Forwarding now 'a chore – and a stressful one' – having to face angry shippers
Shippers with ‘unreasonable’ expectations are causing headaches for forwarders – big and small. Exhausted forwarders have ...
Freight forwarders have been slow to catch on to the rise and rise of e-commerce, thus preventing smaller retailers from being able to roll out their products globally, according to David Emerson, group sales and marketing director for SEKO Logistics.
“Where most companies have been focused on traditional freight forwarding, five or six years ago others saw that e-commerce would change the business. The biggest store footprint is the website: a different model to bricks and mortar retailers.”
He said SEKO saw that it could use its infrastructure to become retailer warehouses.
In September, SEKO launched Omni-Channel Logistics, which provides retailers with a service that includes sales website and software, as well as delivery and returns. With seven warehouses dotted around the world, customers in one country can set up sales in another country and provide fast delivery almost anywhere, said Mr Emerson.
Some UK companies which were trying to compete in e-commerce in the US had lost sales through slow delivery times.
“We can get British brands up and running in the US in 60 to 90 days,” he said.
SEKO buys the final delivery from the integrators – and claims to make no money there. “You can’t make money on the delivery, and we don’t,” he said.
However, returns is a key offering, as is the freight forwarding, he added.
“Customers tend to give us the freight forwarding too, and you are touching at every point. It’s pay-as-you-use, but a bundled service, so in isolation the margins would be thin, but it’s for everything. Some of our customers do it themselves in their own country and then we run it elsewhere.”
The company has three warehouses in the US, two in Europe, one in Hong Kong and one in Australia, and plans to open another in Dubai next year – and it is looking for more space in Hong Kong.
“We have seen big growth in Shanghai, but it’s not an easy market to go into. China has challenges for producers, and we have to move cautiously. And e-commerce changes so fast.”
Mr Emerson said the competition had been slow to understand what logistics service providers could do for retailers looking for an entire package.
“Most of the competition hasn’t really grasped the nettle of this marketplace, which is why we have invested in it. Yes, the integrators do, but we also have our own developers and software and can offer the full product.”
WestJet will 'disrupt' Canada with three 737Fs, but rivals aren't scared
West coast ports suffering as US container imports plunge by 37%
Cost-cutting FedEx Express to retire MD-11s for B767s and 777s
The 'mother of all BAFs' looms for shippers as green targets advance
First shipper uses new land-air corridor ex-India for Bangladesh exports
Carriers turn their gaze back to scrubbers as voyage results tumble
Maersk idles more ships while NOOs see a rebound in demand
Billund sees launch of Maersk Air China link – 'a start-up on steroids'
CMA CGM eyes car-carrier market boom as liners are ready to invest
DSV buys in Arizona to boost services and cross-border LatAm trade
Shippers advised to give strike-hit port of Hamburg a miss
The parcel empires strike back as smaller players take stock
Comment on this article
Lou RollDecember 09, 2013 at 2:11 pm
Also see this interesting and significant illustration:
“Alibaba invests $361 million in appliance maker’s ‘big goods’ logistics”:
steven ingelsDecember 09, 2013 at 3:59 pm
For the gurus…
What is the projected wt per shipment?
What is the projected profit per shipment?
In 5 years what % of the domestic and international market will it capture?
Ethan BuchmanDecember 12, 2013 at 11:09 am
The article talks about e-Commerce and the impact on freight…but why are freight forwarders immune to actually selling online? Even more advanced forwarders generally only have a form you fill out to request a quote, which only then leads to a phone call or email with the quote. I wrote about thi last week on my blog: http://blog.freightos.com/day-delivery-check-day-quoting/