The Small Size Freight Forwarders

I am receiving a good deal of news concerning the freight forwarding and logistics. In all this news however, the word is about only the big names in our industry.  Yes, exactly  the guys that boast with their hundreds of millions or billions dollars of annual revenues who handle big traffics for big manufacturers and traders worldwide. I understand this as these big players at the end are the industry leaders. But what about the small sized forwarders. Those with up to 5 employees personnel. Shall we continue underestimate them.

The small size forwarders (SSF) – these guerrillas at the market battlefield, carry more value than you can imagine. Most of the big guys were SSF’s ones. Have you forgotten this. The SSF presents very important part of the freight forwarding market. Well, they are not the market leaders, but very often they are the niche developers. And often niches become markets, sometimes big ones.

But what stops the SSF to become bigger?

SSF’s are so much operationally concentrated that they often forgot to look around and miss the big picture. In order to save money they have cut some important activities like knowledge interchange.

Being on a tight budgets they often neglect the opportunities the new technologies present to them. And for a very stupid reason – the SSF believes that new technologies are available only to the big guys as only the big guys can afford them. Which is absolutely wrong.

The SSF readily accepts new customer orders but rarely makes pro-active efforts in attracting new customers.

I believe that if the SSF succeeds in overcoming the above three issues it will grow to an extend where the big guys must pay them respect.

And to the big forwarders I would say – beware the SSF because they are much more dangerous than your main competitors. The day the SSF realizes how to grow further is the day the big forwarders will loose big market share.

Your comments and discussions on the topic are more than welcome !!

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10 thought on “The Small Size Freight Forwarders”

  1. I agree, there needs to be a place in the forwarding market always for the smaller forwarder as the control will not be given once multinationals take the majority of the business. I think smaller forwarders need to band together to form a consortium to fight against the larger firms.

  2. georgibstoilov says:


    I admire your idea. Following the example of the forwarding networks, smaller forwarders in one country might start merging in order to consolidate their resources, decrease the overheads and spread the sales. However, there are many issues to be resolved like: branding, IT systems, merging of operations etc.
    But all these are easy to solve if there is a will to move forward. Live is going on and now is not the time to stay and watch it passing by.

  3. In my 30+ years in freight forwarding I have worked for very large and very small. I’ll stick with very small thank you. With the flexibilities that I have with a small forwarder I have taken large volumes of biz away from the big guys many times in my career. It is extremely rare that I cannot design a logistics program that provides more service(s) to a client than the big guys.
    For major logistics programs I can design and price it in days rather than the weeks it takes the them, and our customer service is so focused the client feels like their mother is watching over their shipping for them. No fear of the big guys because I can beat them with value, value and more value.

  4. George Gibbons says:

    There is a Forwarding community already for SME Freight Forwarders – it was launched a week or so ago, I believe it is branded as Conqueror. I can also say that when I launched my own FF in 1985, I won an award from The Times & BT., for using the latest technology available. Technology is not so expensive, not having Technology is VERY expensive!

  5. Doumandji says:

    Mr KG SID,

    Thank you very much for this opportunity for us , small fowarders to express ourselves.
    Indeed all you say is very true. I will only add that big forwarding companies are themselves made of mere forwarders like you and I.
    I have worked for such companies,and the truth is , where clients feel secure because of the name, in fact they’re using services of a non human sized plant.
    I have myself tretated files , openned by other colleagues and so on….. where in a small size forwarding company everything is dealt with like a personnal file.

    This being said, noone can beleive big companies to give us a hand…This is why we should not only state the facts but also try and develop some kind of small size forwarders web. This is in y view the only way to develop business and why not some day become big ourselves in turn.

  6. georgibstoilov says:


    you touched an important point – using of new technologies can help SME freight forwarders to stand and show what they can. I fully agree. Any idea how can I get in contact with Conqueror

  7. georgibstoilov says:


    Let us never forget that the small forwarders are made of enterprenuers who understand the business as they have grown with it. The Small Forwarder is normally owned from a professional who knows almost everything about the local market and what to do there. But the Small forwarders are also very individualistic – let’s admit it. So the balance should be looked here – between the harsh individualism from one side and the need to meet the challeneges of today market without losing the human site like with the big guys. I really appreciate your comment.

  8. More then agree with you guys!
    I’ve been worked for multinational for almost 10 years and just started on my own , it’s exactly as you said but I’m pretty sure that our services are much better in terms of quality and speed , not forged about our “human face”!
    Let’s stick together!

  9. Ravi Djharkhan says:

    i agree too nowadays its not really about the size but much more about the quality of service and human touch you maintain in the long run.
    small FF are more close flexible in servicing their client base more efficiently and effectively and the proxity is very important and easy with our small size.
    Freight Forwarders Centre
    Plaine Magnien
    cell:230 9237981
    ctc :Ravi Dharkhan

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