Small carriers and owner operators make up the large majority of the nation’s carrier base. Very small carriers – fleets with one to six tractors – account for 86% of total U.S. carriers, according to recent FMCSA data. Small carriers – those with 7 to 19 tractors – make up another 9%. All together, these fleets provide over 30% of the industry’s available power units.

Despite their prevalence in the market, these players tend to be the most affected during market downturns. Smaller teams means smaller budgets and less wiggle room when it comes to weathering losses and safeguarding bottom lines. While larger carriers are often equipped to handle volatile market conditions, a dramatic swing can drive a smaller operation out of business.

Current market conditions – combined with the climbing expenses of operating and maintaining a truck – have created a difficult situation for the small companies that keep America moving.

“These are the carriers that find work elsewhere when the costs of owning and operating a truck become too expensive,” MegaCorp Logistics User Experience Manager Winnie Barton said. “In current market conditions, it is important for shippers and brokers to have conversations with their owner operators and small carriers to keep their trucks moving so they can continue to support and provide capacity in the transportation industry.”

While going out of business is, of course, a tragic outcome for the carriers themselves, it is important to remember that nothing happens in a vacuum. When a large percentage of carriers go under, shippers, brokers and end consumers all feel the impact. This is especially true for smaller shippers, as well as consumers living in more rural parts of the country.

“[Small carriers’] ability to provide capacity in smaller regions and rural areas benefits not only the shippers and brokers, but the residents of small cities nationwide,” Barton said. “MegaCorp truly values our partnerships with small carriers and owner operators and will continue to provide consistent load opportunities through our Trucker Tools Smart Capacity platform to keep their trucks moving in current market conditions.”

MegaCorp has partnered with Trucker Tools for years, utilizing the company’s suite of tools to keep freight moving – and keep their partnerships strong – through a series of volatile market shifts.

“It is important for shippers and brokers to continue providing as many load opportunities as possible,” Barton said. “Whether its daily truck sheets, spot load opportunities or creating awareness to capacity platforms like Smart Capacity, brokers and shippers can reduce the negative impacts of a volatile market.”

Trucker Tools’ carrier relationship management platform makes it simpler than ever for brokers to support their carrier partners. The solutions not only allows brokers to track shipments seamlessly, but also book loads digitally, automate negotiations and engage new carriers who may be a good fit for their networks. 

While it is important for brokers and shippers to prioritize their relationships with carriers during this time, it is equally important for carriers to do their part in building up those relationships. Carriers have the power to weather tough market dynamics through the strength of their partnerships, which are built – and maintained – in all different conditions.

In order to build stronger relationships with their shipper and broker partners, carriers can focus on providing consistent, high-quality load coverage while complying with visibility requirements and being proactive about communicating – and when possible preventing – disruptions and delays. 

When shippers, brokers and carriers all work together, each member of the trio can thrive despite the ups and downs of the freight market. 

Trucker Tools’ relationship management capabilities – combined with the plethora of driver support tools available in the Trucker Tools app – relieves some of the mounting pressure on shippers, brokers, and carriers alike, paving the way for a more collaborative future.

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The post Small carriers, owner operators remain lifeblood of transportation during market downturn appeared first on FreightWaves.

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