Top 5 Trends in Digital Freight Forwarding

The growth of e-commerce and the proliferation of free trade agreements have paved the way for new trends in digital freight forwarding. 

But what exactly are these market trends taking over the logistics industry?

In this article, we’ll discover five leading trends shaping the digital freight forwarding space and discuss the five key factors driving the growth of the digital logistics market. We’ll also explore the various segments of digital freight forwarding.

What Is Digital Freight Forwarding?

Digital freight forwarding is the use of digital technology (like big data, artificial intelligence) to optimize the transit and management of a shipment. It aims to reduce the dependence on manual processes and put an end to tedious paperwork in supply chain management.

Segments in the Digital Freight Forwarding Market

The different segments in the digital freight forwarding market are:

  • Mode of transport: The digital freight forwarding market is broadly divided based on the medium of freight transportation, i.e., land, sea, or air freight.
  • Function: The critical functions of a freight forwarder, like warehouse management and transportation management, can be tackled through digitization. 
  • Vertical: You can digitize your freight forwarding business based on the vertical you operate in — manufacturing, automotive, e-commerce, healthcare, and more.
  • Market share: The digital freight forwarding market is valued at USD 28.47 billion in 2023 and is expected to grow to a market size of USD 76.24 billion by 2028. The digital freight forwarding industry is expanding its market share at a CAGR of 21.77% between 2023 and 2028.
  • Deployment mode: Based on your company profile and how you deploy your digital freight forwarding tools, they can be in the cloud or on-premises. 
  • Region: The major areas covered by digital freight forwarders are North America (primarily the United States), Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Let’s now explore the key trends powering the digital freight forwarding market.

5 Leading Trends in the Digital Freight Forwarding Market in 2023

Below are the five latest trends in the digital freight forwarding industry:

1. Global Expansion of E-Commerce

Easy accessibility, massive discounts, and a user-friendly experience have led to a surge in online shopping, boosting both domestic and international transportation of goods. 

With e-commerce sales projected to reach USD 6.3 trillion by 2023, traditional freight forwarders are making the switch to digital tools. 

The benefits of digital freight forwarding include:

  • Transparent prices
  • Instant quotes
  • Easy shipment tracking
  • Online documentation
  • Efficient supply chain management

2. Emergence of D2C E-Commerce

D2C (direct-to-consumer) e-commerce refers to a manufacturer directly selling their product to the customer online without any intermediaries. In such cases, customer satisfaction relies on a seamless logistics process (shipping and delivery). 

Online freight forwarding tools offer better supply chain visibility, providing real-time updates about the status and location of the cargo. 

As the D2C market size (in the United States) is poised to grow to almost USD 213 billion by 2024, digital freight forwarding solutions are also set to develop to meet the sector’s needs.

3. Increasing Competition 

Most digital freight forwarders (DFFs) provide all shipment information on a single platform, enhancing the user experience. Some top digital freight forwarder platforms are Shipthis, Flexport, Descartes, Uber Freight, Twill, DHL Group, and Turvo. 

The growing competition among digital forwarders and logistics companies, plus the fragmented market will further power the growth of digital freight forwarding solutions.

4. Rise in Global Trade Deals and Free Trade Agreements

A rise in Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) has prompted the growth of digital freight forwarding technologies within the logistics industry. While the US has signed 14 FTAs with 20 nations, growing markets like India, China, and Singapore boast over 40 FTAs each. 

Such global trade agreements reinforce the importance of international commerce in the aftermath of the pandemic. They drive the growth of online freight forwarding market players.

5. Lack of Transportation Infrastructure and Higher Logistics Costs

The transit of e-commerce shipments involves several cities and countries, increasing the demand for experienced digital forwarders. 

A digital transformation allows these logistics service providers to:

  • Optimize operations
  • Expedite the quotation process
  • Reduce manual process time and costs
  • Offer better supply chain visibility with real-time track and trace updates. 

In fact, traditional freight forwarders are also switching to digital due to the lack of transportation infrastructure and higher logistics costs of shipping. 

But what are the factors driving the growth of digital freight forwarding?

Let’s find out.

5 Factors Behind the Growth of Digital Freight Forwarding

Here are five critical factors promoting the growth of digital freight forwarding in logistics companies:

1. Greater Visibility and Transparency

Digital freight forwarding platforms offer accurate updates about the location of a shipment, providing customers with greater visibility of the product in the supply chain. Access to such transparent data enables better communication and collaboration among all stakeholders.  

Top digital freight forwarding solutions like Shipthis have a track and trace feature that provides real-time visibility and precise updates about your shipment’s progress.

2. Increased Speed and Efficiency

Digitalization of freight forwarding allows faster transportation of goods and quick resolution of any global supply chain issues. You can also automate several repetitive tasks as a digital forwarder, reducing manual process errors, boosting efficiency, and improving customer service.

It also allows for better communication between the various parties involved in the shipment process, like an independent freight forwarder, carrier, and shipper.

3. Better Scalability and Sustainability

Advancement in freight forwarding solutions (like big data and artificial intelligence) lets you optimize and automate tasks like emailing, quote generation, shipment tracking, and more. 

With fewer resources dedicated to operational tasks, you can quickly scale up your logistics company across different geographic regions.

But here’s the thing: 

Logistics transportation accounts for 8% of global emissions, set to become a prime emission sector by 2030. However, as a digital forwarder, you can monitor your business’ emissions, spot areas for reduction, and undertake environment-friendly measures to optimize the logistics process.

4. Enhanced Flexibility and Agility

A digital transformation lets you plan for any supply chain disruptions in real-time and implement solutions on the go. It also enables you to anticipate potential issues and develop workarounds in advance.

As a result, you can optimize your logistics company operations and undertake all freight forwarding services seamlessly.

5. Improved Customer Experience 

Digitization updates customers about their shipments, including easy search, booking, and tracking. 

Unlike a traditional forwarder, a digital freight forwarder always keeps customers in the loop, offering real-time updates and efficient grievance redressal. This helps enhance your customer experience.

Wondering how to further boost customer service interactions?

You can easily connect and collaborate with customers through Shipthis’ customer engagement portal.

Stay Ahead of the Curve with Digital Freight Forwarding

Digitalization of freight forwarding is unavoidable, and emerging market trends will be vital in keeping your business on the front lines of the global supply chain. 

However, the scope of digitalization for a traditional forwarder will depend on their readiness to accept and implement technological advancements. 

Are you ready to fast-track your freight forwarding business?

You can start by undertaking simple changes with a versatile digital freight forwarding platform — like Shipthis

Sign up today for a free demo to learn how your business can evolve to keep up with the times.

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