Freight Forwarding Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2021 - 2026)

The Freight Forwarding Market is segmented by Mode (Air Freight Forwarding and Sea Freight Forwarding) and Geography (North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America, and the Middle-East and Africa).

Market Snapshot

Freight Forwarding Market Overview
Study Period: 2017- 2026
Base Year: 2020
Fastest Growing Market: Asia Pacific
Largest Market: Asia Pacific
CAGR: >4 %
Freight Forwarding Market Major Players

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Market Overview

The freight forwarding market is expected to register a CAGR of more than 4% during the forecast period. The growth in international trade volumes is a major driver for the freight forwarding market. Moreover, the rise in trade agreements between countries is also contributing to the growth of the market. Asia-Pacific is the fastest growing and the largest market for freight forwarding, with the Chinese freight forwarding market holding the maximum share.

Being non-asset based, the sector is facing high competition from other players in supply chain and technology-based companies, which are disrupting the freight forwarding market. The market is one of the sectors that were hit the hardest by the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. With the lockdown in many countries and a major focus on the production of essential products, the volumes of air and ocean freight fell significantly in 2020. However, the market is now recovering, backed by the manufacturing and e-commerce industries, especially the air freight forwarding market, with significant thrust during the period, as reported by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in January 2021.

Scope of the Report

Freight forwarding is the coordination and shipment of goods from one place to another via single or multiple carriers via air, marine, rail, or highway. The report provides a complete background analysis of the global freight forwarding market, which includes an assessment of the economy, market overview, market size estimation for key segments, emerging trends in the market, market dynamics, and key company profiles. The report also covers the impact of COVID-19 on the market.

The market is segmented by mode of transportation (air freight forwarding and sea freight forwarding) and geography (North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America, and Middle-East and Africa).

By Mode
Air Freight Forwarding
Sea Freight Forwarding
By Geography
North America
United States
United Kingdom
Rest of Europe
South Korea
Rest of Asia-Pacific
South America
Rest of South America
Middle-East and Africa
South Africa
United Arab Emirates
Saudi Arabia
Rest of Middle-East and Africa

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Key Market Trends

Sea Freight Forwarding to Experience High Growth Rate Through the Forecast Period

The sea freight forwarding market is booming, owing to the growing internet penetration, increasing purchasing power parity, developments in infrastructure (ports, containers, and ships with new technologies), and services designed particularly for the e-commerce industry.

Sea freight forwarding is preferred by several end-user industries, and several strategic partnerships are also likely to promote the growth of sea freight forwarding during the forecast period. The growing global cross-border e-commerce market is also driving the less-than-container load (LCL) volume and is positively impacting the sea freight forwarding market growth.

Factors, such as the growing trade volume in European trade routes, the increasing container port throughput, and the rising number of FTAs, will significantly drive sea freight forwarding market growth in this region during the forecast period.

Germany and the United Kingdom are the key markets for sea freight forwarding in Europe. Market growth in this region will be faster than the growth of the market in other regions.

Freight Forwarding Market Key Trends

Asia-Pacific is Anticipated to Witness High Growth Through the Forecast Period

The logistics industry is going through an uncertain period due to COVID-19. The Asia-Pacific market is one of the few regions that are still growing despite the pandemic.

For the freight and logistics market, Asia-Pacific is the fastest-growing region globally. This is due to the increasing logistics in ASEAN countries and the presence of major economies, like China and India. Additionally, the high government support for the logistics sector in the region is also a factor boosting the industry growth.

China is the largest manufacturer in the region and the world, with an increasing demand for pharmaceutical products and essentials. China reopened its factories way before other countries. As a result, it is still leading the freight forwarding market globally.

Also, leading countries in the region are observing faster technological integration in the logistics process. In India, 80% of freight moves by road, and the trucking industry is adopting industry-leading tracking technology to trace and predict the exact delivery times. Thailand is incorporating IBM and Maersk’s blockchain project to streamline its shipment monitoring processes.

Freight Forwarding Market Growth Rate

Competitive Landscape

The freight forwarding market is made up of a large number of players. However, the top 20 players dominate the market accounting for more than 50% of the total market. Leading players in the market include DHL Global Forwarding, Kuehne + Nagel International AG, DB Schenker, DSV, and Expeditors International.

As the freight forwarding market is growing steadily and there exists abundant opportunity, the players need to embrace technologies, become more digitized, and increase the scale and efficiency of their operations. Having a strong network spanning across the globe is important for companies. As the industry is highly competitive and witnessing huge transformations, the companies need to develop specialized solutions to improve customer experience.

