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International Forwarding Association Blog » International freight forwarding

International freight forwarding

Navigating the Challenges of Small and Medium-Sized Freight Forwarders

Marked by intricate networks and bustling trade routes, the European freight forwarding landscape is a realm of both opportunities and challenges. While the industry giants seem to sail smoothly, small and medium-sized forwarders often find themselves navigating rougher waters. These firms predominantly grapple with three core challenges: a limited technological infrastructure, pronounced vulnerability to market fluctuations, and restricted access to global networks.   Limited Technological Infrastructure: Problem and Potential In a world where immediacy is the norm, advanced technological tools such as real-time tracking and automated booking systems have emerged as essential assets. Yet, due to financial constraints, small and… Read more

Container Shipping – Adaptive Strategies for the Future

The flourishing container shipping industry, integral to the European logistics network, has prompted an uptick in demand for new, expansive vessels. Forecasts for 2023 to 2025 suggest that the freshly minted fleet will comprise 27% of the total operational capacity. This investment in new vessels is primarily driven by anticipated future demand and the enhanced efficiency of larger ships. Within the timeframe of 2023 to 2024, it is projected that around 700 ships will be completed, with a further 150 or so anticipated in 2025. Notably, Neo-Panamax size vessels account for about 45% of these orders while the most substantial… Read more

Strategies for Freight Forwarders to Combat Traffic Congestion

Congestion presents a considerable challenge for today’s world, albeit an unavoidable one. The repercussions translate into extended journey durations for freight transporters, a dip in vehicle usage, and a reduction in fuel efficiency. The costs associated with running a fleet climb, market reach diminishes, freight charges increase, and the predictability of delivery and pick-up schedules for truck operators suffers. However, European freight forwarders can counteract these challenges through strategies such as implementing data-driven decision-making, scheduling off-peak deliveries, employing dynamic pricing and incentives, establishing urban consolidation centres, and freight demand management.   Data-Driven Decision-Making One effective approach to addressing traffic congestion… Read more

4 Advantages of Embracing Digital Freight Forwarding

Today’s supply chains are being impacted by multiple disruptions, but it’s not all negative. The advent of digital innovation is one example expected to enhance precision, nimbleness, cost-efficiency, and security in the logistics arena. Its adoption by an increasing number of businesses is reshaping the landscape of the sector. In 2022, the value of the digital freight forwarding sector was a smidgen below $7 billion, and it’s projected to almost triple by 2027. If the current momentum persists, these digitally-centric approaches could fundamentally alter the trajectory of the European logistics sector. Let’s look at the most important benefits of Digital… Read more

Benefits of Using a Local Freight Forwarder for International Shipping

International shipping can be a complex process due to factors such as time zones, language barriers, and regulatory and customs compliance. This is especially true for businesses that are new to importing and exporting. One of the main decisions they should make is whether to work with a global or local logistics provider. While global operators have more resources and manpower as well as extensive networks, using a local freight forwarder also offers a number of benefits. From local expertise and personalized support to greater flexibility and faster response times, here are some benefits to pairing with a local logistics… Read more

Regulations and Rules for Shipping to the Middle East

Whether shipping for a small retailer, mid-sized business, or a multinational corporation, there are some specifics to learn about when exporting goods to Middle East markets. To help you get started, here are some regulations and paperwork required when shipping goods to your target markets.   Import Regulations Most countries in the region require that shippers present a Certificate of Origin, along with packing lists, commercial invoices, bills of lading or waybills, and insurance coverage. When shipping to the United Arab Emirates and Oman, freight forwarders need to present a Certificate of Origin for items valued over $100. For Qatar,… Read more

Routes for Ukraine’s Wheat

Alternative Export Routes for Ukraine’s Wheat

Since the early days of the conflict, Ukraine’s ports have remained blocked due to Russian ships and mines. There are 80 ships currently stranded, some carrying cargo, others – empty, with crews having fled from Ukraine. The country’s biggest port, the port of Yuzhne has been idle for the last three months, with thousands of workers staying home. How Could Shipping Be Restored?   Boosting Rail and Road Capacity Earlier in May, the European Commission announced plans to boost rail and road capacity and unblock Ukrainian borders so that grain can be shipped. Yet, bottlenecks still remain, and mainly the… Read more

Post-Pandemic Strategies for Forwarders

Winning Post-Pandemic Strategies for Forwarders

Amidst the pandemic, experts predicted that some commodities were headed for a quick recovery, examples being fast-recovering goods such as minerals, gravel, stones, and agricultural products. Others are neutral or slow-recovering due to a mix of market forces. Fast-Recovering Commodities Goods that are faster to return include pharmaceutical products, animal feed, food and grocery items, and agricultural and basic commodities. The main factors of market growth are the fact that they are considered national priority, are in-demand, and are more easily available due to the acceleration of e-commerce. Neutral and Slow-Recovering Commodities Some products are considered neutral when it comes… Read more

Freight Forwarders Strategies to Prepare for Climate Disasters

With global warming, supply chain networks face considerable risks due to climate disasters, severe weather, and the threat of future pandemics. When wildfires rage, ice covers the roadways, and high winds howl, many businesses are forced to shut down operations. Supply chains have to do the exact opposite and find alternative ways to ship commodities. Consumers expect small shipments to arrive on time even in harsh weather. What is more, shipping cardo is even more important during severe weather and climate disasters when essential goods are blocked in affected areas. As threats are constantly evolving, the shipping industry must find… Read more

Types of Packagings to Ship Perishable Goods

Plenty can go wrong when shipping perishables and trying to protect them against spoilage, staleness, humidity, and extreme temperatures. There are different packagings and packs to use when transporting perishable items, including cold packs, insulated food shippers, solid plastics, and foam brick.  Types of Packaging Cold packs are a safe and simple solution to ship perishables so that they stay cold during transit. They keep constant temperatures inside containers and boxes of pharmaceutical, beverage, and food products. When packing, it is a good idea to test the number and size of packs required. A larger quantity and large-sized packs help… Read more

