In one sense, the traditional role of the Freight Forwarder has not changed for many years. Importers and exporters alike have relied on their expertise in the ways of the world to facilitate trade and logistics. To do this, the freight forwarder needs depth of knowledge on the regulatory climate, the subtleties of compliance, as well as a working knowledge of events on the ground as goods travel.
The climate of global trade, however, is changing—growing more complex—as governments and industry groups become more stringent in their requirements. New automated filing, new competitors, new trade lanes and technology advances challenge the traditional customs broker and freight forwarder business model going forward.
At the crossroads, many freight forwarders have some fundamental questions as they contemplate the road ahead. What will we provide our customers in the future? How can we continue to grow and win business—profitably? Even with the ever-changing dynamics of global trade, how can we stay ahead of our customers’ requirements, yet reduce costs? How can we differentiate ourselves, stay head of competitors and assure customer loyalty over the long term? These and other issues were explored through interviews with customs brokers and freight forwarders. Their insights expose the choices that must be made as well as point the way to the road ahead for forwarders’ success.
Data and insights for this paper came from interviews with international freight forwarding/customs broker organizations; ChainLink Research’s logistics and manufacturing outsourcing survey; and Business Priorities Research, where participants responded on their needs and spending priorities.
Download this white paper: Brokers and Freight Forwarders at the Crossroads (1.5 MB, PDF)