The World Freight Alliance has been named the benchmark Independent Freight Forwarding Network globally. The presentation of the Institute’s “Global Best in Class Independent Freight Forwarding Network”. Accreditation took place in Stockholm today.

The announcement comes as a result of the Institute’s preliminary findings from its research study “Independent Freight Forwarding in Global Logistics” The purpose of the research is to investigate the increasing trend by Beneficial Cargo Owners (BCO’s) to outsource the management of their global logistics requirements to independent freight forwarders (IFF)

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In 1996, 75% of all sea freight volumes were booked directly with carriers, today that number has dropped to 59% and is expected to go below 50% by 2020. Even more remarkable is that it is independent freight forwarders that will enjoy a greater market share of this growth than multinational 3PL’s at 30% This switch away from carriers to forwarders is being driven by two key factors, firstly the increasing complexity of global supply chains and secondly the increasingly commoditized nature of the carriers offering.

Preliminary findings from the research indicate that one of the key drivers prompting BCO’s to work with independents is their provision of personalized bespoke services combined with access to global independent freight forwarding networks. Such is the significance of network membership for BCO’s in choosing an independent, the Institute’s final report will include a comprehensive overview of how such networks operate. To date there has been very little in the way of research on how successful freight forwarding networks operate. As a result BCO’s and freight forwarders have access to very little information when evaluating the market place. The Institute will address this knowledge deficit in its final report.

The Institute’s approach is to first identify a benchmark network to research and for this the Institute has chosen the World Freight Alliance (WFA)

Commenting on today’s announcement, Kieran Ring CEO at the Institute said

“I am delighted to present the World Freight Alliance with the Institute’s accreditation ‘Global Best in Class Independent Freight Forwarding Network’ The Institute have been aware of the alliance since its foundation in 2003 and have been impressed with how the network has developed. WFA members demonstrate an exceptional level of commitment to network relationships. This has led over time to the development of interdependent activities, increasing the level of mutual productivity and resulting in excellent service for BCO’s.

Collaboration is the hallmark of Best in Class and the Institute is excited to be afforded the opportunity by the WFA to now go deeper in our research and provide readers with a unique insight into the development of an international network of regionally independent freight forwarders. Our final report will enable both BCO and freight forwarder to determine the hallmarks of an efficient global independent freight forwarding network. I look forward to working with the WFA.”

Commenting on today’s announcement, Tommy Kelly Chairman of the World Freight Alliance said:

“I would like to thank the Institute on behalf of the entire network for bestowing “Best in Class” status on the WFA. The vast majority of our current membership have worked together for upwards of 20 years and we remain committed to our founding principles.

Collectively our group represents some of the world’s best and longest established organizations in the business. Each and every member has a reputation for local knowledge and expertise capable of offering a full suite of services including freight forwarding, customs clearance, logistics and warehousing, fiscal representation and express delivery services.

We guarantee a standardized level of excellence in all regions. Our goal is always to partner with other experienced companies to provide a seamless service offering across the world.
The WFA looks forward to working with GIL in the next stage of the research process”

The research will explore:


The World Freight Alliance (WFA) enjoy a very distinguished history in the development of global independent freight forwarding networks. While established in 2003, WFA’s roots go back to 1990 when Airborne Express the express delivery company and cargo airline, headquartered in Seattle, Washington developed the Overseas Express Carriers (OEC) alliance. The OEC, was an alliance of independent global express companies that functioned as a worldwide delivery network for its members to compete with larger companies.
In 2003, when Airborne was aquired by DHL to gain a foothold in the US market, the other members of the OEC alliance with 13 years hands on experience of dealing with each other formed the WFA.
The WFA is an industry network where freight forwarders have developed relationships with the aim of pooling their resources and activities to offer a freight forwarding service on behalf of other firms in the network. Thus, by connecting with freight forwarders in other countries and combining their resources and activities with those firms, the network of freight forwarders offers a more expansive service with a global reach greater than each individual member would be capable of offering alone.
The WFA unlike the majority of other networks is member owned and operates on a not for profit basis. WFA has been developed by principles from freight forwarding companies who in response to a growing demand from large multinational shippers form global alliances with like minded independents across the world.

The Global Institute of Logistics (GIL) was established in 2003 under the Chairmanship of renowned US logistician and author Robert V. Delaney in response to the global logistics industry’s call for “joined up thinking” amongst stakeholders in the global supply chain. GIL looks to resolve the challenges facing the global logistics chain of managing single transport modes, modal systems and targets which are set on stand-alone operations to create a seamless global logistics system.
Acting as a think tank within the sector, GIL brings together thought-leaders and thought-followers as part of a global knowledge network committed to building up the information base, best practices and standards needed. This, in turn, creates a platform through which knowledge is shared, best practice is adopted and trade developed. Today the Institute is a community of organizations and professionals from across the world that share a commitment to collaborating on global logistics solutions.
The Institute’s mission is to ‘Network the Global Logistics Community’

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