Over-Reliance on Import of Drug Supply and the Way Forward

The coronavirus pandemic hit vital industries across the globe and disrupted supply chains due to restrictions and stay-at-home orders. The pharmaceutical supply chain has also been affected by lockdowns and restrictions imposed in India and China where major pharmaceutical producers operate. Drop in Supply due to Over-Reliance Supply from pharmaceutical manufacturers in China has dropped significantly over the last couple of months. This is a source of concern in light of estimates by the WHO that China produces about 1/5 of active pharmaceutical ingredients used by producers.  The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency announced that this figure could… Read more

Safety Practices to Follow When Shipping Medical Equipment

Shipping medical devices and equipment requires careful packing, crating, and unloading by following safety procedures as to avoid damage. European logistics companies often ship medical equipment for research and medical facilities, manufacturers, private practitioners, clinics, and hospitals. Types of Medical Equipment Hospitals and other healthcare facilities use different types of medical devices and equipment such as gastroscopes, ultrasound, X-ray units, oxygen concentrators, and patient monitors. Surgical units require instruments such as Bonney and tissue forceps, skin glue, rake and malleable retractors, and linear cutters and staplers. Hospitals need specialized equipment such as energy systems, clips and staplers, cystoscopic equipment, and… Read more

Safety Practices When Shipping High-Value Items

Freight forwarders often ship valuable items that require special handling. From pick-up to transportation and delivery, valuables are made extra secure through digital video recording systems, armored transportation, extra insurance coverage, and security professionals. Factors to Take into Account Different factors should be weighed in when shipping high-value goods, including current events, customs, legislation, geography, and transportation infrastructure. Other factors that play a role are distance to the point of delivery, business practices, and the types of valuables to be shipped. Securing Cargo There are different ways and materials to secure valuable cargo as to protect items and ensure safe… Read more

Logistics Risks That Freight Forwarders Face

Logistics providers face different challenges and operational and strategic risks due to factors such as instability, terrorism, conflicts, and economic downturns. Freight forwarders face logistics and transportation risks associated with increasing globalization, and it is important to develop and implement strategies to safeguard transports. Main Logistics Risks The main logistics risks that companies face include mergers and acquisitions, lack of safety and security procedures, theft and hijacking, and non-performance and carrier delays.  Logistics providers also face risks associated with bankruptcy of transport providers, liability for delays and loss, and new safety and security legislation. In general, operational risk refers to… Read more

Pros and Cons of Different Types of Freight Transport

Logistics services providers offer and use different modes of transportation to move goods, including rail, road, air, and sea transport.  All modes have pros and cons in terms of safety, speed, reliability, cost, and risk of damages. Rail Transport Rail freight has benefits over other transportation options, one being that it is a cost-effective solution for long distance transits. It is also a green logistics solution in light of the fact that rail transport emits 77 percent less than road freight. It is also a more dependable transportation option in bad weather such as heavy rain or snowfall. On the… Read more

Safety Measures and Precautions for Cargo Theft Prevention

With globalization and the ever increasing interdependence of European economies, cargo theft has become a real threat. Criminal groups often target high-value goods such as pharmaceutical products and mobile devices, and the number of incidents has increased during the last couple of years. Given that billions are lost to cargo theft each year, prevention is the key to ensuring safe transit. There are some proactive steps that IFA members can take to protect cargo from getting stolen. Who Is at Risk Forwarders that serve the textile industry should be extra vigilant because clothing and apparel are more difficult to trace… Read more

Everything you need to know about Dry Vans

Dry van shipping remains the most popular and widely used freight forwarding method used for the international freight services provided by the members of IFA. The reason is that this type of transport where enclosed trailers are used for complete loads, pallet shipping, European groupage services and all kinds of other freight forwarding needs is so popular, is the fact that it is highly available and offers multiple benefits both for the companies from the European logistics network but for their customers as well. What exactly is a Dry Van? A dry van trailer is used for transporting large quantities… Read more

The new See-Think-Act truck monitoring system will change international freight forwarding

A new system for the blind zones of the trucks, which are not visible in the rear view mirrors was presented during the IAA Nutzfahrzeuge 2018 event. The German producer ZF Friedrichshafen AG introduced its innovative monitoring system in Hannover. It will help the truck drivers to prevent possible collisions with other vehicles, cyclists or pedestrians during turns. This system can help make the trucks used by the forwarders throughout Europe safer for the other members of the traffic, especially in urban settings.   The system includes sensors which are placed on the right side of the vehicle which will… Read more

Benefits of freight transportation provided by Forwarders throughout Europe

One of the main tasks international freight forwarding has is the crescent necessity of high quality in logistics services. The customers’ expectations and requirements increase all the time and European logistics association is supposed to respond to these requirements. The high quality is achieved thanks to the full customer’s awareness, the availability of detailed information about the shipment status in case of transportation of complete loads, small shipments and distribution logistics. Another factor for high quality achievement is the strict adherence to the deadlines for the delivery and offer of both: traditional and express fright. Here we will also review… Read more

Utilizing drones for storage and for regional deliveries – another innovation in the activities of the European freight forwarders

Following the long-distance freight forwarding, the final stage of each shipment is from the central or regional office to the end destination. This is the stage in which the use of drones has been widely discussed recently. The international freight forwarders consider every new technology as potentially useful when it can be used for shortening the delivery time and lowering the prices for the services. The drones can also be used in the warehouses of the freight forwarders which also can help improve the speed and limit the need for personnel which again helps reduce the final price for the… Read more