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The latest industry data reveals that the top 20 global freight forwarders are losing market share in every region of the world, and that regional and independent forwarders are leading industry growth.

It was all supposed to be so straightforward. Industry analysts, multinational freight forwarder executives and MBA business students all fell into line in 2009, predicting that the global downturn would largely kill off the independent forwarding sector and consolidation would leave the global logistics companies with a rapidly growing and dominant role that would never ben reversed.

Hermann Ude, head of DHL Global Forwarding, publicly stated in 2009 that smaller forwarders would collapse and many would “just disappear”.

Mr Ude, in fact, has been proved wrong, as the independent sector is more vibrant and successful than ever, despite the global economic woes of the past few years.

The rise of the independent agents has now been borne-out by a range of statistics that proves that, far from shrinking, the independents are growing faster and taking market share from the multinationals.

As an example, the latest report from WorldACD, a premier source of data and analysis used by airlines around the world, shows the multinationals are losing air freight market share globally.

The report, which analyses the air freight performance of freight forwarders, states: “Of the three distributor groups (global top 20, regional top 20 and smaller forwarders), the global top 20 lost volume almost everywhere, and lost market share in all regions. Even in the Middle East, where this group recorded 4% growth, its share dropped as regional forwarders’ volumes grew strongly.”

Other areas paint a similar picture: all regional top 20s show a growing share in their “home” areas.

The “smaller forwarders” group improved its share on all continents, except in the Americas. Their growth was almost remarkable in MESA (up 16%) and Asia Pacific (+10%).

“As a percentage of their total volumes – with the global top 20 decline, the cargo airlines from Asia Pacific really stand out. This group showed the largest shift towards regional top 20 and smaller forwarders: from 58% of their total volume two years ago, to 64% today, partly due to their intra-Asia volume shares.”

However, it is not only in air freight market share that the multinationals are underperforming. A report released in April revealed: “The worldwide top 20 forwarders as a group continue to lose revenue: down 8.3% in US$ for January to April 2013, compared with the same period in 2012.”

The revenue for independent forwarders was more than 5% better.



First published in The Voice

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  • Rahul Gopinadhan

    October 06, 2013 at 7:01 am

    Its exactly true but not able to identify why Biggies fall on Market share and the small time players peep in run away with a lion share

  • Ryan Hodges

    October 07, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    Thank you for an excellent article.