Compiled By Doug Bartholomew Thomas Regional, an industrial information resource that connects buyers and sellers, is offering a new online service enabling buyers to contract for much of their shipping needs online. Using the service, called Thomas Regional Freight Quotes, buyers can request competitively priced quotes for shipping services and complete their transactions in real time -- including scheduling, pickup, shipment, tracking and billing statements. "Freight Quotes completes the purchasing loop for so many of our customers," says Eileen Markowitz, president of Thomas Regional in New York. "Over the past two years, we've added custom quoting and purchasing features to make the purchasing process more efficient. Adding a shipping service like Freight Quotes was a logical move based on what our customers tell us." The service is the result of an alliance between Thomas Regional and freightquote.com, a Midwest freight logistics company whose technology is behind Freight Quotes. Access is provided free through ThomasRegional.com; buyers pay for the shipping services they order. Buyers can obtain quotes from multiple carriers, including LTL, truckload, expedited, local cartage, and intermodal, with a single, online query. Once a carrier is chosen, buyers can schedule a pickup and print a bill of lading. "This technology provides buyers with a complete price before finalizing their purchase," says Tim Barton, CEO of freightquote.com.