Logistics Freight forwarding volumes return
Freight forwarders have been trying to remain confident during the rocky economic rebound. However, industry analysts report that demand has recovered at a remarkable rate in 2010, signaling a whole new set of challenges for forwarders and shippers alike.
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The global trading system is experiencing “extraordinary volatility,” and this is being reflected in the performance of the freight forwarding industry, says Jon Manners-Bell of Transport Intelligence, Ltd. (Ti), a London-based logistics and transportation think tank. Demand, capacity, and profitability have all shown huge unpredictability both in the air and sea freight sectors over the past two years, he says, with shipper confidence still being tested.
“In some respects, the past 12 months have been a good time for the sector with demand recovering at a remarkable rate in a number of key routes,” notes Manners-Bell. “The crash in volumes experienced in 2008 and early 2009 appeared to herald a long-term slump in global trade and logistics in 2010. However this slump has not occurred…rather the reverse.”
According to Ti’s Global Freight Forwarding 2010 research report released last month, the freight forwarding market indicates that the current lack of capacity for both air and ocean freight shippers may well continue to be the central problem, however. According to Manners- Bell, the sector was caught in the “perfect storm” of falling volumes and rates in 2008—a storm that is now clearing.
About the AuthorPatrick Burnson Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]
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