Industry Insight

Evaluating freight bids and transportation strategies

April 28, 2017

As a decision-maker in the industry, you are likely in the midst of the bidding season and planning process. This is the best time to evaluate the economic demands and supply chain complexities that impact your freight transportation model and strategy. It’s also a vital time to evaluate your existing and new carriers and brokers to ensure that they add concrete value through services, achieving your goals while meeting supply chain demands.

According to industry economic forecasters, shipping demand will continue to grow in 2017. The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI), which reports freight amounts carried by the for-hire transportation industry, released results in March. Here are some interesting facts from the report:

  • Index highs and lows: For-hire freight shipments in January 2017 (123.2) were 30.1 percent higher than the low in April 2009 during the recession (94.7). The January 2017 level was 1.6 percent lower than the historic peak reached in July 2016 (125.2).
  • Year-to-date: For-hire freight shipments measured by the index were at the same level as in January compared to the end of 2016.
  • Long-term trend: For-hire freight shipments are up 10.6 percent in the five years from January 2012 and 12.3 percent since January 2007.
  • Same month of previous year: January 2017 for-hire freight shipments were up 0.8 percent from January 2016.

Due to supply chain demands, shipping rates and ongoing regulatory changes, we’re also seeing shippers reevaluate choices and partnerships across the supply chain. Finding the balance between managing supply chain complexity and choosing partnerships that meet and exceed expectations is crucial. 

Therefore, as part of your planning and bidding process, it’s also the best time to look at existing carriers and brokers whose services add tangible value. When making decisions, consider key factors that are most important to you and your business such as seasonality, transportation options and price, technology and organizational structure.

These factors should impact decision-making along with thought to the following suggestions:

  • Work with carriers that are flexible, who offer and have more options to negotiate better prices, gain quicker transit times and provide various modes of transportation services.
  • Spread out shipments and loads to gain pricing efficiencies and better use of carrier services.
  • Consider intermodal options where fuel is less of a factor in pricing (moving from intermodal boxcar to rail, etc.).
  • Align networks and embrace collaboration. For example, carriers can signal changes in their network with pricing, which allows shippers to take advantage of these changes.

The complexity of the supply chain and economic demands will continue. However, finding partners whom will collaborate on new opportunities can make it easier to reach your business goals.

Agforce Transport Services specializes in customized transportation solutions for our customer’s specific business needs and requirements. To learn more about how we can help simply your path to market, contact us today for a free consultation. Give us a call at 844-713-6723 or email us at

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