Forwarders are the “Architects of Trade” keeping fragile trade lanes open in the midst of a pandemic that has left the world economy reeling, according to Basil Pietersen, president of the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (Fiata).
He said freight forwarders were currently under “immense business and financial pressure” because supply chain disruptions and the economic downturn had resulted in client receipt defaults, abandoned goods, container imbalances and cash flow issues.
“Fiata and its National Association Members continue to work at all levels with governments, companies, and international bodies to support their crucial work, find innovative solutions and seek financial stimulus,” he added.
Pietersen believes that reduced transport capacity across modes, government restrictions, border and manufacturing closures, and consumer demand at low levels even as unemployment spikes, will make a recovery from the Covid-19 crisis a protracted struggle. The speed of any rebound in world trade will lean heavily on the ability of freight forwarders to keep supply chains functioning smoothly.
“It is crucial to remember the crucial role of the freight forwarding industry in ensuring our global supply chains function and goods move around the world,” Pietersen added.
“The international trade logistics and supply chain management service industry has been deemed as essential services in all economies, and as such, the international freight forwarder with its inherent skills, knowledge and value-added services in the international movement of goods will be pivotal to economic upturn by facilitating trade across borders.
“This is true not only for large companies but also for SMEs which contribute important benefits to society in all economies.”
Pietersen said that although uncertainties were at their peak, freight forwarders must continue to operate and adapt to maintain the flow of cargo to ensure that essential goods can be transported around the globe.
“This is the genius of the freight forwarder – to be able to find innovative solutions and overcome new obstacles in a changing world,” he added.
“So, remain confident, look after those who are part of your community and family, and raise your voice – not only within Fiata but within your own local spheres. Together, we can overcome these new challenges and continue to conduct our crucial work.”