January 21, 2021

Top Freight Forwarding Trends for 2021

Miles Varghese
Miles Varghese
Helping independent freight forwarders/brokers better stay in-sync, collaborate, and improve operations with their shippers/clients. Co-founder & CEO @ Cargologik.com
freight forwarding trends

Faced with growing online shopping and e-commerce activity on top of uncertain global economic projections, freight managers and forwarders turn to advanced technology and the newest freight forwarding trends to prepare for 2021. 

According to Supply Chain24/7, “The rapid growth of ecommerce is driving great changes in logistics, from tightening up trucking capacity to elevating the importance of final-mile delivery processes. To respond, logistics managers now need to think in terms of systems that they can leverage today to make processes more efficient, while also keeping an eye on longer-term developments that will reshape tomorrow’s possibilities.”  

The future will always be somewhat uncertain, but embracing the newest freight forwarding trends for 2021 across all industries can better prepare forwarders and shippers for what changes lay ahead. Here are just a few of the trends supply chain and freight forwarding companies need to be mindful of as we move into a new year. 

Reports Will Get a Bigger Focus in 2021

One of the biggest weak points for the modern supply chain and shipping management is outdated data in reports. They say “Data is the new oil,” but before you can do anything with that oil, it needs to be processed, refined, and improved. One aspect is accessing the data, and the other being able to understand it and query it effectively. 

It is still complicated, but it is becoming ever easier even for the independent freight forwarders and freight brokers to not only have this information but also having the ability to access real-time data. In this way, emerging logistics and operational problems can be addressed quickly, easily, and accurately on behalf of their own clients.  

Artificial Intelligence Will Automate More Processes and Avoid Issues

Automation and improved report overviews and data access are key freight forwarding trends managers cannot afford to ignore. To stay valid and applicable in the digital age, using a combination of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and digitized freight forwarding networks must become the global operational best practices for all logistics operations. 

Autonomous Trucks and Robots Will Start to Make a Difference in Freight Forwarding Trends Too

Even though humans will always be involved in freight forwarding somehow, smart robotics and machines are making work faster and easier across the board. 

Autonomous devices and systems are just one freight forwarding trend to watch. In fact, the application of robotics process automation (RPA) is one way that virtual robots will become more ingrained in digital freight forwarding management practices, securing more capacity and reducing delays. 

Accepting this shift also means using a secure freight collaboration platform well equipped to interface with this technology and  handle sensitive client information with their clients. This makes it easy for both forwarder, shipper, and RPA software to safely and securely process data from relevant documents,  glean insights, and then  intuitively tie that document data back to the relevant shipment operation on those documents – and within a secure, closed environment to protect privacy.

Control Tower Revamps Will Breathe New Life Into Back-Office Functions

The outdated idea of a control tower continues to change and focus on a more supply chain visibility-focused setup for the modern age. But a control tower is not necessarily out in the complete sense of the word. Instead, it’s merging with advanced systems, including business intelligence platforms, to offer cloud-based touchpoints across the full supply chain. New freight forwarding platforms offer client data and operational signals that breathe fresh life into the industry term. With predictive analytics and real-time data and analysis, managers can better prepare for the freight forwarding trends of 2021. 

And if it’s one thing we know for certain, is that as time progresses so does the amount of data being provided to shipments, clients, and forwarders. Access to APIs and micro services are expanding into modern technology and freight collaboration platforms. If you have a tower-like system in place, it can help sift and sort through the noise for true operational signals that benefit your independent commercial reps along with clients. 

Shared Truckload Shipping Will Boost Forwarding Efficiency

With the economy recovering and the demand for shipments still high, trucking capacity has been projected to stay extremely competitive. Advances in transportation opportunities signal freight forwarding trends forwarders need to know about, such as increased demand in key markets and collaborative opportunities to consolidate freight. 

Reduced Costs With Data-Driven Forwarding Will Become Another Best Practice for the Year

Data-driven forwarding means using digital marketplaces and load boards to source capacity, increase RFP activity, find new partnerships, and expand the growing network. Of course, that always tracks back to making informed decisions through data-driven metrics and KPIs. As referenced above, shippers and forwarders who can embrace these new technologies, will cut costs and stay more efficient than the competition. Most importantly, this means also keeping up with customer expectations as two-day delivery and reliable supply chains become exponentially important to organizations. The freight forwarding trends of the coming year will help forwarders prepare for whatever the new year holds. 

There’s No Better Time to Embrace Freight Forwarding Trends for 2021

Don’t wait until it’s too late to start embracing the major forwarding trends for 2021. The sooner you implement new systems, the sooner you’ll see the benefits. Even if you’re not 100% ready, reach out to the vendors of independent freight collaboration and RPA processing tools. 

Shippers and forwarders willing to adapt to the changing demands of customers, and the market will be better positioned for all parties to grow and succeed in 2021. The future always carries some degree of uncertainty; however, keeping up with trends and accepting new technology and tools will give any company an advantage in the long run. Capitalize today ahead of the curve, and sign up for Cargologik today to get started.

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