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The impact of COVID-19 in the forwarder industry

During the past years working with the freight forwarding market, we saw twists and turns across the industry that encouraged us to evolve. But with the impact of COVID-19 in the forwarder industry, it was clear that technology needs to be the grand ally of the market.

In our conversation with Marcelo Vitorino, Regional Cargo Manager of TAP Air Portugal, we understood how important it is to keep improving our business technologically especially now with the COVID-19.  

Coronavirus has impacted many industries worldwide, especially the logistics and freight forwarder sector.

Managing the changes that had to be done within these industries is challenging, particularly because it’s an industry that is used to doing business in an old fashion way, and with the pandemic, the forwarder market had to adapt to a technological way of administrating the business.

How is the freight forwarding industry evolving

For a long time, the freight forwarders took on average two days to get a business done, it was necessary to call, and that could take two hours of the day, after the shipment was booked, there was paperwork to be done and faxed. You can imagine how long that took, right?

Gladly, the communication between freight forwarders has improved, with the internet everything can be done via email. Of course, forwarders still call themselves to arrange some details of a business, but that occurs with less frequency. 

Another big change in the forwarder industry is the software and platforms that are being created by many companies to make quotations and bookings easier and faster. 

With the impact of the COVID-19 in the forwarder industry, the market has evolved even more, now as long as you have an internet connection you can work from wherever you are. Before the pandemic that wasn’t much common in many industries, especially in the freight forwarding sector. 

Some other interactions the freight forwarders have with each other are also about to change, for example, the face-to-face meetings, with the COVID-19 many forwarders will probably prefer to keep doing most of them online. Once you lower the visits your forwarder company can use the money to invest in other areas of the business. 

Of course, the relationship with your partner is still important, but you can maintain it online by sending emails every once a week, calling once a month, and if it’s still important to your company you can do face-to-face meetings once a year gathering all of your partners.

What did the pandemic teach the forwarder market?

As we saw the changes the freight forwarder industry has been through the past few years it’s clear that nowadays, especially with the coronavirus, bringing technology to your forwarder company is no longer an option. 

However, improving your business with technology is more than having a system inside the company, it’s to understand your customer’s needs and develop technological solutions for that.

It’s important to map the Needs Assessment, which is the process used to determine what needs to be improved in a company in its current state, helping you to focus your work on an urgent matter.

Another important lesson the COVID-19 has taught the forwarder industry is to be prepared for rapid changes and requests to be delivered in a short period of time.

That tends to be a big trend for the next few years, delivering products faster. As we know there are already some companies that shorten the time of the delivery, like Amazon and Walmart. 

In case you want to know more about the vision of Marcelo Vitorino, Regional Cargo Manager of TAP Air Portugal, and what TAP is doing to keep improving with the coronavirus pandemic watch the video below.