growing faster than your carrier’s capacity is, a common occurrence in our improving economy.  A load board can help you find one that is reliable and has a good credit record, as well as a good driving record. With the right load board, you loads can be viewed by thousands of drivers across the country. By putting all of the information out there, on both shippers and carriers, a marketplace of moving goods is created, for everyone’s benefit.

 

Why Would Shippers Use Load Boards?

For shippers, load boards are a way to ship freight and save money on the middleman (or middlewoman), i.e. a freight broker.  Freight brokers take care of load postings and find carriers for you. You pay them a percentage, of course, and they take care of finding a reliable carrier to move your freight.  They may have their own, independent contracts, but they often use the same load boards to find truckers that you would.

So why, then, would you use a freight broker when you could do it yourself?

You will save money by doing it yourself and many do, but ask yourself this:  “How much is my time worth?” How much time would it take for you to find a carrier, negotiate a price, and track your shipment and payments?  Multiply that time by the number of loads you have to ship. While a good load board, like Direct Freight, will streamline the process, it will still take time that you may use for other aspects of your business.  

For some, it’s worth the savings.  For others, using a freight broker gets that part of the job off their proverbial plates so they can concentrate on other ways to make their businesses successful.  With all of the useful information included on them, load boards help shippers make decisions that are less risky and more efficient.

Load boards are win-win.  Shippers learn whether or not the carrier has a good driving record and has the proper licenses,  and the carrier learns whether or not the shipper is reputable and pays carriers in a timely manner.

If you’ve got freight to ship and you don’t have a way to ship it, are unsatisfied with your current carrier, or have more freight than your current carrier can handle, go to www.directfreight.com and try our free 15-day trial and start posting those loads today!

What is the Best Software for Freight Brokers?

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Freight brokers are master jugglers.  They have to juggle finding and dispatching loads, locating carriers, tracking shipments, processing payroll, sending out invoices, and the list goes on.  With all of that juggling, it’s not surprising that a ball or two will occasionally hit the ground. But they don’t have to.

In order to be successful in the fast-paced freight broker business, you need freight management software to do the juggling for you.  But which one do you choose? The answer depends on your individual needs and your available budget. An effective TMS (Transportation Management Software) will streamline the whole process, allowing your business to grow.

Fortunately for today’s freight broker, there are a lot of choices for a good TMS, each with their own various features and price points.  Gone are the days of expensive software that you load onto your possibly compatible computer only to have to endure costly upgrades every few months.  Most freight broker software today are web-based and cloud-based, allowing you to access the software and your information from any device at any location and because they’re subscription services, you’re not roped into a lengthy expensive commitment.  

Best Freight Software Today

Load Pilot

With this software you can quote, book, organize, invoice, and manage loads.  Its straightforward interface allows you to fax or email invoices, provides overviews of weekly and daily activities, search their Master Carrier Database of over 160,000 carriers across the country.  It has an accounting ledger, personal calendar, and more.

Strategy Systems

Strategy Systems software includes trucking dispatch, fuel tax, billing payroll, driver logs, mapping, shipment tracking and vehicle maintenance.  Its easy-to-use interface features a broker board, load info screen with pay tab, billing screen, and a settlement screen that integrates with Quickbooks.

Aljex & Descartes

From the dashboard, the broker can access a number of tools to automate daily tasks.  The software is scalable so it can be used whether your operation is big or small. Its simplified interface allows you to streamline your accounting activities and see all your shipments, has easy document management, and secure backups.

3PL Systems

This software has all of the usual tools that help you to increase the efficiency of your freight brokerage operation but also includes a handy customer portal that allows your customer to track and rate shipments as well as a sales portal that gives your sales reps the ability to create quotes, dispatch loads, and track shipments.

Rose Rocket

Rose Rocket’s freight software provides real-time shipment visibility, real-time invoices and settlement, real-time chat function, and has a handy mobile app.  It has a sleek interface and is easy to manage for any sized company. It’s easy to use, from the initial quote to the completed invoice.

Ascend TMS

This supply chain management software (SCM) is a good fit for any sized business.  It has many of the usual features of this kind of software and includes GPS tracking to track your carriers on an integrated map.  One of its key features is its driver payroll function which allows you to pay drivers using different payment structures (per mile, hour, pallet, ton).

Most freight broker software companies allow you to see a demo on their websites, and some have trial offers so you can get the feel of the software before you commit to using the service.  Look for one that has all of the features you need, doesn’t force you to sift through features you don’t and feels comfortable to use.

The competition in the freight broker industry is fierce.  For freight brokers to keep up, they must find the right software to simplify their work and give them an edge over the competition.  Automation is the key to success and will help keep those juggling balls in the air.

Do your homework and examine several TMSs to find one with the right features for you.  Most TMSs do not include load boards but rather are designed to integrate with top load boards like Direct Freight to make the entire shipping process smooth and efficient.     

