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- David Bennett
The art of attracting new shipper clients took an unusual turn in 2021 for forwarders. Instead of finding creative ways to attract new customers, the hunt for space aboard vessels and planes led shippers directly to the doorsteps of forwarders. In many cases, forwarders saw inbound demand from customers they had never worked with. In other cases, potential customers they had been chasing for years turned to them to unearth scarce capacity amid historic demand and the resultant space crunch. Shippers told the JOC repeatedly that the number of forwarders they used in 2021 spiked, something fivefold or more over what they had traditionally used. In other situations, shippers that had previously relied only on direct carrier contracts scoured the forwarder and NVO market to secure space. The question for 2022 is: What becomes of those relationships? Shippers that went from two to 10 forwarders won’t necessarily establish primary relationships with all 10, but forwarders have an opportunity to recast themselves with their newfound clients and turn transactional relationships in 2021 into key accounts in 2022 and beyond. This session will explore just how forwarders plan to do that, whether through technology, innovative services, or old-fashioned customer service, and how a shipper views the expansion of its roster of forwarders partners.