Global Freight Forwarding 2019

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Global Freight Forwarding 2019 provides a detailed look at major trends and drivers affecting the freight forwarding market in 2019 and beyond.

Knowing the forwarding market is changing is not enough – leaders need to know where the market is headed, how their competitors are reacting, and the steps to take today so they’re in a position to win tomorrow.

GFF19 examines key trends in forwarding that have and will continue to cause profound transformation. These are:

  • The state and disruption of the global forwarding market.
  • The threats and opportunity tech-enabled forwarders face over the next 5 years.
  • The changing role of freight forwarders in global supply chains.


Key questions the report asks and answers:

  • How is the structure of the market changing with consolidation and new digital entrants?
  • How are volumes, capacity and prices developing?
  • What’s driving growth in the air and sea freight markets?
  • Which factors influence shippers choice of digital vs traditional forwarder?
  • Who are the leading digital forwarders?
  • To what extent is near shoring affecting global trade patterns?
  • What are the strategies of the leading players?
  • How fast will the market grow in the future?
  • What is the adoption rate of digital forwarding services by shippers?
  • How fast is the market growing?


This report contains:

  • Market sizing including 2018 and 5-year CAGR growth rates 2018-2023
  • Extensive, market-wide, survey-based primary research
  • Detailed analysis of the present and future of freight forwarding 
  • Comprehensive profiles of the largest freight forwarding companies
  • An evaluation of technology in freight forwarding

This report contains:

  • Market sizing including 2018 and 5-year CAGR growth rates 2018-2023
  • Extensive, market-wide, survey-based primary research
  • Detailed analysis of the present and future of freight forwarding 
  • Comprehensive profiles of the largest freight forwarding companies
  • An evaluation of technology in freight forwarding

Exclusive highlights

  • Top line figures show shippers are booking 10.2% of their volumes through online platforms
  • Shippers are choosing platforms for quick quotes and easy booking
  • Digital platforms market share set to nearly double in the next 5 years
  • Increases in capacity with softer increases in volumes are putting downward pressure on prices
  • Trade growth is being supressed by mounting trade wars

Exclusive highlights

  • The structure of the market is changing less rapidly than expected
  • The global market grew at 3.8% in 2018, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.7% to 2023
  • Data shows near-shoring is not yet having a significant effect on global trade patterns
  • Volumes increasingly moving from air to sea
  • Scale has only a limited effect on profitability
  • Extensive global trade data included in supplementary materials
Professor John Manners-Bell
John is Chief Executive of Ti, Honorary Visiting Professor at the London Metropolitan University’s Guildhall Faculty of Business and Law and an adviser to the World Economic Forum. He has over 25 years’ experience working in and analysing the global logistics sector. 
Ken Lyon
Ken Lyon is Managing Director of Virtual Partners Ltd and has over 30 years of experience in the transportation industry. Ken specialises in the use of advanced information systems to manage the operations of 3PL (Third Party Logistics), 4PL and Lead Logistics Providers and their trading partner networks.
Thomas Cullen
Thomas is a widely respected writer and has been analyzing the global logistics market for over 15 years. He has edited a number of international publications and written for most of the leading trade publications in Europe. He has written several in-depth reports on a variety of subjects including Automotive and Chemical logistics.
Nick Bailey
As Head of Research, Nick is responsible for all of Ti’s research products, including logistics market and vertical sector reports, as well as Ti’s flagship Global Supply Chain Intelligence (GSCi) market intelligence portal. 
Viki Keckarovska
Viki is a research analyst with vast experience in the design, implementation and analysis of electronic and person-to-person surveys. Having worked across a number of sectors, including retail, luxury goods and FMCG, Violeta is experienced in gaining valuable insights across brand perception, voice of customer and strategic re-positioning intelligence campaigns for B-to-B and B-to-C clients.

