In 2011, increases in customer demand for services and technology may accelerate the consolidation and expansion of freight forwarders. Along with other industry trends, this could push forwarders toward increased global service standards.
Today, there are more than 8,000 freight forwarders around the world, and, according to recent industry reports, the top 10 forwarders control almost 43 percent of the market. This represents an increase of 3 percentage points over the previous three years. The remaining 57 percent of the market is comprised of thousands of niche regional and local providers.
This shows us that customers are looking for all-encompassing service, from a single provider, regardless of the region. And while some global forwarders have a presence in key economies, most are focused on regions and trade lanes. For example, Latin America and Africa are still dominated by local and regional forwarders.
However, as key global markets evolve, so will customers’ expectations. They’ll demand access to full service, owned-operations or strategic alliances in major trade lanes. As demand shifts, forwarders with global operational processes and the ability to offer fully integrated door-to-door supply chain solutions will be best positioned to meet those expectations.
In 2011, we will also likely see a heightened focus and more regulation around security. Shippers will want to ensure they are working with a freight forwarder that is compliant with those mandates and has a full understanding of the new regulations.