Switzerland-based Kuehne + Nagel was the largest international forwarder in 2010, handling of nearly a 10th of the world’s air and sea freight business by revenue, according to Transport Intelligence.
European forwarders dominated the market by accounting for six of the top 10 positions. Expeditors International of Washington, the top U.S. forwarder, ranked fifth, followed by Sinotrans, CEVA Logistics, Agility, UPS Supply Chain Solutions and DSV.
The top 10 freight forwarders’ business accounted for 44 percent of the market. Although this is a gain from the top 10 forwarders’ handling of 40 percent of the market in 2006, the industry remains highly fragmented, the London-based research group said.
“Forwarders are enjoying somewhat of a golden period,” said Transport Intelligence Chief Executive John Manners-Bell. “Air and sea volumes are still growing, albeit not as rapidly as last year.”
He said forwarders’ gross margins will expand because of the softening of rates caused by increased sea and air shipping capacity.
Forty-three percent of forwarders said their international customers were outsourcing more of their logistics functions compared to last year; 45 percent were operating as they did last year; and 12 percent were outsourcing less.
In the United States, however, two-thirds of forwarders said their customers were outsourcing as they had in 2009; one-fifth were outsourcing more; and 17 percent were bringing logistics operations back in-house.