Freight load boards have now been a mainstay of the transportation industry for the past fifteen years or more. They have helped many companies who participate in the “open” freight market to connect with each other via the Internet. The open freight market is all the freight loads that are covered by freight carriers not under any long-term contract. It is the largest segment of the truck load freight industry, and with 80% of trucking companies having fewer than 20 trucks the open freight market will be here for many years to com. However, freight load boards may not last as long.
Before freight load boards came about, shippers, or freight brokers working for shippers, would have to call directly to freight carriers personally to source available truck capacity to haul the freight loads. The value of the freight broker to the shipper was his relationships with certified quality carriers, and how quickly he or she could source available carriers to haul the loads. Once the Internet came about, freight load boards soon followed. Freight load boards are websites designed to publish information about these open market freight loads. They allowed the freight broker a much greater reach to publish information about they loads they were trying to cover across the world wide web. Carriers with contracts for freight going to states where they didn’t have customers could now easily search for available freight in those states going back to their base state.
Most of the loads posted on freight load boards are going a distance of 500 miles or more. The load sizes can be full truck load (FTL), or less than truckload (LTL). They can be standard freight which can be hauled in a regular 53′ van trailer, or freight requiring specialized equipment such as refrigerated, flatbed, curtain side, drop deck, bulk hopper, or some other trailer specifically designed for the type of cargo hauled. The freight load board is designed so that carriers looking to find freight to haul can search by location, distance, and freight type.
When they first came about freight load boards were a great step forward for the freight industry. They allowed faster communication about the spot market than had ever been available before. However, with the advancement of web technologies over the past decade, freight load boards have done little to improve their services or even their platforms to take advantage of newer technologies. Features such as document storage, communication and social networking between users, and load progress updates are either mediocre or non-existent. Most sites have not changed their user screens in 10 years, even most of the pay sites still look the same.