Companies are constantly under pressure to minimize costs and optimize operational efficiency. In the wake of investment shifts and diversification of global supply chains, international investors are increasingly interested in mergers and acquisitions in the ASEAN logistics market. Global logistics companies have been expanding in the ASEAN region because of the increase in commerce and trade activities. As such, investment opportunities for the sector have been increasing accordingly.

Recent Developments

February 2021: Kuehne + Nagel entered a binding agreement to acquire Apex International Corporation (Apex), one of Asia’s leading freight forwarders.

April 2020: DHL Global Forwarding launched a dedicated 100-ton weekly air freight service for organizations and governments shipping goods from China to the Middle East and Africa.

Table of Contents


    1. 1.1 Study Assumptions and Market Definition

    2. 1.2 Scope of the Study




    1. 4.1 Current Market Scenario

    2. 4.2 Value Chain/Supply Chain Analysis

    3. 4.3 Government Regulations and Initiatives

    4. 4.4 Technological Trends and Insights into the E-freight Forwarding Market

    5. 4.5 Insights into E-commerce Industry in the Region (Domestic and Cross-Border)

    6. 4.6 Spotlight - Freight Transportation Costs/Freight Rates

    7. 4.7 Brief on Freight Transport Corridors

    8. 4.8 Impact of COVID-19 on the Freight Forwarding Market


    1. 5.1 Market Drivers

    2. 5.2 Market Restraints/Challenges

    3. 5.3 Market Opportunities

    4. 5.4 Industry Attractiveness - Porter's Five Forces Analysis

      1. 5.4.1 Threat of New Entrants

      2. 5.4.2 Threat of Substitute Products

      3. 5.4.3 Bargaining Power of Buyers/Consumers

      4. 5.4.4 Bargaining Power of Suppliers

      5. 5.4.5 Intensity of Competitive Rivalry


    1. 6.1 By Mode

      1. 6.1.1 Air Freight Forwarding

      2. 6.1.2 Sea Freight Forwarding

    2. 6.2 By Geography

      1. 6.2.1 North America

        1. United States

        2. Canada

        3. Mexico

      2. 6.2.2 Europe

        1. Germany

        2. France

        3. United Kingdom

        4. Netherlands

        5. Italy

        6. Rest of Europe

      3. 6.2.3 Asia-Pacific

        1. China

        2. Japan

        3. Australia

        4. India

        5. Singapore

        6. Malaysia

        7. Indonesia

        8. Vietnam

        9. South Korea

        10. Rest of Asia-Pacific

      4. 6.2.4 South America

        1. Brazil

        2. Chile

        3. Rest of South America

      5. 6.2.5 Middle-East and Africa

        1. South Africa

        2. United Arab Emirates

        3. Saudi Arabia

        4. Qatar

        5. Rest of Middle-East and Africa


    1. 7.1 Overview (Market Concentration and Major Players)

    2. 7.2 Company Profiles

      1. 7.2.1 DHL Supply Chain & Global Forwarding

      2. 7.2.2 Kuehne + Nagel International AG

      3. 7.2.3 DB Schenker

      4. 7.2.4 DSV

      5. 7.2.5 Sinotrans

      6. 7.2.6 Expeditors International

      7. 7.2.7 Nippon Express Co. Ltd

      8. 7.2.8 CEVA Logistics

      9. 7.2.9 UPS Supply Chain Solutions

      10. 7.2.10 Kerry Logistics

      11. 7.2.11 Bollore Logistics

      12. 7.2.12 C.H.Robinson Worldwide Inc.

      13. 7.2.13 GEODIS

      14. 7.2.14 Yusen Logistics/NYK Logistics

      15. 7.2.15 Agility Logistics*

    3. *List Not Exhaustive

  9. 9. APPENDIX

    1. 9.1 Freight Volume Movement Statistics for Key Countries

**Subject to Availability

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Frequently Asked Questions

The Freight Forwarding Market market is studied from 2017 - 2026.

The Freight Forwarding Market is growing at a CAGR of >4% over the next 5 years.

Asia Pacific is growing at the highest CAGR over 2021- 2026.

Asia Pacific holds highest share in 2020.

Deutsche Post DHL Group (DHL Global Forwarding), Kuehne + Nagel International AG, DB Schenker, Expeditors International, DSV Panalpina A/S are the major companies operating in Freight Forwarding Market.

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