At Direct Freight, we make it easy for freight brokers to find loads or to find trucks to carry loads and we are fully integrated with many of today’s most popular freight brokerage software.  You can even try us out free for 14 days. Call us today at (888)894-4198 or go to DirectFreight.com to find out more about our services.

IMPACT OF LATEST TAX REFORM & ACCOUNTING CHANGES ON TRUCK PROCUREMENT – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

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KEY PROVISIONS AND PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS FOR CLASS-8 TRUCK FLEETS

The start of 2018 has introduced the dual challenge of requiring that finance executives deciding whether to lease or buy equipment become familiar with the new lease accounting rules and provisions of the tax reform as many of these issues are complex. It is important to analyze and understand how these changes may impact the acquisition strategy, balance sheet, financial plan, and tax strategy, and then adjust accordingly to help improve your financial performance.   Read more here.

Empty truck?  Looking for backhaul loads?  Thousands of freight brokers post US freight to our load board every day.  Sign-up now and start finding freight anytime-anywhere!

Trucking: Learning from the Big Apple

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As NYC ups green efforts to deliver more freight, move more people, and cut greenhouse gas emissions from municipal trucks by 80% by 2035, the city is finding ways that fleets can improve business processes while reducing their environmental impact.  Read more here.

Empty truck?  Looking for backhaul loads?  Thousands of freight brokers post US freight to our load board every day.  Sign-up now and start finding freight anytime-anywhere!

Different Types of Freight Shippers

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We’re a world of consumers; every day we need more and more stuff to take the place of the stuff we use.  Stuff to eat, stuff to use in our homes, stuff to drive, stuff to wear, stuff for entertainment, and stuff to read.  We don’t always think about how all this stuff gets to the stores near us or to our doorstep. It’s just there when we need more stuff.

The fact is, there are several ways that products get shipped around the world or locally, some even using more than one shipping method.  So what are the types of freight shippers that bring us all our stuff?

Freight

First, let’s define freight.  Freight is any shipment that is larger than 30”x30”x30” and weighs more than 150 lbs.  Packages that are smaller than that would be expensive to ship in the same manner as freight and are usually shipped via parcel, i.e. UPS or FedEx.  Freight is loaded by pallet or can be loaded directly onto the floor of the truck. Floor-loaded freight is loaded into the truck by hand where pallet-loaded can be loaded into the truck using a forklift.

Air Freight Shippers

Air freight shippers ship cargo just as it sounds, using planes.  Although it is an expensive way to ship cargo, it is fast which can be more important than the cost.  Air freight shippers can ship domestically or internationally.

Ocean Freight Shippers

Shipping products via ship is the most popular way to ship cargo because it’s the most inexpensive.  However, it does take the longest amount of time. It’s the oldest way to ship freight around the world.  Usually, large containers are used for shipments that can be loaded onto trucks or trains at ports to bring the products to their final destinations.  Ocean freight shippers can ship internationally or domestically.

Rail Freight Shippers

Shipping products by train may take a little longer than by trucks, but as they don’t have to be concerned with running into traffic or auto accidents, it can be faster.  Because trains use less fuel to pull many cars than the same number of trucks would, they are more economical and more eco-friendly than trucks. Rail freight shippers can ship domestically or internationally to Canada and Mexico and are often the second leg of transport of products coming in on container ships.  

Ground Freight Shippers

Ground freight shippers use trucks to transport cargo, especially to local areas but many deliver cargo across the country.  A standard-sized truck can carry a maximum of 26 pallets. Standard dimensions of a single pallet are 48”Wx40”Lx48”H. Anything above 48” high is considered a double pallet.

Ground freight shippers offer a variety of options for shipping including:

Full Truck Loads (FTL):  Typically a load of 24-26 pallets.  Because it is a full truck, shipments can be made directly from pick-up to destination.  Benefits of FTL include the use of refrigerated trucks or the ability to ship over-sized loads.  

Less Than Truck Loads (LTL): This type of shipping is for cargo that is larger than a parcel but smaller than a truckload, usually 1-6 pallets.  This is the most common type of ground shipping. Along the route, cargo is transferred to other trucks and is shipped through local terminals.  Because of the shared payload, shipping usually takes longer than full trucks which are shipped directly to their destination. It’s cheaper than other ground shipping methods that use trucks.

Partial Truck Loads (PTL):  Partial truck loads are generally between 6-18 pallets.  Costs are usually comparable to LTL rates but have the benefit of FTL shipping times because they may be transferred to a different truck but usually they are not.

Freight shippers are constantly looking to improve ways to ship cargo as well as the logistics involved with moving freight.  Driverless vehicles and even drones may be on the horizon but the tried-and-true shipping methods using planes, trains, and trucks remains the most cost-effective and efficient ways to get us our stuff.

If you’re looking to ship your product around the state or around the world, Direct Freight Services can help.  Go to directfreight.com or call (888)894-4198 and find a truck for your load or a load for your truck.  Start your free trial today!