Bristol is a prime example of how independents can flourish given the right environment and how, if they unite, they can challenge the biggest of multinationals. The same can be said for the freight forwarding communities. We recently ran a feature regarding the members from WCA and how their numbers allow them to compete with many of the big players throughout the industry, showcasing the strength in numbers that independent freight forwarders have. 

The latest industry data reveals that the top-20 global freight forwarders are losing market share in every region of the world and that regional and independent forwarders are leading industry growth. This shows us that that distribution networks can affect serious change in the industry, and we at FORWARDER want to give you the rundown on exactly how the amalgamation of independents coming together can help you and your business and add value to the industry…

The Human Touch 

It is very hard, even for the most sophisticated technology, to replicate the human interaction that is so vital to successful freight forwarding. Independent freight forwarders need to continually contact their clients and provide a quality service and this includes a clear, concise message. Current technology within distribution and networks systems in the UK are not sophisticated enough to react to the complexities involved in freight forwarding, and therefore keeping that human connection is vital for many businesses.


The human touch is just a stepping stone for keeping a functional communication model. Making sure that you can contact drivers and depots throughout the distribution process means that you can provide clients with peace of mind. Independents have far better control over this compared to many of the multinationals due to an ability to implement the latest communication techniques, allowing for a reliable service throughout the distribution process.


Multinationals must stick to rigid delivery techniques that may not suit the end users’ needs. Independent forwarders offer a more flexible attitude towards the overall end-user experience and how they can help them. This means that being flexible about delivery times and location can change people’s mind about who they want to ship their goods with. This flexibility has led to the innovative techniques with same-day delivery, amongst other forms of distribution. 


Flexibility doesn’t end with delivery times and locations. It also extends to cost for the client. Many multinationals would have to battle through a mountain of bureaucratic paperwork before they could budge on price and this delays the distribution process for many others. Independents can negotiate and allow management to understand the reasoning behind price changes. Even if an independent can’t budge on price, the vast, interconnected networks allow them to point you in the direction of a supplier that is perhaps more cost efficient. 


The overall speed that some independent distributors can deliver products can be beneficial for certain clients. Their close relationship with networks throughout the country means that they have a wealth of knowledge unrivalled by their competitors. 

Matt Dailly, Editor, FORWARDER magazine