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ANALYSIS | SHIPPERS & FORWARDERS


particularly in North America. I think the European and Asian EPCs have the right approach which is to focus on their strengths – engineering, procurement and construction – and leave the logistics to the experts.”


One issue that can arise is that not all


the parties have the experienced people they need. One industry observer commented: “Shipping lines and clients do not always have well-qualified people, but often they will not accept that they do not understand the complexity of the job. Tis means they cannot compare quotes very well because they do not understand what they are looking at or what questions they have to ask. Clients then compare apples with bananas and just go for the cheapest one.” Tere are always some manufacturing


companies that keep the whole logistics process in-house. But there are only a limited number of companies with the resources and experience to run their own logistics operations, so is the role of the forwarder safe? Some say the trend for shippers to


contract directly with the carrier may not spread – or even continue, due to issues to do with financing and liability. If the shippers keep pushing forwarders to drop prices, forwarders might simply refuse to take on the work. Somers explained: “While shippers


may like to negotiate with carriers and other subcontractors, they do not like to book or contract with them directly


because of the liabilities and the financing. It is not exceptional that freight forwarders decline to participate in certain tenders if the terms and conditions from the shippers are too risky and put a strain on profitability. “For shippers, the purely price-driven


negotiations with forwarders can backfire, because more and more forwarders are not willing to accept business under any conditions. Like in any business, companies can only deliver stable services when they are able to also finance their services in a sustainable way at the same time. Painting the picture a bit in black and white here: obviously, some project forwarders start challenging shippers when being asked to deliver an all-around-carefree service at the cheapest rates.”


Increasing professionalism In Spain at least, project forwarding in general has become significantly more professional and has gained a good reputation in the market, according to Madsen. “Over the last ten years our contribution has been recognised more. Customers do not ask why they need us anymore – they see how we contribute and support their business.” He does concede that business


remains very competitive. “We can win or lose projects over a few euros. Tat was not the case before. Tey say they want quality, but in the end it is all about price.”


“It can be good to get EPC


contractors, ourselves and the shipping line engineers together at an early stage.”


Joerg Roehl, Trans Global Projects


“The deepening crisis of the traditional non-asset owning


project forwarding companies will continue, until they find new effective financial and managerial instruments to satisfy an increasingly demanding clientele.”


Marat Yarullin, Fesco


“South Korean and Chinese


contractors have taken a lot of business from American and European companies.”


Ruedi Reisdorf, Fracht


HLPFI10 | 15


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