As you read in Part One of this article, Armenia is what I dubbed the double brokering capital of the world. I was fascinated by why a small country in the Caucasus with a population of 2.9 million people would have so many double brokers. I figured it would be worth flying to Armenia to learn more. Tom Stawinski, Darek, our videographer, and I set out to find out.
Before we departed from Warsaw to Yerevan, Tom and I had a candid conversation about our thoughts and expectations before arriving in Armenia. To listen to our discussion, click here.
We arrived in Yerevan at 4 a.m. on November 19, 2021. We were picked up by two double brokers who follow FreightCaviar on Instagram. When they found out we were traveling to Armenia; they offered to pick us up and drive us to our hotel. During Daylight Savings Time, the time difference between Chicago and Yerevan is nine hours. During Standard Time, the time difference between the two cities is 10 hours. Most double brokers work between 5 p.m., and 2 a.m. Yerevan time (7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Chicago time). Therefore, the double brokers that had picked us up from the airport had just finished their shift.
From the moment I stepped out of the airport, I was fascinated. The two double brokers who picked us up at the airport were only 21 years old. They began telling us how they both served in the military during the 2020 war against Azerbaijan. After the war, they became double brokers – because the only way to make decent money in Armenia was to be a double broker. Other jobs pay a meager $400 to $700 per month, whereas a double broker’s salary depends on the number of loads he sells. At that time, they were making around $3,000 to $4,000 monthly. Keep in mind that the market was hotter, making it easier to make that much as a double broker. Now, I am guessing the number is lower.
The following morning, I woke up to numerous messages from my Armenian Instagram followers inviting us to grab coffee and to visit their offices. Out of all the countless messages, I chose one at random. We all got ready and set out to meet them at Republic Square in Yerevan, which is essentially the center of the city. (photo) We met our new friends and they took us to a cafe to grab some coffee. At the cafe, they began to tell us more about the whole double brokering operation.
Apparently, there are double brokerages on every corner of Yerevan. A few years ago, most of these offices were affiliated with a specific group in the United States. FreightWaves wrote a few very detailed investigative reports on this group. You can click here to read more. Now, there are many double brokering offices in Armenia that are not affiliated with them.
Our double broker friends began telling us more about their day-to-day operations. Typically, they go on a load board and filter full truckloads by the smallest weight posted. Then they get to work. They begin calling and emailing on all these loads, hoping to score a couple of loads each day. The reason why they call on the smallest weight posted is because they hope it is a partial they can then sell to a straight box truck at a cheaper rate. If they are able to land one or two of these a day, they can easily make a couple thousand dollars per month, which is more than enough. They found this inefficiency in the U.S. logistics market and are capitalizing on them.
Both of them also mentioned that they work with assigned reps from massive 3PLs in the states almost on a daily basis. The American carrier sales reps typically understand that they are double brokers, but as long as the load gets picked up, delivered, and the end carrier is paid, they turn a blind-eye to this.
After our two-hour long conversation at the cafe, our new friends invited us to visit their office and to meet the team. Unfortunately, this is where all of our troubles began. To find out what happened when we arrived, make sure to read the third part of this article, which will be posted on Back the Truck Up next week.