Air Transport World

Broadening horizons; air freight forwarders are merging and expanding to survive in today's global market. (includes brief article on the new Airforwarders Association)

Used to be that you could hardly throw a rock around any big airport without hitting a freight forwarder. The movement of cargo had a very established hierarchy and most of it involved forwarders. That was before the integrated carriers came on the scene. And now, the airlines have started to realize that they can deal directly with a lot of their own cargo shippers.

It can be said with a fair degree of safety that the big changes in the cargo industry impacting on the freight forwarders industry will continue to evolve into the 1990s.

According to Geoff Bridges, Vp-cargo at Air Canada, freight forwarders Will have the choice of staying in this market but expanding horizontally" in the coming decade, "utilizing buying muscle to force lower rates from airlines or becoming consolidating intermediaries. The number of mega-international forwarders will be in single figures by the end of the decade."

Bridges told the World Trade and Distribution Conference in Brussels that the smaller forwarder operations that survive will have exercised one of the following options: Identifying and exploiting a niche, becoming a satellite of a major forwarder or being a true agent of an added-value carrier offering a total range of services."

Paul Turgeon, manager-transportation systems for the Georgia Freight Bureau, said that freight forwarders "should be coming back stronger [but] with more mergers of smaller fowarders. The larger forwarders will be expanding, absorbing the smaller ones."

Helping the forwarders will be a greater awareness of the importance of cargo by the airlines, with the forwarders providing services to the airlines. …

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