In response to claims that the freight forwarding sector is in the midst of extinction, international freight forwarder Chadd Blunt has urged professionals to put a stop to scaremongering tactics and to focus instead on helping the industry navigate the current Coronavirus crisis.
Chadd, managing director of Birmingham-based Millennium Cargo, has criticised logistics experts for repeatedly publishing ominous accounts reports which are not only fuelling increased negativity within the industry but are also inflicting further harm to the supply chain by causing importers and exporters to go underground.
As with countless other industries freight forwarding has become another causality of the pandemic in recent months as COVID-19’s world tour tightens its grip on the global industry machine, causing an unprecedented impact on supply chains across the world as a result of hiked air and sea freight costs, labour shortages due to countrywide lockdowns, and global travel restrictions.
Such significant disruptions to industry have factored into projections of a $2 trillion downturn in the global economy this year made by the United Nations. Yet despite restrictions likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future, the transport and logistics sector still sits at the very forefront of the world’s pandemic response and remains integral in keeping the global supply chain moving – offering a glimmer of hope to forwarders.
In the midst of the negative reports Blunt has suggested that freight forwarding still very much has a permanent place on the round table of logistics and has called upon importers and exporters looking to move goods to seek the advice of a professional before taking ominous reports at face value.
He commented: “Every industry is having to adapt to the current situation, and freight forwarding is no different. Yet industry ‘experts’ are insistent on continuously painting a bleak picture of the future rather than attempting to work together to provide viable solutions to help freight forwarders navigate through the current crisis.
“Additionally, false information has also become the latest symptom of the Coronavirus crisis and unfortunately I have seen extensive reports pushing misinformation on the basis that it is physically impossible for goods to be moved due to the current restrictions in place, when this is significantly wide of the mark.
“Of course, it’s no secret that the widespread and comprehensives measures to help halt COVID-19 have had a major impact on the exchange of goods throughout the world and we are all facing one of the most important crises in a generation.
“Lockdowns, travel bans, falling demand, labour and limited warehousing capacity are all causing unprecedented issues to the supply chain and as such business as usual has swiftly become a thing of the past.
“But, in spite of the hardship that we are all experiencing, global shipping is however still very much in operation and our peers continue to work tirelessly to keep goods moving and despite the reports there are still a wealth of opportunities out there.
“Some forwarders within the industry are even reporting that road services between China and Europe are now offering similar transit times to air cargo operations, and as such is mitigating the disruption caused by the inflated costs and prolonged delays for air and sea services out of China.
“So, rather than signal an end to the freight forwarding sector, it is more likely that the impact of COVID-19 will re-shape global supply chains and change the way goods are moved. In particular, single sourcing is set to become an outdated practice and as such, the diversification of a business’s supply chain will become the norm in order to mitigate the fallout from any future disruptions.
“The traditional freight forwarder still makes up an integral part of the logistics machine. In fact, during crises the service we provide is paramount as our role in such times is to be pragmatic and to find solutions to difficult problems – whether they be locating air cargo in the midst of the current capacity crunch or attempting to navigate past the stagnant flow of goods from China to Europe.
“Equally, the importance to logistics in the makeup of the global economy has never been more significant than it is now. As such, Coronavirus isn’t likely to spell the end of the traditional international freight forwarder but rather further highlight their importance in providing companies with a quicker and more cost-effective solution to the shipping process.
“Inevitably the industry is going to have to adapt and a forwarder’s commitment to providing a value for money service is going to be paramount if they are to remain in business – but this is not isolated to our sector – it’s a trend that is likely to apply to most, if not every industry across the globe.”