What is a truck dispatcher?

Many of the nearly 40,000 truck dispatchers in the United States have lucrative careers by being organized, working independently, and running their own businesses. But truck allocation is not the same as truck brokerage. Here’s why.

The main difference is that a truck broker is generally seen as a bridge between carrier and shipper, while a truck dispatcher works primarily with the trucker to find and dispatch loads, often for independent owner-operators. .

“The primary function of a broker is business development. They help truck drivers and haulage companies find more loads to haul, while helping shippers cut costs and negotiate the best possible rate, ”according to Truckstop.com, an online load chart and a digital freight market.

However, the primary function of a truck dispatcher is execution, the company notes, as dispatchers are the ones who organize schedules and routes and drivers dispatch shipments.

“Sometimes these roles and responsibilities overlap, but they are fundamentally different. A freight broker is more like the general manager of a hockey team, while a freight dispatcher is more like a coach. Both play an important role, but a dispatcher has a more practical role on the front line, while the broker is more at the back of the house. “

The overlap of responsibilities, however, is part of the reason why truck allocation has recently come to the attention of regulators and lawmakers following allegations of illegal brokering by representatives of brokers.

Last year, the Transportation Intermediaries Association filed a petition with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration asking the agency to issue regulations to raise standards for truck dispatch services. TIA has also been successful in incorporating into the recent bipartisan infrastructure bill a provision requiring the FMCSA to issue regulatory guidance on how truck brokers and dispatchers should operate.

Dispatchers generally agree with the intent of TIA’s petition, which is to eliminate bad players from the market. However, they disagree with the method by which TIA proposes to achieve this – by allowing dispatchers to be an agent for a single road carrier. “Anything else,” according to TIA’s request, “requires a brokerage license and compliance with financial responsibility requirements applicable to brokers.”

But Brittany Hamstreet, a California-based truck dispatcher, said a truck dispatcher is “a good faith agent” for one or more highway carriers.

“Shipping services provide logistics coordination between brokers and road carriers; perform necessary clerical duties on behalf of motor carriers; maintain motor carrier compliance with FMCSA regulations, taxes and fees; and helping motor carriers meet financial targets determined by the operating costs accrued by motor carriers, ”Hamstreet told FreightWaves.

According to the latest United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, truck dispatchers earn an average hourly wage of $ 22.51 and an average annual wage of $ 46,810. To be successful, truck dispatchers need a mix of skills, according to Truckstop.com, including:

  • Social abilities. Drivers, shipping customers and recipients of goods have different goals and priorities. Dispatchers must find a way to meet these competing needs and organize everyone to do the job.
  • Computer skills. Dispatchers work with a range of programs, including GPS tracking software, Excel spreadsheets, load charts, and customer relationship management tools.
  • Analytical skills. Dispatchers need to make independent decisions about the best routes and drivers for a particular job and be prepared to resolve issues when issues arise. Dispatchers need to have a good idea of ​​how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together in order to respond quickly to changes or customer requests. Plus, because they sift through hundreds of documents and reports for errors, they need a keen eye for detail.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher.

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