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What is digital freight matching and how does it help my business?

Digital freight matching (DFM) is the process of matching shippers’ loads with carriers’ capacity through the use of web technology and algorithms. Traditionally, these matching processes were performed manually. However, a DFM solution expedites this process by matching loads based on criteria such as cost, capacity and projected delivery timetable.

Regardless of whether you’re a shipper, broker or carrier, digital freight matching technology can be a valuable asset for your business. Join us as we take a deep dive into what this technology is, how it works and its benefits so you can decide whether it’s right for you. 

And when you’re finished reading, check out the other articles in our ‘Digital freight matching’ article series:

How does digital freight matching work?

Much like traditional freight matching, digital freight matching is facilitated by a broker. The broker helps shippers list their loads on the freight marketplace. They connect shippers with carriers that have the capacity to handle the pending load.

Unlike old-school brokerage practices, however, digital freight matching relies on advanced algorithms to expedite the process of finding loads for carriers.

This technology is boosting productivity for shippers and carriers while also helping brokerages close their talent gap. BLS data showed more than 85,000 broker vacancies in 2021.

With DFM solutions, brokerages can maximize the productivity of each team member. Individual brokers benefit too, as they can match carriers to shippers without having to make dozens of phone calls.

Example of DFM

While digital freight matching solutions are relatively new, several visionary companies have already implemented them with great success.

For instance, Circle Logistics implemented DFM technology and load-tracking software to increase overall organizational visibility. The result was more claim-free complete loads and improved operational efficiency.

For shippers, DFM can mean less time wasted searching for carriers. Ultimately, this factor can lead to greater customer satisfaction and higher overall profitability. Shippers can use digital freight matching technology to reduce carrier costs and keep overhead expenses in check. 

Benefits of digital freight matching

Numerous benefits are associated with digital freight matching. For example, by implementing a DFM platform, you can:

  • Increase visibility
  • Reduce costs
  • Boost supply chain efficiency
  • Improve various other key performance indicators

Leading DFM solutions can assist with freight forwarding, load tracking and claims mitigation. In short, digital freight matching can propel your business forward and give you the tools you need to grow.

Challenges of digital freight matching

Digital freight matching technology is truly changing the trucking industry. However, as with all new technology, there’s the potential for a few hiccups as you begin leveraging DFM.

Most notably, security concerns can arise anytime you integrate your internal software with an external application. It’s critically important to choose a partner that takes cybersecurity seriously and knows how to deal with common threats.

There’s also a learning curve associated with DFM. If you want your business to get the most out of your new tech tools, you’ll need to invest in training and support. 

Features of a good digital freight matching platform

Not all DFM technology is created equal.

Leading options leverage sophisticated algorithms that facilitate automated freight matching. These solutions help shippers send out freight faster while simultaneously ensuring that carriers can minimize downtime and optimize profitability. DFM technology is designed to make everyone more productive.

When searching for a digital freight-matching platform, you should pick a solution that:

  • Enables you to negotiate rates or send quotes with just a click
  • Tracks loads booked through the platform 
  • Recommends loads based on equipment types and other relevant factors

If you’re a broker interested in using a DFM solution, you’ll want to make sure the platform you select includes the following:

  • A user-friendly mobile app
  • Visibility tools to guide decision-making
  • A growing network of carriers and drivers

Whether you’re an independent driver, owner of a growing carrier or broker, digital freight matching technology can be a game-changer. The right solution will help you get more done, match loads to carriers faster and increase your earnings.

Digital freight matching vs. load boards

Load boards have long been the go-to matchmaking platform. These boards allow carriers to search for available loads based on customized criteria and find shipments that align with their capabilities and preferences. However, finding shipments using load boards can be time-consuming.

Digital freight matching also contains a list of available loads, but the top DFM solutions will automatically present a driver with recommended loads and help them bid for shipments more efficiently. Leading options provide additional tools, such as tracking features, to make life easier for brokers, shippers and carriers.

Should I work with a digital freight brokerage?

Definitely. Working with a digital freight solutions provider can help you grow your business, boost earnings and better serve your customers. Remember, DFM platforms aren’t just for carriers. This technology can benefit brokers and shippers too. 

No matter where you fit into the logistics ecosystem, DFM technology is a wise investment that’s worth exploring.


What is a digital freight forwarding platform?

A digital freight-forwarding platform helps facilitate the shipment of goods from one location to another. Like a DFM solution, digital freight-forwarding technology uses advanced algorithms to match carriers with shippers. 

What is the difference between freight forwarders and digital freight forwarders?

Two key differences exist between digital freight forwarders and traditional freight forwarders.
Traditional forwarders primarily coordinate the shipping of goods using email, faxes, phone calls and other manual processes. Conversely, a digital forwarder automates several critical aspects of freight forwarding to promote efficiency and match carriers with shippers.

What does a digital freight broker do?

A digital freight broker connects shippers and carriers by helping them navigate the freight marketplace. The broker’s platform includes tools that automatically match a shipper with a carrier that can meet their load requirements.

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