10 Characteristics of a Great Produce Shipping Freight Broker

Maria Callegari Maria Callegari August 10, 2023
10 Characteristics of a Great Produce Shipping Freight Broker

Produce shipping is not for the faint of heart, and great produce freight brokers are few and far between. So, what sets apart a remarkable produce freight broker? We’re happy you asked! From superb organizational and problem-solving skills to top-notch negotiation skills to get you the best rates, a superb produce shipper like Edge Logistics has the experience, knowledge, and credentials to make produce shipping easier for you. Still uncertain? Take a look at this article outlining the 10 characteristics that define an excellent produce shipping freight broker; we are confident you'll recognize how proficiently Edge aligns.

Produce shipping brokers are essential for shipping produce from fields to manufacturers and retailers. By nature, fresh produce has a short shelf life and must be quickly moved from the fields to production or sale. Moving too slowly or breaking cold chain custody can result in spoiled, damaged, or lost products, which can be costly. That’s why produce shipping brokers are essential because their expertise makes it possible to navigate the fast-paced, expensive, and complicated process of loading, shipping, and storing produce.

1: Strong Industry Knowledge

The primary cornerstone of a top-notch produce shipper is industry expertise. It's not a task that can be handled by just anyone, given the intricate landscape of shippers, demands, and rates. Superior produce shipping requires an in-depth understanding of the transportation, logistics, and supply chain sectors to successfully navigate the many aspects of shipping produce. 

A big part of this is understanding the requirements for moving perishable produce. Shipping produce is governed by federal standards established by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and by the physical lifespan of perishable foods. Produce brokers and their carriers need an in-depth understanding of the requirements of government bodies for cold chain logistics and the needs of perishable foods to successfully ship perishable foods while meeting safety guidelines and preventing spoilage. 

2: Superb Negotiation Skills

The shipping industry operates within a market framework, where pricing is dictated by the interplay of supply and demand dynamics. Concurrently, brokers that facilitate substantial shipment volumes have the leverage to engage in negotiations for more favorable rates, which they can subsequently extend to their customers. An adept broker can balance the interests of both the carrier and the client, ensuring that the carrier remains profitable enough to continue operating while securing favorable rates for their client. 

3: Skillful Networking 

A proficient broker possesses a diversified network of carriers capable of satisfying a wide array of customer requirements. It's not solely about establishing connections. This level of networking requires consistent relationship building. A superior broker continues to maintain and strengthen carrier relationships to have a broad network of reliable carriers ready to fulfill capacity needs. This becomes particularly crucial during periods of capacity constraints when prices soar and spot rates are limited. In such instances, truly adept freight brokers know exactly who to approach in order to secure the best prices and booking slots, ensuring they can fulfill all their clients' requirements. This depth of connection also empowers brokers to address a vast range of client needs through their extensive carrier networks.

4: Masterful Problem-Solving Abilities

Given the multitude of components in play, it comes as no surprise that things occasionally go wrong in the realm of logistics and freight. However, what distinguishes an exceptional freight broker is their prowess in resolving issues. Whether a shipment remains uncollected or a truck experiences a breakdown, an outstanding produce freight broker will collaborate with you to pinpoint the optimal solution and swiftly put it into effect.

5: Keeping it Together with Organizational Skills

As previously mentioned, the intricate nature of logistics involves numerous moving components, underscoring the significance of freight brokers possessing robust organizational skills.. Freight brokers must keep track of all ongoing shipments to ensure that loads have been picked up, charges have been paid, and so on. 

An excellent freight broker alleviates the burden on the shipper by overseeing the entire lifecycle of the shipment. This entails constant monitoring of variables such as temperature, humidity, and real-time location throughout the journey. The goal is to ensure that the produce maintains optimal conditions while traversing the most efficient route. Regular updates on shipment status, demanding your attention if necessary, are part of their service. They then follow through to confirm the seamless execution of the plan.

