Freight Forwarding Brokerages and Agencies in the US Industry Market Research Report from IBISWorld Has Been Updated

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The recession decimated consumer demand and industrial production, resulting in lower trade volumes, which hurt the industry; going forward, as industrial production picks up and international trade improves, the industry is expected to continue expanding. For these reasons, industry research firm IBISWorld has updated a report on the Oil Change Services industry in its growing industry report collection.

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Increased international trade will boost demand for freight forwarding agencies.

The Freight Forwarding Brokerages and Agencies industry transports goods using third-party trucks, trains, ships and planes. According to IBISWorld Industry Analyst Leah Goddard, “Most revenue is generated by operators acting as middlemen between shipping customers and third-party transportation carriers.” As a support industry, operators are vulnerable to the health of upstream markets. Consequently, participants need to maintain strong business and customer contacts in order to compete in the industry.

During times of strong economic growth, demand for freight transportation services rises as consumers and businesses purchase more goods that need to be shipped. This growth in demand increases freight tonnage, which boosts industry revenue. Conversely, slow economic activity leads to a reduction in trade values and service fees, which diminishes demand for freight transportation, hurting industry revenue. In addition, businesses may attempt to cut costs by moving forwarding and customs functions in house as opposed to outsourcing these activities to industry operators, amplifying the impact of reduced demand on industry revenue.

The industry's sensitivity to economic cycles was highlighted in 2009, when revenue dropped 18.2%. The recession decimated consumer demand and industrial production, resulting in lower trade volumes and greater pressure on industry operators to reduce prices to attract customers, which caused revenue to further contract. “Conditions recovered considerably in 2010 and 2011, but floods in Thailand, the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and civil unrest in the Middle East slowed the supply of shipments internationally in 2012,” says Goddard. Nevertheless, revenue is expected to increase 5.2% to $52.7 billion in 2013, contributing to an annualized increase of 1.1% over the past five years due to a strong recovery in freight transportation.
Before the recession, industry participants benefited from rising international trade, which bolstered revenue markedly over the period. Likewise, greater globalization and international trade is expected to drive industry growth in the next five years. As industrial production picks up and international trade improves, the industry is expected to continue expanding. During this period, revenue is forecast to increase. Additionally, the number of companies and employees will likely grow in order to handle the increasing number of shipments due to growth in trade.

The Freight Forwarding Brokerages and Agencies industry is estimated to have a low level of concentration. The top four players are C.H. Robinson Worldwide, United Parcel Service, Deutsche Post AG and Kuehne + Nagel. Despite the presence of international players, the industry is dominated by small- and medium-size enterprises, with 58.8% of all companies employing one to four people. However, industry concentration has increased over the past five years due to the recession, which forced smaller operators to exit the industry or be acquired by larger players due to low demand for freight transportation services.

For more information, visit IBISWorld’s Freight Forwarding Brokerages and Agencies in the US industry report page.

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IBISWorld industry Report Key Topics

Companies in the Freight Forwarding Brokerages and Agencies industry arrange the transportation of freight between shippers and carriers. These operators are usually known as freight forwarders, marine shipping agents or customs brokers and offer services for many modes of transportation.

Industry Performance
Executive Summary
Key External Drivers
Current Performance
Industry Outlook
Industry Life Cycle
Products & Markets
Supply Chain
Products & Services
Major Markets
Globalization & Trade
Business Locations
Competitive Landscape
Market Share Concentration
Key Success Factors
Cost Structure Benchmarks
Barriers to Entry
Major Companies
Operating Conditions
Capital Intensity
Key Statistics
Industry Data
Annual Change
Key Ratios

About IBISWorld Inc.
Recognized as the nation’s most trusted independent source of industry and market research, IBISWorld offers a comprehensive database of unique information and analysis on every US industry. With an extensive online portfolio, valued for its depth and scope, the company equips clients with the insight necessary to make better business decisions. Headquartered in Los Angeles, IBISWorld serves a range of business, professional service and government organizations through more than 10 locations worldwide. For more information, visit or call 1-800-330-3772.

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Gavin Smith
IBISWorld Inc.
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