What Exactly is Freight Software?

by | Education

Most often, the term “freight software” refers to any software that helps a business find the best way to move freight. These solutions can include 3PL software, cargo software, and brokerage and forwarder software. Businesses moving a lot of freight can benefit from inventory and warehouse management solutions as well.

While each software differs a little, most freight software offers a few common key features.

Quoting features send your freight details to multiple carriers to help you choose which one will suit your shipment best. For situations where a carrier can’t offer an instant quote, the software automatically forwards the shipment and logistics information for the carriers to return with a quote.

Booking helps reserve space on boats and prepare documentation for the shipment.

Tracking shows you and your customer where freight is and when it may arrive. Basic software will save the number for tracking; it may need to be manually added and checked. Advanced systems automatically update and even loop the customer into the tracking process. They may include notifications to update the shipper or customer of any changes.

Inventory management is offered by more advanced and comprehensive software aimed at freight brokers. When moving large numbers of freight through a warehouse, inventory management features can help keep track of all the shipments to ensure nothing gets lost, warehouse space is used efficiently, and couriers are able to easily move freight on time.

Import and export forms for international software save on time filling out repetitive and tedious forms with minimal errors. This is often a more advanced feature or is packed into software meant for global shipments such as ocean freight software to make sure everything is smooth sailing.

Automatically generated invoices make accounting easier for each party involved.

 Key Takeaways

  • In terms of software, “freight management” refers to logistics solutions that streamline the process of moving freight between the shipper,  brokers, the carrier, and the recipient efficiently at the lowest cost.
  • Sea freight software can optimize and streamline most processes for freight businesses. For instance, the software will aggregate quotes to help choose the best option for each individual package or freight shipment.
  • The Magaya Digital Freight Platform is a flexible, connected, and completely customizable logistics platform perfectly suited to your unique needs. 

What is meant by freight management?

In terms of software “freight management” refers to logistics solutions that streamline the process of moving freight between the shipper,  brokers, the carrier, and the recipient efficiently at the lowest cost.

The more comprehensive the logistics, the more automated the process is.

Freight management is especially focused on expediting and simplifying choosing a carrier for any freight, but it can also include inventory management and automated forms to make customs and other documentation easier to handle.

What is the purpose of a freight broker?

For a shipper who doesn’t have a lot of warehouse space or international shipping expertise—or just doesn’t have the time for it—a freight broker offers a full-service solution. Once a carrier is chosen, freight brokers can pick up and store a shipper’s package until it’s time to ship it. Freight brokers act as the shipper and handle documentation and processing for the original shipper to ensure a speedy delivery.

Freight brokers are especially powerful partners for businesses with large fluctuations in business, saving the cost of needing more space for a few busy months. Rather than investing in larger warehouses to hold onto outgoing shipments, a freight broker can take the freight off the shipper’s hands.

Brokers are also efficient, allowing the shipper to save money and time. Since sea cargo can take a long time to process and may have minimum load requirements, a freight broker can help consolidate shipments to meet a carrier’s requirements.

Since sea cargo is often international, freight brokers often offer more assistance with complicated regulations. They can ease the process of moving freight to its international destination.

What are the typical responsibilities of an ocean freight business?

These businesses are expected to be experts on moving maritime freight. Ocean freight businesses might include brokers, forwarders, or even 3PL’s alike. Each of these services meets a different need for a shipper, with brokers often offering the most support.

Freight businesses should be able to…

  • Find the quickest and most cost-effective way to move freight across the ocean
  • Work out tracking details so the shipper and recipient can see when the package will arrive
  • Make sure packages meet a carrier’s requirements for loads
  • Purchase and handle insurance for cargo
  • Ensure packages will pass customs and meet regulations
  • Know whether items, such as flammable liquids, will be restricted
  • Have a plan for the package to move from the port to the recipient
  • Maintaining security for any freight they handle

They should also carry any applicable licenses, insurance, and other documentation. In the U.S., this may mean licenses, bonds, and insurance.

How does software simplify their job or facilitate it?

Sea freight software can optimize and streamline most processes for freight businesses. The software will aggregate quotes to help choose the best option for each individual package or freight shipment.

Last-mile delivery features optimize pickup and delivery of nearby packages.

Tracking features make it easy to check on a package, no matter where it is in the world.

