The Top Challenges Facing the Freight Forwarding Industry


There have been significantly more mergers and acquisitions in recent years in freight forwarding, including “TFI International’s $800-million acquisition of UPS Freight; Uber Freight’s $2.25-billion purchase of Transplace; DP World’s $1.2-billion purchase of U.S.-based Syncreon and $890-million purchase of South Africa’s Imperial Logistics; and the GEODIS purchase of Texas-based Velocity Freight Transport,” according to Logistics Management. Such activity demonstrates that centralized freight forwarding is essential to managing the growing complexity of these forwarders, and consolidation of forwarding services can help solve the top challenges facing the freight forwarding industry and shift toward automation in logistics, including the following.

1. Increasing Competition in Freight Forwarding

New startups and expanding service opportunities, combined with lower barriers to entry into the shipping and transportation market are rapidly increasing the competitive nature of the industry. This is one of the leading challenges facing the freight forwarding industry and it is all bringing more companies into the equation. This, in turn, makes it difficult for forwarders to stay profitable and maintain a competitive advantage. 

2. Limited Visibility Into Real-Time Container Capacity and Location

Poor tracking updates and incomplete monitoring allow for missed opportunities to continue to be an issue. Additionally, delays, disruptions, missed deliveries, damaged packages, and lost cargo can also be an issue with limited visibility and poor real-time tracking. Real-time tracking and status updates have become an expectation rather than a wish in the market today.

3. A Talent Shortage

Worker and driver shortages continue to be a leading challenge facing the freight forwarding industry. Not enough workers on docks and in warehouses can lead to bottlenecks and loading/unloading delays. Not enough drivers on the road quickly lead to capacity issues and tighter deadlines,  as well as longer delivery timelines across the board. Embracing RPA in supply chain logistics is crucial to overcoming these shortages. 

4. Changing Regulations Affecting Global Trade

As more and more regulations come into play for domestic and global shipping and logistics, the stress on the supply chain only intensifies. From customs and inspections to duties and taxes to shipping limits and regulations, there are many issues that can affect global trade and, by extension, local supply chain markets as well. Rules must be upheld, so freight forwarders need to know what current requirements exist.

5. Cyberattacks

The continued demand and focus on e-commerce, digital shipping industry, online marketing, and fast delivery promises increased exposure to cyberattacks and threats from outside sources. These attacks can ruin logistics and supply lines, drain finances from essential budgets, and undermine the entire supply chain network as a whole. Protecting the technical side of the supply chain is as important as any other security measure.

6. Increasing Customer Service Demands

Along with the rise of e-commerce, on-demand tracking, real-time updates, and personalized shipping and delivery options come a whole new level of customer service expectations. Customers will no longer tolerate sub-par possibilities and services. Freight forwarders must work with shippers and carriers who can maintain high levels of customer satisfaction while also meeting and exceeding expectations. Overcoming this challenge facing the freight forwarding industry relies heavily on customer-driven services.

7. Speed of Transit and Rising Transportation Costs

Another challenge that freight tender and logistics managers must contend within the modern supply chain is the volatility of the market and sudden changes in expense and general rate increases. Monitoring fees, rates, and trends make it easier to plan for additions and budget accordingly, even during uncertain times in market economies.

Overcome the Challenges Facing the Freight Forwarding Industry With a Digital, RPA-Driven Workflow

The benefits that can come from implementing a centralized freight forwarding setup or platform are essential to managing the complicated and multi-faceted industry that is transportation and freight management. Dealing with the most common challenges facing the freight forwarding industry remains at the heart of supply chain management. 

Proper organization of forwarding services and appropriate consolidation and automation of critical services can make overcoming significant challenges facing the freight forwarding industry much simpler and much more manageable. These and other common freight forwarding challenges can be less of an issue with an RPA focused workflow and platform in place. Overcoming challenges facing the freight forwarding industry is easy with the right set of tools and the right guidance. Contact RPA Labs today for a free demo to get started!

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