“Traditional freight forwarding now requires additional services”

The Covid-19 pandemic is forcing freight forwarders to expand their services in order to secure contracts. “We have to rethink how we handle project forwarding and offer additional services like engineering”, said managing director Maria Verbeek of Aprojects Netherlands at the Project Cargo Summit 2020 Online. 

Together with director global business development Jaap kroon of Lubbers Global Freight, Verbeek talked about the impact the pandemic is having on the business.

The directors agree that diversification is important but equally, companies will need to add specialist services to their portfolio in order to stay relevant. “We’ve learned from the previous recessions that we have to adapt and we have to change”, says Verbeek, adding that those crises have helped the company to transition faster into the covid-stricken economy. “We were already used to adapt seriously but now it’s time to think about freight forwarding in a different way. The traditional freight forwarding will require additional services like engineering and I think it’s time to take that next step.”

Lubbers Global Freight has a strong focus on the oil and gas and with that industry being severely hit, the company is trying to develop these new services in new markets. “Being a specialist in the oil and gas markets, which has high standards, has given us opportunities in other industries. Because if you’re able to do it here, you’re also able to do it in Aerospace, Maritime or Dredging. There’s always a need for specialist companies with an engineering background.”

Verbeek and Kroon both remain optimistic about the future. “In my opinion, we should still be positive. The market will for sure change, we see huge consolidation with companies and joint ventures, but the volumes won’t be less”, said Verbeek.

Kroon did warn of increased uncertainty due to the possibility of a second wave of the virus. “In certain cases, projects are already funded but the possibility of the second wave could cause delays”, he added.

Watch the full conversation in the video below.

Author: Tobias Pieffers

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