Invoices, accounting, and documentation features save time and errors with automation.

WMS features help brokers and forwarders maximize the space they have and keep track of every shipment.

For nearly any aspect of freight management software can make it easier and faster, leaving your team more time to handle the rest of the business.

import export cargo

What is the best freight broker software?

Deciding what software is best for your business depends on your needs and how much automation you’re hoping to see. While Magaya offers a complete system, we know we have some great competitors. Here we’ll review the top five sea freight software in 2019. Not all freight software supports ocean cargo, so this list focuses on those that do.


One of, if not the largest, freight software solutions on the market, DAT’s transport management system supports sea freight and provides a variety of other services. Whether your business focuses on freight brokerage or other freight solutions, this software is up to the task!

It is a well-known product with an appreciated focus on trucks and delivery drivers. DAT supports most any type of shipment and makes for great ocean cargo software.

Customer thoughts:

  • Customers love the progress DAT has made on their software over the years.
  • However, they often mention issues with the software having multiple bugs and crashing unexpectedly. They also have trouble with results loading slowly and difficulty getting support from DAT. Customers have mentioned the price feels high for the value.
  • This is a great, feature-rich software, but keep in mind it doesn’t always run smoothly.


Major auto manufacturers and eCommerce names trust FreightPOP to handle a constant stream of ocean cargo every day. FreightPOP is a freight-focused software that handles maritime cargo just as easily as air and land.

FreightPOP is a newer software that has been pleasing its customers and growing into its customers’ needs since 2016.

Customer thoughts:

  • Users love the ease of creating a shipment and how little input is needed. Efficient quoting techniques significantly decrease the time spent on finding a carrier. Reported bugs and issues are quickly resolved and customer service is readily available for questions.
  • Users find the interface can be cumbersome or miss simple features like an extra address line. It still has a lot of growing pains and glitches during updates, even if they are resolved quickly. There isn’t a mobile option, so all work needs to be done from a dedicated computer.

Kuebix TMS

Kuebix’s TMS saves businesses money with many budget options including a free service. Their feature structures allow a business to pick and choose what features they need to purchase to ensure they get the most out of every dollar they spend.

This software offers solutions for all kinds of cargo and makes great ocean cargo software.

Customer thoughts:

  • This is an agile and effective software that saves its customers money. They love the value they get for what they pay—or don’t! Customers especially love how easy it is to access all their shipment information from one page without going to each carrier.
  • Users do find that small features are buggy or simply don’t exist. Simple things like multiple details on the bill of lading, tracking information, and carrier limitations aren’t automatically included and must be done manually. A variety of customers in various businesses have trouble with features that should be included or easier to handle.
  • This is a great basic software on a budget, but it still leaves a lot of work to be done manually.


Riege Software places an emphasis on freight forwarding with its Scope software. Riege, established in 1985, offers experience and knowledge with handling complicated freight forwarding situations, regardless of the medium you work best with.

Export, import, and book shipments with Scope’s powerful features. Scope highlights solutions as a sea freight software as well as handling air and land.

Customer thoughts:

  • Freight forwarding features are super easy and well-made. The software is thoughtful and carefully planned. And it handles domestic, air, and ocean cargo and freight equally well.
  • Support is easy to find and does a great job helping with any issues that arise.
  • Customers do find that it takes a long time for new features to come out, some features require too much authorization, and the mobile tools don’t work very well. They also feel some features should be included but cost extra.
  • This is a highly specialized cargo software for freight forwarders.

Tailwind TMS

This light and agile freight software that focuses on being a web-based solution. This easy-to-access and implement software will support cargo in any setting with a focus on international support for freight and cargo.

Tailwind offers transparent pricing from $69 per month, per user for Standard to $139 per month, per user for Enterprise.

Customer thoughts:

  • Implemented features work really, really well. Customers found their suggestions were taken seriously and even contributed to new features being added. Support is very responsive and ready to resolve any issues that arise.
  • Some customers feel the pricing isn’t a great value for what they receive.
  • When it doesn’t work, or a feature isn’t perfect, it has hugely impacted customers. This makes the software more of a “hit or miss” in many cases. Otherwise, it can simply have a large learning curve.
  • Customers who have gotten past the learning curve without a hitch have found it to be the perfect solution for them.

colleagues laptop

Built for Modern Freight Management: Magaya

Magaya isn’t just freight software for one purpose or type of freight.

