Forwarders moving ahead after sluggish 2010
“[The model] is in not transparent,” he says. “We have more and more customers demanding more transparency and less fluctuating rates. We are discussing now with some of our carriers alternatives to the current model.” Also of concern to Mack is the shifting regulatory landscape. New rules concerning security and the screening of cargo always come with increased costs to the forwarder.
Another big issue, says Michael Blaufuss, senior vice president of air freight at Agility, centers around sustainability regulations. Hemming and hawing over the European Union’s Emission Trading Scheme is dominating industry chatter. Blaufuss is worried about the increased costs of such infrastructure changes and the commercial feasibility of sustainable processes. He also wonders if consumers are ultimately willing to pay for an increased environmental sensitivity.
“The logistics and transportation industry is a polluting industry,” Blaufuss says. “Change is possible — and happening — but there is not going to be an overnight revolution.”
Keeping changing regulations and the push toward sustainability in mind, Blaufuss says his company has begun upgrading infrastructure in what it believes will be key growth markets. Agility is targeting the Middle East, South Asia and China, Africa and South America.
Agility ranked 13 in the Top 25 list, with no movement in its airfreight tonnage from 2009 to 2010. Blaufuss says the company is content to grow organically and doesn’t foresee any big acquisitions anytime soon. It seems Agility is content to ride the slow wave of growth into 2012.
“We will see a recovery, although at a slower pace than initially expected,” he says. “Asia Pacific and the Middle East have shown better signs of recovery than other regions.”