Let me share some observations about the freight forwarder industry at the end of 2013 based on meetings with forwarders and shippers as well as data from trade publications. Contact us for more info.
- Modal shifts from air to ocean will continue as a cost reduction strategy.
- Airlines have improved load factor and profitability by cutting flights. This means less freight capacity overall.
- Air freight forwarders will focus on higher yielding commodities to make up for weak demand and to better utilize existing capacity.
- Shippers looking for full services forwarder with advanced technology and capabilities but still price sensitive.
- Mega forwarders have advantage in buying power, capacity, coverage, and variety of services. They may be at a disadvantage in unique local markets.
- Current ocean freight overcapacity in APAC-US lane leads to erratic rates.
- Dominated by shipping alliances ocean carriers will reduce capacity and put upward pressure on rates.
- While current spot rates (ocean) may be low they will rise in 2014.