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The essence of successful freight rate negotiations is an honest exchange of information. Carriers count on shippers to supply them with complete and accurate information on shipment weights, dimensions, volumes by lane, seasonal spikes and any special service (i.e. job site deliveries, weekend pickups etc.) requirements. Shippers expect carriers to be able to supply them with the correct types of equipment to pick up their freight at the designated time, to provide adequate amounts of equipment at the right time to move their loads, to meet their designated transit times over 95% of the time and to provide good customer service and quality information as they outlined in their submission and interview.

While this all seems so straight-forward and reasonable, there are a host of challenges that get in the way of committed shipper-carrier relationships. Here are a few to consider.

Changes in Shipment Volumes

Business conditions are constantly changing. There are ebbs and flows in the general economy that can impact on many industries, including both shippers and carriers. There is ongoing competition in the market where shippers win or lose customers every day. Then there are mergers and acquisitions and new product launches (or old product cancellations) that can lead to rationalization of locations for factories or distribution facilities. The net impact of these changes is that the shipment volumes discussed in an RFP may not come to pass or the actual volumes by lane may vary over time.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_dreamstime_l_19275327.jpgFurther to the last blog, a well written motor carrier agreement can be a powerful tool in promoting partnerships between shippers and freight companies. Listed below are some of the major components of a comprehensive contract.

1. Parties to the Agreement

The document must clearly identify the parties to the agreement, including the use of any third parties or sub-contractors. This is very important since it is critical that all transport companies that perform services for the shipper have the same licenses, insurance and service levels as the primary party to the agreement. In other words, they must be a replica of the primary party or any differences must be so stated. The agreement must also make clear that the parties to the agreement are independent contractors. Neither Shipper nor Carrier shall have the right to enter into contracts or pledge the credit of or incur expenses or liabilities on behalf of the other party.

2. Services

a) Types of services

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