In the event of any setbacks, a freight broker remains proactive in pursuing solutions. Their diligence ensures that the situation is promptly rectified, including any necessary credits or price adjustments.

6: Be Detail-Oriented

Freight brokers need to possess a keen eye for detail, leaving no room for oversights. Within the realm of logistics, teams must diligently cross-check delivery orders, resolve any inconsistencies, and proactively communicate with carriers or shippers to address queries.

Logistics operates within a high-volume context, demanding an acute focus on details capable of catching minor hiccups before they escalate into substantial issues. An incorrect date or misplaced decimal point can delay shipments or cost companies extra. A strong logistics team is on top of the small details and works to monitor and catch errors before they become significant costs. 

7: Technological Savvy

Technology is playing an increasing role in the modern shipping industry. Ranging from load matching to shipment tracking, the logistics industry stands to benefit from technological advances, but only if brokers and other industry actors can implement and innovate existing technologies. At this pivotal moment, understanding the potential of implementing new technologies can give a broker an edge and enable them to provide superior service to their clients. 

Edge is ahead of the curve with their award-winning transportation management application CAPACITY. CAPACITY uses leading-API to match shippers with available truck loads and makes it simple for shippers to monitor their shipments real-time location, temperature, humidity, and more. 

8: Top-notch Communication Skills

Since each shipment involves communication between shippers, carriers, truckers, and more, it’s vital that brokers have top-notch communication skills. Effective communication ensures smooth transactions and prevents misunderstandings. Excellent communication can be the difference between a slight inconvenience and a major disaster when things go wrong. 

A huge part of good communication is providing communication in real-time. High-quality produce freight brokers will not only notify you about any changes in temperature or humidity, but they’ll notify you almost as soon as it’s happened. This means you can rest-easy that your shipment is being carefully tracked and that you’ll be the first to hear about any issues and how they’re working to resolve them. 

9: Honesty and Integrity

Trust holds immense significance in the freight brokerage business across all levels of interaction. Shippers rely on their brokers, trusting them to offer equitable prices and ensure the secure transit of their shipments. In parallel, carriers place their trust in freight brokers, expecting them to prepare loads diligently and furnish precise information. Simultaneously, brokers must have faith in their carriers, believing in their ability to promptly pick up shipments and transport them to their destinations efficiently, maintaining the integrity of the cold chain logistics. Without trust, the supply chain crumbles, underscoring how crucial company integrity is in upholding the trust that underpins the functionality of the supply chain.

10: Understands Perishables

When looking for the best produce freight broker, shippers want a superb freight broker that is an expert in shipping perishables. Beyond freight in general, perishables have specific requirements for transport. One example is the need for more capacity during the produce season. Expert produce freight brokers know that seasonal diminished capacity is coming. They work with their clients to anticipate freight demand during high-volume times to ensure that their clients have the capacity they need precisely when they need it. 

Shippers Turn to Edge Logistics for the Best Produce Freight Broker

Produce freight brokers distinguish themself with these 10 traits of excellence. They have strong industry knowledge, superb negotiating skills, skillful networking, and masterful problem-solving abilities, enabling them to provide superior service. They also have strong organizational skills, are detail-oriented, have technological savvy, and have top-notch communication skills to improve the customer experience.  They are honest and cultivate persistence and resilience in their employees. Finally, they have a true mastery of the perishable freight landscape and are experts at transporting produce and problem-solving any issues. 

That’s how you know that Edge Logistics is the best choice for your produce freight shipping needs. From their CAPACITY application making it easier to book and track shipments to their strong focus on clear and successful communication with clients, Edge’s actions set them apart.  

While Edge has won a truly impressive number of awards for everything from technology to customer service,  the best freight brokers know that they can’t stop to rest on their laurels. The freight landscape is constantly evolving—and brokers need to be too. Edge focuses on continuous learning and professional development for their employees and company to ensure they continue to be the best.  Ready to get started? Contact Edge to learn what their top-caliber brokerage can do for you. 

About the Author

Maria Callegari

Maria Callegari