Remaining strong in changing timesThe threat of digitalisation is no threat at all says the Director General of the British International Freight Association (BIFA), Robert Keen.

As Covid-19 accelerates digitalisation there has been fear that traditional freight forwarding may lose its niche in the market. Over the last five years reports have suggested the rise of software start-ups would mean the end for forwarders. But is this really the case? History often repeats itself as the saying goes…

“There’s this idea that if forwarders do not adapt, they will die – but you just need to look back at the sector’s history, it has always adapted. One forwarder I know – a family-owned European firm – has in their archive a letter from a great-grandparent proclaiming the company’s demise with the arrival of rail in the mid-1800s… it’s still going strong.


We keep hearing the usual spin from digital start-ups on how their presence in the sector will lead to the death of traditional forwarders, it’s a load of rubbish. We have strong empirical evidence showing what our members are up to in regards to digital transformation of their role in the supply chain. BIFA members are already developing and delivering technology-led products and services that will meet their customers needs more effectively, enhance their experience and cut their costs.” – Robert Keen

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