Andy Ralls is a quantitative analyst at Ti. He graduated from the University of Southampton with a Mathematics with Finance degree in 2014. In his studies, he chose a final year project on actuarial modelling and forecasting and enjoyed modules on statistical distribution theory, financial mathematics and macroeconomics.


Sergio Korchoff

Sergio is a quantitative analyst at Ti. He graduated from the University of Bath with a Civil Engineering Bachelors and a Masters in Entrepreneurship and Management.  His understanding of business and numerical ability has allowed him to contribute to the GSCi portal, consultancy projects and authors news and briefs for Ti’s Logistics Briefing service.

1.0 The changing market structure and landscape of forwarding.


1.1.1 Freight Forwarding Fundamentals – Globalisation & Trade Patterns.

1.1.2 Regionalisation, near-sourcing and emerging markets.

1.1.3 Regional Supply Chains.

1.2 Global Trade: The Background to Demand.

1.3 Demand & Supply.

1.3.1 Demand & Supply: Air Freight

1.3.2 Demand & Supply Air Freight: Growth by Trade Lane.

1.3.3 Demand & Supply: Sea Freight

1.3.4 Consolidation in Container Shipping.

1.4 Rate Dynamics.

1.4.1 The relationship between rates and margins.

1.4.2 Modal Shift

1.4.3 Rate dilution due to modal shift

2.0 A guide to ‘complete’ supply chain visibility and Control Towers – by Ken Lyon, Ti Advisory Board Member.

2.1 Information in the supply chain.

2.2 Towards supply networks.

2.3 Cloud services.

2.4 Total, global supply chain visibility?.

2.5 The visibility platform…

2.5.1 Case study.

3.0 The Role of Port Efficiency in Maritime Supply Chains – by John Manners-Bell, CEO, Ti

3.1 Container dwell time.

3.2 Operational Processes.

3.2.1 Case Study: Felixstowe IT System Implementation.

3.2.2 Case Study: West Coast Ports Hit by Container Surge.

3.3 Transactional Processes.

3.4 Storage.

3.5 Port Data.

3.5.1 North America.

3.5.2 Europe.

3.5.3 Sub-Saharan Africa.

3.5.4 Middle East

3.5.5 Asia.

3.5.6 India.

3.6 Conclusion.

4.0 Freight forwarding digitalization: existential threat or opportunity? By John Manners-Bell, CEO, Ti

4.1 Traditional inefficiencies.

4.2 Will answers come from digital forwarding?.

4.3 Traction for digital forwarders.

4.4 Changes in the market?.

5.0 How far has freight forwarding come in its digitisation journey?.

5.1 Shippers mostly use basic forwarding services on online freight booking platforms/marketplaces/digital forwarders.

5.2 Online freight booking platforms/marketplaces/digital forwarders are most suitable for SMEs and ad hoc shippers.

5.3 Efficient quotation/booking process is the primary driver behind the uptake of online and digital forwarding services.

5.4 ‘Quick response’ is the most important aspect of the shipping process driving the pickup of online freight booking platforms/marketplaces/digital forwarders.

5.5 ‘Claims management’ and ‘exception management/transportation errors’ are the service areas most in need of improvement.

5.6 Lack of awareness and high level of satisfaction with traditional forwarders are among the main reasons behind shippers’ reluctance to use online freight booking platforms/marketplaces or digital forwarders.

5.7 The key areas of improvement required to make the transition to online and digital forwarding services are ‘competitive rates’ and ‘personal customer support/follow up’

5.8 While the adoption rate of online freight booking platforms/marketplaces/digital forwarders at present is moderate, it is likely to increase over time as the technology matures.

