TransCore’s Annual Survey Shows Stability in Freight Broker Benchmarks Despite Rough 2009

Beaverton, OREGON – The third annual TransCore Broker Benchmark Survey, with detailed responses from more than 225 brokers, broker-carriers, and 3PLs about their 2009 operations and financial performance, suggested 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% compared to 2008, according to the American Trucking Associations (ATA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index, and TransCore’s Freight Index reported that spot market load volume for the year slid by 43%.

Despite the upheaval in 2009, brokers without assets reported a slight uptick in gross margins per truckload, from 15.3% in 2008 to 15.9% 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%, compared to 15.2% in 2008. Survey respondents who identified their companies as 3PLs or freight forwarders earned the highest margins per truckload among survey respondents, with 16.5% in 2009 compared to 16.2% in 2008. The overall average was 15.6%, which was not significantly different from last year’s 15.3% average response.

The respondent group 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.

Click to download a copy of Transcore’s 2010 Broker Benchmark Survey.