More Glossary Terms

Bid Board

What is a Bid Board?

A bid board, load board or freight board is an online marketplace that connects shippers and brokers with logistics service providers (LSPs) to utilize available transportation capacity.

The bid board for freight allows truck owner-operators to enter a bid on freight shipments posted by shippers and freight brokers. Shippers and freight brokers can accept bids based on a variety of factors, including price, carrier performance history, time-in-transit and other criteria.

Shipper and freight broker bid boards are a centralized digital platform to post shipment specifics, including freight type, weight, pickup and delivery locations and any other transportation service needs. Carriers and owner-operators use freight bid boards to find contracts and profitable volume to fill their unique transportation equipment movements and cover empty miles.

In addition, bid board software and digital applications can provide various services for shippers, freight brokers and carriers. Depending on the board, those services may include:
  1. Load matching.
  2. Credit information/days to pay.
  3. Message boards.
  4. Ability to make notes, track history for shippers/carriers.
  5. FMCSA verification.
  6. Finance of pre-approved loads using factoring.
  7. Mobile access.
  8. Historical/current pricing in specific lanes.
How does a bid board auction work?

First, a shipper or freight broker posts a freight shipment to the bid board software, specifying origin and destination, equipment type needed, and other pertinent information. An expiry date can be set to conclude the auction period. When the load is posted to the bid board, an email alert goes out to any qualifying bid board subscribers or participating transportation providers.

Carriers and truck owner-operators can bid “yes,” fill in a bid amount, and date and time information. Users relying on a transportation management system to access the bid board can also choose a vehicle to work the load and put it on reserve. Owner-operators with multiple vehicles can enter multiple bids and vehicle assignments.

The shipper or freight broker sees all bids and can select a winning bid, which triggers communication to the successful transportation provider. When the load is dispatched, it appears in the carrier’s management platform until the shipment is completed. All other bids on the specific load are canceled, and emails are sent to unsuccessful bidders.
If a bid changes, is superseded, or times out, the shipper or freight broker can cancel or repost the load, then communicate again to participating transportation providers.
How Carriers and Truck Owner-Operators Use A Freight Bid Board
Carriers, fleet owners and truck operators can place their vehicles on the load board, making their available capacity visible in searches for shippers and freight brokers. Providing specific details (equipment type, availability time, existing routes, etc.) improves alignment between truck and shipper.
Depending on software capabilities, logistics services providers can use freight bid boards to review shipper companies. Before placing a bid, truck operators can access shipper reviews, credit scores, average days to pay, and other reference details.

See the Load Board in the MercuryGate platform.

Types Of Freight Bid Board

There are many kinds of auction bid board that are specialized for different audiences. For freight, there are paid and free load boards, private and public bid boards, and derivations based on equipment type and miscellaneous transportation needs.

Traditional Bid Boards: These load boards are traditional forums that allow freight brokers, shippers, and truckers to share information on full truckload shipments, capacities, and destinations.

Less than Truckload (LTL) Bid Boards: This is used for a freight shipment that isn’t large enough to fill a trailer on its own. Instead, it is likely lumped with other shipments. This bid board often includes “hotshot” moves, usually LTL shipments that utilize a smaller truck with other trailers on a “for hire” basis.

Miscellaneous Bid Boards: These are generally very unconventional loads like livestock, boats or oversize loads. Carriers and truck operators can easily find a sustainable niche in a miscellaneous bid board.

Benefits Of Bid Boards

Control: Bid boards give shippers control over freight bids they accept and the carriers they select. Carriers can control the cost they submit and the loads they pursue. In both cases, all parties can avoid negotiation and base their transportation decisions on their own business, expenses, day-to-day operations and customer service commitments.

Capacity Utilization: Shippers and freight brokers can secure capacity on spot loads. Whether there’s a new origin-destination pairing outside existing contracts, an unexpected increase in freight volume, or tender rejections are high for a certain lane, the bid board offers access to available spot capacity for short-term needs. Likewise, carriers can use it to fill gaps in capacity utilization for instances such as backhauls.

Convenient & Efficient: A bid board for freight is easily accessed wherever internet is available. Shippers, brokers and carriers can gain access from their computers or mobile devices. Bid boards are available 24/7, and they are accessible from desktop computers and mobile apps. No matter when you look, the bid board reflects the most up-to-date information.

Easy to Use: Bid boards require little to no technical knowledge. Start-up steps: Create an account and log in to view the loads available.

How MercuryGate Supports Bid Board Usage
MercuryGate customers may invite carriers to bid on a load by posting that load to the private bid board that exists within the MercuryGate TMS. The bidding process then occurs between a MercuryGate customer and the customer’s own invited carriers. In addition, loads in the MercuryGate TMS may be posted to public bid boards operated by MercuryGate partners outside the TMS.

Request a MercuryGate Demo to Get Started