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A freight exchange is an online, real time service where hauliers search for freight (eg. for a backload) and freight forwarders offer freight to be transported.
What a freight exchange does
These systems provide a platform that allows carriers to communicate freight traffic information to fellow operators such as transporters, forwarders and logistics companies. They allow forwarders to advertise their freight either privately or publicly to a large number of freight operators that are looking for loads. They also allow freight operators to offer vehicle space. Online systems are normally subscription-based with a small charge for advertising (posting) and searching (consulting).
The world's first electronic freight exchange was called Teleroute and was launched in France on the Minitel system in 1985. Now, there are many examples around the world offering many services to hauliers and freight forwarders. The first independent exchange in the UK was Courier Exchange . It is still the largest UK freight exchange offering an average of 10,000 loads per month.
Classic freight exchange was favorite tool in the centralized economies. For example there was a ban to drive with the empty truck in the socialistic Czechoslovakia. The companies had to use the national system, where were the information about loads that had to be carry out.
Imagine you have an order to transport tulips from Keukenhof in the Netherlands to Como, Italy but you don’t have a freight order for the return trip and you would like to find return freight to increase your profitability. You can achieve this by searching for return freight or 'backload' on a freight exchange.