TransCore’s annual Broker Benchmark Survey shows stability despite rough 2009

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The annual TransCore Broker Benchmark Survey shows that after a tumultuous 2009, freight broker metrics are showing signs of stabilization. Survey respondents moved an average of 990 loads per month, which was not a significant change from last year’s survey, even though truck freight declined by 9 percent compared to 2008, according to the American Trucking Associations’ For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index. TransCore’s Freight Index reported that spot market load volume for the year slid by 43 percent.

Despite the upheaval in 2009, brokers without assets reported a slight uptick in gross margins per truckload, from 15.3 percent in 2008 to 15.9 percent in 2009. Because of the high fixed costs associated with carrier operations, however, gross margin per truckload for asset-based brokers dropped to 14.1 percent compared to 15.2 percent in 2008.

Survey respondents who identified their companies as third-party logistics or freight forwarders earned the highest margins per truckload among survey respondents, with 16.5 percent in 2009 compared to 16.2 percent in 2008. The overall average was 15.6 percent, which was not significantly different from last year’s 15.3 percent average response.

The respondent group – including more than 225 brokers, broker-carriers and 3PLs – reported average revenues of $34.8 million, with average productivity exceeding $850,000 per employee. The highest productivity, of more than $1 million per employee, was reported by firms with 21 to 100 employees.