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ANALYSIS | SHIPPERS & FORWARDERS


STATE OF FLUX


Will freight forwarders survive as shippers increasingly go direct to carriers and equipment suppliers? Opinion is divided on the long-term future role – or even survival – of the traditional forwarders that handle heavy lift and project cargoes.


BY YVONNE MULDER O


ne of the consequences of the global economic downturn ten years ago and the collapse in the price of oil in 2014 has been the changing role of the


shipper in the logistics process. As they seek to maintain profits or simply balance the


books, EPCs, OEMs and other shippers have examined all areas of their business in an effort to reduce costs. Transport and logistics is an obvious place to look,


especially as this is often an outsourced activity. It seems some shippers have asked themselves “what does the forwarder do except take a commission?” Consequently these shippers have increasingly pressurised


10 | HLPFI10


the forwarder to do the work for a much lower price, or bypassed the forwarder altogether and gone direct to the carrier or equipment supplier. “Money has been the driver,” explained Grant Wattman,


president and chief executive, Agility Project Logistics. “A lot of people say that technical and commercial considerations are equally important, but that is not really true. Shippers think forwarders are making lots of money on the job and they want to squeeze it out. Tere can be a real lack of trust and transparency between shippers and the forwarder community.” Philippe Somers, senior vice president industrial projects at Geodis, agreed that customer requirements have changed.


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