Magaya’s software offers freight brokerage, freight forwarding, inventory and warehouse management, and full ERP solutions. With support throughout the supply chain, Magaya’s software features plug-ins and support across the board, no matter how focused or broad your services reach. You can choose to focus on one software or expand for more automation and support as your business grows.

For freight, the Magaya Digital Freight Platform won’t leave you wanting with features that automate complicated and repetitive tasks. Our key features include:

  • Freight management for air, ground, and ocean
  • Inventory management for freight brokerage
  • Quotation, bookings, online booking requests, and order pickup
  • Tracking and visibility
  • Digital customer experience
  • Customs compliance
  • Rate management 
  • Cloud-based and on-site functionality
  • Magaya’s Electronic Air Waybill (eAWB) makes any air freight easy to manage
  • Multiple support options and on-site training make implementation and questions a breeze
  • Supports English, Spanish, and Portuguese

It’s easy to learn and implement the right ocean freight software for your business with Magaya. Our software doesn’t aim to be the perfect solution for only one aspect of your business, it aims to support every aspect.

Not only are we available for any questions during your demo, but we’ll also still have multiple support options the entire time you’re a customer.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a freight management system?

It is a software that automates many processes in handling freight of any kind. It generates quotes, invoices, and bookings to get cargo to its destination quickly and cheaply. Read more in the first section of this article!

How do freight brokers work?

Freight brokers will help a shipper choose the right carrier and shipment method for them. Afterward, they take the freight for the shipper and act as the shipper for the rest of the shipment. They can even assist with handling global import documentation and regulations.

What does a warehouse management system do?

A warehouse management system (WMS) tracks and optimizes inventory as it comes into a warehouse and moves back out. It can control where inventory is stored and updates inventory as it moves. Some WMSs can monitor minor details like expiration dates to check if a product will expire before reaching its destination.

Advanced WMS solutions can also handle:

  • Accounting and invoice management
  • Integrated last-mile delivery, which allows warehouses to deliver to nearby destinations without the need to ship through a third-party carrier
  • Barcode integration that allows warehouses to scan inventory in and out.
  • eCommerce and multiple storefronts
  • Inventory control, which prevents warehouses from running out of goods
  • Team management to optimize work schedules

Do freight brokers need insurance?

Yes. In the U.S., freight brokers carry a $75,000 surety bond with liability insurance for the type of shipments they are brokering.

What does freight only mean?

Generally, freight-only refers to railways that only handle freight. When your freight is not safe for the road, train transportation may be a better option. Freight-only ensures the option to more quickly move freight that may otherwise have more strict regulations or needs.

What is freight paid basis?

Freight paid basis simply means that the shipper covers the cost of shipment, fees, taxes, and other regulatory costs for the freight. It should be included in the cost of the freight, with the recipient not needing to incur additional costs for it.

Why do we need a warehouse management system?

You will be best served by a warehouse management system (WMS) if you move a lot of inventory in and out of a warehouse. Even for a freight broker, who may not be focused on their warehouse, a WMS may help optimize the process of moving inventory in, out, and throughout the warehouse.

If you manage a busy warehouse, many tasks quickly become too time-intensive to handle manually. A WMS will simplify these tasks and allow your team to work on other tasks.

If you don’t manage a busy warehouse but just need more support with handling inventory, ask about inventory management features bundled into freight software.

What are the benefits of a warehouse management system?

A WMS makes efficient use of a warehouse’s space, handle invoices and connect you with your customers. See “What does a warehouse management system do?” for more details!

If you’re not sure whether a WMS or a freight software is better for you, contact Magaya. We offer both solutions and can help you decide what will be best for you.

What is the difference between warehouse management and inventory management?

  • Inventory management is only a piece of warehouse management. The software may include inventory management features, without offering the full support of a WMS.
  • While a WMS can control nearly every aspect of a warehouse including order management and fulfillment, inventory management focuses on inventory itself.
  • An example of inventory management and control is monitoring stock levels and ordering supplies as they begin to run low.

Warehouse management, on the other hand, deals with every facet of a warehouse including supply, order management, distribution, and quality control. For more on what a warehouse management system does, see “What does a warehouse management system do?”

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