The Changing Role of a Freight Forwarder in Modern Supply Chains
Purpose: The aim of the article is to identify and determine the contemporary role of a sea freight forwarder in the face of changing global supply chains. To this end, the article refers to the results of literature studies as well as to previous research and observations derived from business practice in the area of integrated reporting. Design/methodology/approach: The article presents a statistical analysis of reported demand figures for freight services in Poland. In addition, a SWOT analysis was performed to determine the changing role of freight forwarders. The methodology is supplemented by a case study of the global logistics operator A.P. Møller-Mærsk active in the freight-forwarding market. Findings: The increasing demand for transport services has prompted the freight-forwarding sector to evolve. Currently, the freight forwarder is no longer a contractor of just one service, but is involved across a comprehensive supply chain, while the industry is already seeing dynamic changes in how it brings together clients and suppliers. The current transformations pose a threat to freight forwarders, as leading shipping operators such as Maersk are expanding the scope of their activities to include freight forwarding. Practical Implications: The research findings point to the topicality of the problem, where ship owners are choosing to deal with clients directly, therefore bypassing sea freight forwarders. This is evidenced by Maersk's 2021 initiative to launch an online platform integrating supply chains where the mediation of a sea freight forwarder would become irrelevant. Originality/Value: The research presented in the article contributes to the current literature output on integrated reporting by using the novel data about the forwarding services market.