Analysis: Was this Prediction from 2009 that "Small Freight Forwarders Will Just Disappear" Correct

Back in 2009, Air Cargo New published this article, Small Freight Forwarders Will Just Disappear as a recap of statements from DHL Global Forwarding to the Financial Times regarding a dark future looming for small freight forwarders.

The comments created a lot of immediate reaction, understandably. But given the perspective of 8 years worth of time passing, we'd thought it'd be interesting to take another look to see if the statements have held up.

The short answer is no, small freight forwarders have not wholesale disappeared from the market. But, it is fair to say the business is more challenging and competitive than ever.

For one, forwarders face more competition with service providers who traditionally kept to their part of the logistics process - with carriers and warehouses for example, now also offering forwarding services.

The available logistics technology also has changed greatly. Forwarders employing tech are able to operate more efficiently and provide better service than those who do not. This is a key differentiator in an increasingly commoditized market.

Markets in general have changed as well. Consider how online retail has affected global supply chains in the last 8 years, as well as the continued instability of the ocean shipping market.

Small forwarders still play a key roll in the success of the global supply chain despite all these fundamental changes.

So while small freight forwarders still hold an important place in the global logistics supply chain, there is more pressure than ever on their business. Keeping ahead of the curve and applying the available technology will be key to their continued success.

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