6.0 A Tech Reality Check – by Ken Lyon, Ti Advisory Board Member.

7.0 Global Freight Forwarding Market Size & Growth 2018.

7.1 Growth in the regions.

7.1.1 The year ahead…...

7.1.2 2018-2023 CAGR forecast

7.2 Airfreight forwarding market size & growth 2018.

7.2.1 The year ahead…...

7.2.2 2018-2023 CAGR forecast

7.3 Sea Freight forwarding market size & growth 2018.

7.3.1 The year ahead…...

7.3.2 2018-2023 CAGR forecast

7.4 Asia Pacific.

7.4.1 CPTPP..

7.4.2 Major Markets.

7.5 Europe.



7.5.1 Forecasts.

7.6 MENA..

7.7 North America.

7.7.1 Trade War.

7.7.2 Elsewhere in the region…...

7.8 Russia, Caucasus & Central Asia.

7.9 South America.

7.10 Sub-Saharan Africa.

8.0 Providers.

8.1 Top 20 Global Freight Forwarders by Revenue and Market Shares.

8.2 Top 20 Global Air Freight Forwarders by Revenue and Market Shares.

8.3 Top 20 Global Air Freight Forwarders by Tonnes and Market Shares.

8.4 Top 20 Global Sea Freight Forwarders by Revenue and Market Shares.

8.5 Top 20 Global Sea Freight Forwarders by TEUs and Market Shares.

8.6 Comparative Market Performance.

8.7 Market Strategies & Vertical Sectors.

8.7.1 Vertical Sector Strategies.

8.7.2 Local Heroes.

8.8 Mergers & Acquisitions.

8.8.1 DSV & Panalpina.

8.8.2 CMA CGM & CEVA..

9.0 Provider Profiles.

9.1 Agility.

9.1.1 Operations and Strategic Background.

9.1.2 Finances.

9.1.3 Strategic Outlook.

9.1.4 Agility SWOT Analysis.

9.2 Bollore.

9.2.1 Operations.

9.2.2 Finances.

9.2.3 Bolloré Transport & Logistics.

9.2.4 Strategy.

9.2.5 Bolloré SWOT Analysis.

9.3 CEVA..

9.3.1 Operations.

9.3.2 Strategic Background.

9.3.3 Finances 2018.

9.3.4 Strategic Outlook.

9.3.5 CEVA SWOT Analysis.

9.4 DHL Global Forwarding.

9.4.1 Finances.

9.4.2 Operations & Strategic Background.

9.4.3 Outlook.

9.4.4 DHL Global Forwarding SWOT Analysis.

9.5 DB Schenker

9.5.1 Network and services.

9.5.2 Finances

9.5.3 Expansion efforts.

9.5.4 DB Schenker SWOT Analysis.

9.6 DSV Panalpina.

9.6.1 Strategic Background.

9.6.2 Operations.

9.6.3 Finances.

9.6.4 Panalpina.

9.6.5 Strategic Background.

9.6.6 Finances.

9.6.7 Operations.

9.6.8 Strategic Outlook - DSV Panalpina A/S..

9.6.9 DSV Panalpina SWOT Analysis.

9.7 Expeditors.

9.7.1 Finances.

9.7.2 Outlook.

9.7.3 Expeditors SWOT Analysis.

9.8 Nippon Express.

9.8.1 Finances.

9.8.2 Operations.

9.8.3 Outlook.

9.8.4 Nippon Express SWOT Analysis.

Kuehne + Nagel

9.9.1 Background.

9.9.2 Finances.

9.9.3 Operations.

9.9.4 Outlook.

9.9.5 Kuehne + Nagel SWOT Analysis.

9.10 Sinotrans.

9.10.1 Strategy.

9.10.2 Sinotrans finances.

9.10.4 Sinotrans SWOT Analysis.

9.11 Pantos.

Operations and Strategic Background.

9.11.1 Freight Forwarding.

9.10.2 Finances.

9.10.3 Outlook.

9.10.4 Pantos SWOT Analysis.




30th May, 2019, Bath, United Kingdom – Digital forwarders gaining traction in a global forwarding market characterised by uneven change, new Ti report, Global Freight Forwarding 2019, finds.
  • Traditional forwarders must recognise online forwarding disruptors as a catalyst of change – they will rapidly lose customers looking for better visibility, quotation and easy booking options if they don’t.
  • 49% of shippers that took part in a market-wide survey have used an online forwarding platform
  • By 2023, nearly one fifth (18.7%) of volumes are expected to be booked/shipped through online forwarding platforms, according to survey respondents
  • Global freight forwarding market grew 3.9% in 2018. Growth slowed from the levels seen in 2017, but the expansion is still one of the fastest seen since 2010.

