Sea Freight Forwarding Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2022 - 2027)

The Sea Freight Forwarding market is segmented by type (FCL, LCL, Others) and by geography.

Market Snapshot

Sea Freight Forwarding Market Size
Study Period: 2016 - 2026
Base Year: 2021
CAGR: >3 %
Sea Freight Forwarding Market Companies

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Market Overview

The Sea Freight Forwarding Market is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 3% during the forecasted period. The global sea freight forwarding market is booming, owing to the growing internet penetration, increasing Purchasing Power Parity, developments in infrastructure and services designed particularly for the e-commerce industry. The sea freight forwarding has emerged as a preferred mode among the 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 driving the LCL volume and is positively impacting the sea freight forwarding market growth.

Scope of the Report

Sea Freight Forwarding Market report provides insights on the market like Market Overview, Market Dynamics, Value Chain / Supply Chain Analysis, Technological Trends, Investment Scenarios, Government Regulations and Initiatives, Spotlight - Sea Freight Transportation Costs/Freight Rates, Insights on the E-commerce Industry, Impact of Covid-19 on Sea Freight Forwarding Market and Industry Attractiveness - Porter's Five Forces Analysis.

Furthermore, the report also provides company profiles with leading market players to understand the competitive landscape of the market.

By Type
Full Container Load (FCL)
Less-than Container Load (LCL)
By Geography
North America
United States
United Kingdom
Rest of Europe
South Korea
Rest of Asia-Pacific
Middle East & Africa
South Africa
GCC Countries
Rest of Middle East & Africa
South America
Rest of South America

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Key Market Trends

Rising Cross Broder E-Commerce driving Sea Freight Forwarding Market

In 2019, retail e-commerce sales worldwide amounted to around 3.53 trillion US dollars and e-retail revenues are projected to grow even further at a quicker pace in the coming few years. Online shopping is one of the most popular online activities worldwide, both domestic and cross-border e-commerce is booming in developing markets such as China, India, and Indonesia due to that reason. This encompasses not just direct-to-consumer retail, but also shipments of electronics, pharmaceuticals, and consumer packaged goods. 

Growth in e-commerce is tied very closely to consumption growth in the region as developing economies make the gradual shift from growth by manufacturing for export to higher levels of consumption by expanding middle classes. In China, cross-border e-commerce transactions already account for up to 20 percent of total import and export trading volumes. Compared to China, in other regions, the size of e-commerce-related business is much smaller, but the growth is also rapid. One of the most preferred mode for e-commerce freight forwarding is through sea and many business are favoring that as evidenced by the growing ocean freight volumes to 11 billion tons in 2018.

Sea Freight Forwarding Market Trends

Kuehne + Nagel leading the Ocean Freight Forwarders in 2019

In 2019, Kuehne + Nagel was ranked the world's leading ocean freight forwarder, with over 4.8 million twenty-foot equivalent units of ocean freight. Today headquartered in Switzerland, Kuehne + Nagel was founded in 1890 in Bremen, Germany. At the present time, Kuehne + Nagel Group has offices in more than 100 countries and employs approximately around 82,000 people. 

In the year 2019, the company generated roughly around 25.3 billion Swiss francs from its worldwide operations, and about 2.7 billion Swiss francs from its operations in Asia Pacific alone. Between the fiscal year of 2013 and 2019, the operational expenses of Kuehne + Nagel increased somewhat continuously, reaching 6.25 billion Swiss francs. The company was followed by Sinotrans and DHL in the leaders ranking worldwide. 

The business volume of ocean freight forwarders has been steadily increasing because in the last three decades, the seaborne trade transport volume roughly tripled, reaching 11 billion metric tons in 2018. In 2017, 1.83 billion metric tons of international seaborne trade were transported by container ships. As of January 2019, Japan possessed the second largest merchant fleet by operator domicile globally.

Sea Freight Forwarding Market Analysis

Competitive Landscape

The Sea Freight Forwarding Market is highly competitive and is highly fragmented with presence of many players. Sea Freight forwarder is an individual or company that acts as an intermediary and dispatches shipments via common sea carriers and makes all arrangements for those shipments on behalf of its clients. Sea Freight forwarders handle all the logistics needed and performs related activities pertaining to shipments. With the Ocean freight volumes tripling from 2008 to 2018, the market has seen many new players entering in the last few years. Some of the existing major players in the market include – Kuehne + Nagel, Sinotrans, DHL, DB Schenker, DSV Panalpina, Kerry Logistics, Expeditors International, C.H. Robinson, Hellmann, Bolloré Logistcs, Fr. Meyer's Sohn, Yusen Logistics/ NYK Logistics, Geodis, Ceva Logistics and Agility Logistics.

Table of Contents


    1. 1.1 Study Deliverables

    2. 1.2 Study Assumptions

    3. 1.3 Scope of the Study


    1. 2.1 Analysis Methodology

    2. 2.2 Research Phases



    1. 4.1 Current Market Scenario

    2. 4.2 Value Chain / Supply Chain Analysis

    3. 4.3 Technological Trends

    4. 4.4 Investment Scenarios

    5. 4.5 Government Regulations and Initiatives

    6. 4.6 Spotlight - Sea Freight Transportation Costs/Freight Rates

    7. 4.7 Insights on the E-commerce Industry

    8. 4.8 Impact of Covid-19 on Sea Freight Forwarding Market


    1. 5.1 Drivers

    2. 5.2 Restraints

    3. 5.3 Opportunities

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

      1. 5.4.1 Bargaining Power of Suppliers

      2. 5.4.2 Bargaining Power of Consumers

      3. 5.4.3 Threat of New Entrants

      4. 5.4.4 Threat of Substitutes

      5. 5.4.5 Intensity of Competitive Rivalry


    1. 6.1 By Type

      1. 6.1.1 Full Container Load (FCL)

      2. 6.1.2 Less-than Container Load (LCL)

      3. 6.1.3 Others

    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. Netherlands

        4. United Kingdom

        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. South Korea

        9. Rest of Asia-Pacific

      4. 6.2.4 Middle East & Africa

        1. South Africa

        2. Egypt

        3. GCC Countries

        4. Rest of Middle East & Africa

      5. 6.2.5 South America

        1. Brazil

        2. Chile

        3. Rest of South America


    1. 7.1 Market Concentration Overview

    2. 7.2 Company Profiles

      1. 7.2.1 Kuehne + Nagel

      2. 7.2.2 Sinotrans

      3. 7.2.3 DHL

      4. 7.2.4 DB Schenker

      5. 7.2.5 DSV Panalpina

      6. 7.2.6 Kerry Logistics

      7. 7.2.7 Expeditors International

      8. 7.2.8 C.H. Robinson

      9. 7.2.9 Hellmann

      10. 7.2.10 Bolloré Logistcs

      11. 7.2.11 Fr. Meyer's Sohn

      12. 7.2.12 Yusen Logistics/ NYK Logistics

      13. 7.2.13 Geodis

      14. 7.2.14 Ceva Logistics

      15. 7.2.15 Agility Logistics*

    3. *List Not Exhaustive


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Frequently Asked Questions

The Sea Freight Forwarding Market market is studied from 2016 - 2026.

The Sea Freight Forwarding Market is growing at a CAGR of >3% over the next 5 years.

Kuehne + Nagel, Sinotrans, DHL, DB Schenker, DSV Panalpina are the major companies operating in Sea Freight Forwarding Market.

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