Case study: UK forwarder Tigers' positive 2020 vision of year ahead
TIGERS Global Logistics, a British mid-sized forwarder with a focus on e-commerce, expects its own e-commerce cross-border air freight business to grow - and from the US especially
TIGERS Global Logistics, a British mid-sized forwarder with a focus on e-commerce, expects its own e-commerce cross-border air freight business to grow - and from the US especially.
While Tigers CEO Andrew Jillings thinks 2020 is going to be problematic for most forwarders, he is confident his Slough-based firm 20 miles west of central London, will prosper, reports London's Air Cargo News.
'It won't be easy, just as the air freight market in 2019 was made difficult by a range of geopolitical and macro-economic issues in different regions,' he said.
'The world geopolitical landscape remains somewhat uncertain as we enter 2020,' said Mr Jillings, 'which we anticipate will result in another challenging year for the forwarders and possibly airlines.'
To a large extent most freight forwarders are reliant on the strength of the customers they ship for, and in many cases the verticals and trade lanes they have dominance in, he pointed out.
Further geographical expansion will support this trend. Tigers is currently seeking to further grow cross-border services into Europe, the UK, Russia and India into Australia and New Zealand.
From China, it is launching a cross-border parcel air freight business into Europe in January in co-operation with Chronopost in France.
'We see a growing trend of pallet to parcel in several of our key markets and as cross-border e-commerce continues to expand globally, we anticipate continued volume growth in this vertical,' Mr Jillings said.
Tigers is handling greater volumes of perishable exports from Australia, while air freight exports to China in the form of chilled meat increase. Chilled lamb carcasses by air have enjoyed the greatest recent growth by commodity and destination.
Tax regimes have a significant impact too, but free trade agreements between Australia and China have reduced their effect, he said, 'although yield will remain a concern'.
'Tigers saw this as an opportunity to increase business and offer a wholesale screening service to the industry,' he said, and the company became an accredited Regulated Air Cargo Agent (RACA) offering a 24/7 operation to screen/clear and deliver all cargo types using the approved methods of screening: Primary Screening - EMD (electronic metal detection) , X-ray and secondary screening ETD (explosive trace detection).
'Digitalisation and e-commerce are impacting and significantly changing traditional supply chain models and Tigers remains totally committed to this digital revolution and will continue to enhance its visibility offering to customers.
'Our SmartHub was built in .Net and is cloud-based using Microsoft's Azure firewalls, which makes it an attractive offering for companies entering into the e-commerce environment as we offer omni-channel fulfilment, cross border parcel fulfilment, final mile and returns as well as international transportation.
'More and more we see progressive companies looking not only at price but at technology, which we believe bodes well for us in 2020,' he said.
Of course, there will be challenges and hurdles to overcome this year.
'Another issue is Brexit. A hard Brexit could present a number of difficult scenarios particularly for the transshipment market and nothing is certain at this point.'