Don’t Blame Forwarders

Astronomical ocean rates, containers in the wrong locations, tight capacity in trucking, and shortages of critical components. These are the issues facing logistics managers as we enter peak season for many industries. It is often noted that supply chain is strategic while logistics is tactical. Day to day logistics consists of planning, execution, and problem solving. Right now it seems that the job is mostly problem solving. This certainly leads to frustration for all parties.

Changing forwarders or other LSPs (Logistics Service Providers) as a solution may be tempting but futile. LSPs are struggling to serve existing clients as best they can. Sales departments are always looking to grow their customer base and, at the same time, maintain existing accounts. Relationships are still the key ingredient and every LSP that I know is working diligently to manage their business.

Freight forwarders are middlemen and have relationships of their own with ocean and air carriers. The strength of these relationships gives them the bandwidth to provide service to importers and exporters. They work with but don’t control overall capacity and rates.

For reference here is a link to Freight Forwarder Guidance from the BIS (Bureau of Industry and Security) website:

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