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The Role of the Freight Forwarder in Supply Chain Resilience


In today’s constantly evolving global business environment, it is essential for companies to build a robust supply chain capable of enduring disruptions and uncertainties. Freight forwarders are leading the way in this resilience effort, playing a crucial role in ensuring the smooth transportation of goods across borders. The following summary highlights the pivotal role of freight forwarders in enhancing global supply chain resilience.

Understanding Supply Chain Resilience

Challenges in the Global Supply Chain

The global supply chain encounters various challenges, such as natural disasters, labor conflicts, carrier inadequacies, and geopolitical tensions, which may result in delays, shortages, and financial setbacks for multinational companies.

Defining Supply Chain Resilience

Supply chain resilience refers to a supply chain’s ability to adapt, recover, and maintain continuous operations in the face of disruptions. Achieving this requires strategic planning, robust risk management, and a network of reliable partners to navigate unforeseen challenges.

Strategies Freight Forwarders Employ in Building Supply Chain Resilience

Crucial Intermediaries

Freight forwarders play a crucial role as intermediaries in the supply chain. They are responsible for managing the transportation of goods from the point of origin to the final destination. In addition to logistics, their responsibilities include strategic planning, risk mitigation, and proactive measures to ensure a resilient supply chain.

Proactive Problem Solvers

Reliable freight forwarders are proactive problem solvers, not reactive service providers. They anticipate challenges, implement preventive measures, and navigate disruptions seamlessly.

Efficient Routing and Mode Selection

Freight forwarders optimize transportation routes and select the most efficient modes of transport. This not only minimizes transit times, but also reduces the risk of disruptions by avoiding high-risk areas or congested routes. By optimizing transportation routes, modes, and processes, freight forwarders also enhance cost efficiency to ensure that businesses remain financially robust, even in the face of disruptions.

Compliance and Documentation Expertise

Understanding and complying with international government regulations can be a complex task. Any mistakes can result in delays. Freight forwarders have extensive knowledge of international shipping requirements. They ensure smooth customs clearance, minimize the risk of bureaucratic hurdles, and address potential legal issues that could disrupt the supply chain.

Real-Time Tracking and Visibility

Advanced tracking systems used by freight forwarders provide real-time visibility into the movement of goods, allowing businesses to quickly address disruptions, reroute shipments, and keep stakeholders informed.

Identification of Vulnerabilities

Freight forwarders work with businesses to analyze supply chain weaknesses. This includes mapping the entire chain, identifying risks, and creating backup plans.

Supplier and Carrier Relationships

Establishing strong relationships with suppliers and carriers is essential for contingency planning. Freight forwarders leverage their networks to maintain open communication channels, ensure quick response times, and engage in collaborative problem-solving when disruptions occur. In the complex realm of global commerce, the significance of freight forwarders in bolstering supply chain resilience cannot be overstated. With 75 years of experience in navigating international trade challenges, Universal Logistics stands as an invaluable ally for businesses navigating the ever-evolving global marketplace. For further information, please reach out to David Lychek, Director of Ocean & Air Services.


June 2024

June 5, 2024
, President Biden directed his Trade Representative to increase tariffs under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 on $18 billion worth of imports…

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