Digital forwarding platforms are rapidly gaining traction in a global forwarding market characterised by uneven change. Technology is creating a vast range of forwarding options available to shippers across the globe from online booking and quotation through to visibility tools and ‘control towers’. However, “perhaps the most salient characteristic of the present freight forwarding market is that it has not seen a greater level of change. Markets and technologies have both developed significantly, but the overall landscape is broadly similar to that in the previous ten years and there appears to be little drive within the sector to change things fundamentally” said Thomas Cullen, one of the report’s co-authors.

Tech-enabled forwarders are a catalyst for change in the global forwarding market, the report finds, but still under question is the extent to which online marketplaces, booking platforms and digital forwarders will fundamentally change the market’s landscape. What does seem certain is that if forwarders do not prove agile in their adoption of new technology, they will find that they rapidly lose customers looking for the types of visibility, quotation and easy booking which digital forwarders can provide.

The conclusion is supported by an extensive market-wide survey carried out for the report, which found that not only had 49% of participating shippers used an online forwarding platform, but that respondents expect nearly a fifth (18.7%) of all their volumes to be booked/shipped through such a platform by 2023.

The report’s co-author, Viki Keckarovska, commented, “Survey results show that, currently, shippers are making use of the more basic services provided by online forwarding platforms, such as booking and requesting quotes. While this indicates that online platforms aren’t yet widely used to process more complex tasks, it isn’t to say that their technology won’t advance and offer shippers more sophisticated visibility tools and value-added services.”

Global Freight Forwarding 2019 also examines market size and growth rates, concluding that, in real terms, the global forwarding market expanded 3.9% in 2018. Although this is down from 8.0% in 2017, it still represents something of a high point – excluding 2017, this was the fastest growth rate since 2010. After a bumper year in 2017, 2018’s growth rate was the result of a rebalancing between inventories and demand as shippers were again more able to opt for sea freight services over air. Growth during 2018 in the global air freight market was 3.8%, while in sea freight the expansion totalled 4.1%.

Ti’s Global Freight Forwarding 2019 report examines key trends in the global forwarding market, including:

  • The state and disruption of the global forwarding market
  • The threats and opportunities tech-enabled forwarders face over the next 5 years.
  • The changing role of freight forwarders in global supply chains.

The report contains:

  • Market sizes and forecasts of global, regional and country level air and sea freight forwarding markets.
  • Detailed analysis of the present and future of freight forwarding.
  • Comprehensive profiles of the largest freight forwarders.
  • An evaluation of technology in freight forwarding.
  • Analysis of Ti’s Online Forwarding Market survey by Ti’s CEO, John Manners-Bell.

For more information regarding the Global Freight Forwarding 2019 report, please click here or contact Sarah Smith at [email protected]


About Ti: Transport Intelligence (Ti) is the leading source of market research and intelligence for the global supply chain and logistics industry. Since its founding in 2002, the company has delivered a range of research products and consulting solutions to the world’s largest retailers, banks, consultancies, shipping lines and logistics providers, and become trusted advisors to global institutions such as the World Economic Forum, the World Bank, the UN and the European Commission.

For any enquiries, please contact Ti’s Head of Commercial Development, Michael Clover +44 (0) 1666 519907 [email protected]


Twitter: @Ti_insight

Linkedin: The Transport Intelligence Forum


This report is perfect for:

  • Supply chain managers and directors
  • Logistics procurement managers
  • Global manufacturers
  • Banks and financial institutions
  • Marketing managers
  • Knowledge managers
  • Investors
  • All C-level executives

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