The freight forwarding industry plays a pivotal role in the modern economy. Without cost-effective transport, key industries such as health and education would not function. Director General of the British International Freight Association (BIFA), Colin Beumont, notes that “Efficient freight distribution is vital to the economy of any country and is arguably the most important function in society today.”

When you use a freight forwarding service you are utilising their established relationships with carriers as well as their expertise. Modern freight forwarders are much more than shipping agents or freight carriers, they are managing the efficient movement of billions of pounds worth of goods around the world, every day.

A freight forwarder will balance speed, cost, and reliability to get the shipper’s goods on the most economical route and work with carriers to move the goods in a variety of shipping modes such as sea freight, air freight, road freight and rail freight. They do not move the shipment but act as an expert and intermediary in the logistics network.

The influential role freight forwarding has in the social and economic environment means it is crucial for the industry to remain at the top of its game. Market leaders are turning to digital technology to stay ahead of the pack. David Goldberg, CEO of DHL Global Forwarding, says “Digitalization and paperless operations will remain vital,” he says, “as well as operational efficiencies via process automation and robotics.”.

According to Nick Bailey, head of research at the London-based think tank Transport Intelligence (Ti) “Forwarders are using new solutions to track and make much more operational data available to clients through reporting tools and dashboards, greatly improving visibility and offering shippers much greater control and visibility,”. “These are both examples of technology implementations that create potentially huge benefits for forwarders and shippers.”

Ultimately, the short-term future of forwarding will be driven by the use of technology to deliver against the need to improve operational efficiency and enhance “customer-centricity,” contends Bailey. “There’s no established route to success, and forwarders are likely to need a suite of internal and external tools to meet all the demands they’ll face.”

Whilst the Freight Forwarding industry is liable to constant change and adaptation it provides a definite and certain tool for both national and international business.