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What Is An Asset-Based Carrier?

Updated: Jul 26, 2023

When hiring transportation companies, carriers will have varying logistical capabilities that can suit a variety of clients and their shipping needs. Some companies work with specific industries, offer logistical strategies in select regions, or provide asset-based trucking solutions. When it comes to asset-based carrier services, there are major differences and benefits when compared to non-asset-based transportation companies.

What an Asset-Based Carrier Is

An asset-based carrier is a transportation company that owns its resources. It has truck fleets, trailers and other equipment to help with the loading, transporting and unloading of your shipments. These carriers may also own warehouses and offer distribution services. They work directly with shippers to move freight between locations and ensure that deliveries are made on time.

Since asset-based carriers own their fleets, they take on the maintenance and upkeep of their vehicles. They also ensure that truckers have what they need so that every delivery is successful, such as real-time updates regarding road construction, delays or rerouting to keep vehicles moving quickly and safely to destinations. Since you are working directly with the carrier, you obtain end-to-end transportation solutions and a single point of contact if there are any questions or concerns about shipments.

Think of asset-based carriers as full-service companies. They offer a comprehensive carrier network along with additional services to suit a range of customers. A key advantage to this business model is that there are no middlemen. Working directly with the carrier gives peace of mind that the shipment remains within its control and there won't be any added fees that spring up due to brokering some of the work to other companies.

The carrier can also likely offer cheaper rates for warehouse storage and offer tailored logistical service plans that fit better with your company's operations. They are more inclined to learn more about how your company operates and provide the logistical services that further complement the demands of your supply chain.

Differences Between Asset-Based vs. Non-Asset-Based Services

There are major differences when you are hiring an asset-based versus non-asset-based 3PL trucking solution. Non-asset-based companies do not own their own trucking fleets, tools or other resources. Instead, they form partnerships with carriers that will take on the shipments.

Also known as a brokerage, a non-asset-based company becomes the middleman as it reviews carriers and selects the ones that will work to move the shipment through different regions. The shipment may pass between multiple carriers before reaching its destination. A non-asset-based carrier offers more flexibility on how to ship the product and larger capacity to work with various carrier fleets. A downside is that a company has less control over the shipment. With more people touching and moving the shipment, the risks of damage or delays may increase.

When it comes to selecting an asset-based versus non-asset-based carrier, consider your shipping needs, how you want to move your shipments, the delivery destinations and any add-on services that the carrier provides to its customers. If you want a carrier that offers warehouse storage capabilities, manages total liability for shipments and offers streamlined communication services, then an asset-based carrier may be the more viable option. If you are having problems getting a shipment out to certain regions due to limited capacity options, a non-asset-based carrier may be able to provide the right solutions.

Getting the Right Carrier for Your Shipments

Having knowledge about what an asset-based carrier is and how it operates allows you to compare and select companies based on their transportation offerings. It also allows you to better scale their solutions based on your future business growth and shipping factors.

Here at GP Transco, we are an asset-based trucking company that with our own private fleet as our drivers are employees instead of independent contractors. We can provide the highest levels of trucking experience along with logistical strategies that fit into your budget. Learn more by contacting GP Transco today.

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