Christopher Hewlett

UK freight software supplier Forward Solutions has been acquired by a consortium of three local freight forwarders.

Described as a reaction in part to the increasing dominance of software giants, as well as the emerging breed of digital-first forwarders, three UK forwarders have formed a holding company to acquire Forward Solutions from its current owner Freight Software Group.

The newly created Forward Computers Alliance is comprised of two existing Forward Solutions clients – Woodland Group and Cardinal Partnership – as well as Davies Turner, which “has been assessing the freight software company’s products as part of an exercise aimed at enhancing its existing freight management systems that have been developed in-house to date”.

“I was excited when two existing clients and a potential client made it clear that they were keen to combine forces to invest in the business and utilise their huge practical experience in the operation of freight forwarding and supply chain management services to influence the design of next-generation systems,” Freight Software Group chief executive Christopher Hewlett (pictured above) said.

“The development will likely result in an increase in the number of staff employed by Forward Computers, which will remain headquartered in Nottingham, whilst having no negative impact on the existing IT structures of the three joint venture partners,” he added.

Brian Hay, chief executive of the Cardinal Partnership and speaking on behalf of the new owner, moved to allay potential fears existing Forward Solutions customers may have about the new ownership.

“Those clients, many of which have business relations with the joint venture’s three owners already, can rest assured that Forward Computers trading under the Forward Solutions brand, will continue to be run as a completely independent business, with client confidentiality assured,” he said.

Forward Solutions

Mr Hay (above) added that the purchase would allow the forwarders to help the freight software supplier to develop products to fit the rapidly changing supply chain landscape.

“As co-owners, we look forward to supporting Forward Computers in further developing its range of software solutions that help its clients adapt to an ever-changing landscape.

“With hundreds of years’ collective experience in providing multimodal solutions across air, sea, road, and rail freight, the three partners understand how the industry is evolving, and how freight management software needs to evolve alongside to offer a range of processes and systems that deliver success,” he said.

Freight Software Group acquired Forward Computers Ltd in 2019, with its products rebranded to trade under the Forward Solutions name in 2021. Freight Software Group will continue to own BoxTop Technologies.

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