There are more than 250 freight forwarding networks out there. Some of them with thousands of members, some rather small. Most small and medium-sized forwarders are part of a freight forwarding network and engage with their communities in WhatsApp groups or at the annual network conference. Read the article to learn about what services forwarding networks offer and how you can compare different networks out there.
Freight forwarder networks serve as a worldwide umbrella network of vetted members who work with each other under established standards, actively promote and support each other in logistics, customs brokerage and related services by pooling of sales, operational and financial resources.
The rationale behind this is to enable SME independent freight forwarder to compete with international players. Using their knowledge and working skills as local operators (freight forwarders, customs brokers, transportation companies, warehouse operators), freight forwarding networks help SME forwarders remain competitive.
Networks are almost like big logistics families! Before joining one, forwarders undergo a screening process to check financial stability, specifics of the organization and partner review process to make sure to maintain that high level of trust between the members. After approval of your application, and payment of the membership fee, your company details will be submitted to the network database profile and will be accessible for all members.
Most networks are exclusive and only allow a limited number of companies from the same country to get access. This puts freight forwarders into a unique position because there is no competition in situations where members ask for support in Germany. If there is only one member per country it will be you who gets the deal! Costs to enter a network usually range between $1500 and $3000 per year.
Group calls, shared services and access to software
Benefits different freight forwarder networks offer vary to some extent but can be grouped in community, shared services and access to external partners. The annual conference is usually the highlight event for every network which contains keynotes but mainly 1-on-1 networking sessions to increase each member’s partner network. During the year most networks offer virtual cocktail hours or monthly content sessions, basically online events to discuss the latest developments.
In addition to events, most freight forwarder networks use WhatsApp groups to make finding agents or other services as easy as possible. The biggest community asset is trust, created through the extensive vetting process most networks run before accepting an application.
Network owners do their best to grant easy access to relevant services to their members. Services range from legal support to alignment with international debt recovery services to cheaper access to cargo insurance. However, such services mostly focus on facilitating payments between members. Most networks have payment protection plans or their payment platforms to enable their members to pay and receive funds. Doing so, network members avoid high international bank transfers and protect themselves in case of unforeseen circumstances such as bankruptcy.
Through economies of scale, it is much easier for big conglomerates to sign contracts with software providers. This is another benefit freight forwarding networks offer their members. They sign partnership agreements with logistics technology companies and sublicense products or negotiate discounts and special deals for their members. Such services range from freight rate benchmarking services to easy access to SOC containers and supply chain visibility providers.
Our take on freight forwarding networks
With xChange, we’re a software partner of a few, hand-selected, forwarding networks ourselves. We help their members get access to our global equipment pool and increase their flexibility. Members of our partner networks enjoy special conditions on the neutral online platform for container logistics and avoid demurrage & detention charges by finding SOC containers. Therefore we want to introduce you to our partners and recommend that you check them out. If you’re looking for a network to join, consider the networks below:
ACEX Russian Worldwide Alliance
The First Russian Worldwide Logistics Alliance unites freight forwarders of Russia, CIS and overseas partners into the alliance aiming to support its members around the world and develop common business. ACEX Alliance unites the best Russian and world freight forwarders; overtakes more than 40 companies in 15 world countries.
The goal of the alliance is not a merger of different companies, it is the maintenance of the individuality of each member, its flexibility and uniqueness, the multiplication of these qualities in a single concept, which will allow every single member and all at ones to say their word in the logistics and to be heard by the local and international market.
Africa Logistics Network
We decided to start with very low fees in order, we hope, to have many potential members and to select the most reliable ones. Small and medium African companies qualified for good service to worldwide members of the network. Yes, Africa Logistics Network is the only way to offer in Africa an alternative to the Shipping giants. An alternative where customers and agents are not just numbers into a corporate budget only.
Starting from January 2017, the maximum numbers of members allowed per Country will be three except for Brazil, Nigeria, UAE (5). China, India and the USA were split, each, in three mega areas; the maximum number of members allowed per Country is 10, with a maximum of 5 members per area.
The Atlas Logistic Network is an exclusive network for air and ocean freight forwarders. To guarantee an alliance that is reliable and financially secure, our elite members are carefully selected through a strict screening process.
Regional exclusivity is the cornerstone of the Atlas Logistic Network. On top of that, our Payment Protection of US$ 100.000 per member per year, really makes us the most reliable freight network in the world.
Even though we strive for perfection, the atmosphere at the Atlas Logistic Network is not a formal one. In reality, we see that members become friends and friends become family. This unique dynamic results in a strong network with devoted members.
Security Cargo Network
Security Cargo Network is a global alliance of international freight forwarders currently composed of 210 member companies operating 385 enrolled offices in 89 countries.
Membership is restricted according to market size, and members are pre-screened and verified to be operationally competent and financially responsible.
If you are a quality independent forwarder, a supplier to forwarders or of course a shipper, we invite you to connect with us to improve your global connections with us.
Conqueror Freight Network
The Conqueror Freight Network (CQR) brings together carefully-selected freight forwarders in each major city which cooperate reciprocally and securely to expand their businesses, reduce costs and risks, and compete on more equal terms against the largest international companies.
Conqueror Freight Network (CQR) has been recognised and certified for its quality by the industry’s only recognised body of quality independent freight forwarder networks, ELITE Association of Logistic Networks (ELITE).
The Freight Lounge is a forward-thinking and innovative network that embraces technology and uses that technology to empower its members. With new freight networks appearing weekly it is easy to be overwhelmed by the options but ask yourself one question: “What freight network brings more to the table than just several forwarders?”. The answer is The Freight Lounge. The Freight Lounge is created and built with the knowledge and experience of more than 40 years of forwarding and procurement experience. This is not just another once a year gathering of agents attempting to gain business together over a few days in Asia.
Global Logistics Network
Founded in 2003, Global Logistics Network (GLN) is an umbrella organization that encompasses leading independently owned and operated companies worldwide that specialize in the logistics industry – including freight forwarders, transportation intermediaries and associated companies – all working together in a network environment to benefit from our philosophy.
Global Logistics Network strives to differentiate itself from its competitors by offering the fullest range of services and practical innovations to its members. GLN has, without question, the best “loyalty factor” of any of the freight forwarding networks with fewer Members leaving for voluntarily/involuntarily reasons since inception than some networks lose every year!
Global Link Network
We are founded on the principle that good relationships build good business. We restrict membership to two slots for most countries, depending on GDP. We are also a non-exclusive network. Which means you don’t need to give up any profitable agency relationships, we are here to add to those.
We are committed to high standards and high-quality members. Companies must be in business at least 4 years to join and must adhere to our policies and guidelines.
We offer a very effective, proven, agency sales tool. Members who use the tool, and bring a sales effort to this agency sales tool, have proven to get a solid return on their investment.
Over the years we rolled out a global track and trace system providing transparency and data exchange platforms for members. Also, preferred carrier programmes were implemented to leverage the combined spend of members with airlines and other third-party companies.
Today we are a growing community of 119 member companies in 115 countries with a combined network of more than 400 locations, employing over 21,000 freight professionals who handle over 1.85 million shipments each year comprising over 1 million tonnes of airfreight cargo.