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  January 11th, 2021 | Written by


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By occupying six slots, including the top three, the Alpine Region of Central Europe dominates Global Trade’s list of the top 10 freight forwarders of 2020.

 1) Kuehne + Nagel

With more than a century specializing in the transportation space, Kuehne + Nagel serves multiple industries, including high tech, industrial products, perishables, pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. Services include: order management, warehousing and storage, supply chain consulting, project management, air, rail and sea cargo and expo and events. Kuehne + Nagel Management AG, Dorfstrasse 50 Schindellegi, 8834 Switzerland, Tel: 41 44 788-9511.

2) DHL

DHL Supply Chain and Global Forwarding Divisions provide freight forwarding services throughout Europe, Russia and the Middle East via rail, air and road. The company’s global reach extends from transportation and warehousing to industry-specific solutions designed to streamline worldwide logistics for its clients. Services include: dedicated freight management, warehousing, customs services, freight security, supply chain management and air, road and sea shipments. DHL Supply Chain and Global Forwarding, Deutsche Post AG Headquarters, Platz der Deutschen Post, 53113 Bonn, Germany, Tel: +49 228-1820.

3) DB Schenker

The logistics division of German rail operator Deutsche Bahn AG provides an array of logistical and supply chain consulting services for clients throughout the automobile, technology, consumer goods, special transport and trade fair logistic industries. Services include: e-commerce solutions, fulfillment logistics, lead logistics services and intermodal transportation. DB Schenker, Richard-Wagner Strausse, Essen, Germany, Tel: +49 (0) 201 8781-4990.

4) (tie) DSV Global

Headquartered just outside of Denmark’s capital of Copenhagen, DSV offers worldwide warehousing and transportation solutions for European and North American companies looking for supply chain solutions across the global stage. Services include: full or less-than-truckloads, warehousing, order fulfillment, intermodal, air, sea and rail shipments and “supply chain innovation.” DSV + Panalpina, Hovedgaden 630, 2640 Hedchusene, Denmark, Tel: +45 43 20 30 40.

4) (tie) Sinotrans Limited

With offices throughout Asia and the Pacific Rim, Sinotrans offers transportation solutions from warehousing to getting goods to their final destinations. Services include: warehouse management, distribution solutions, cross border freight hauling, intermodal transport, project lead and “innovative supply solutions.” SinoTrans Ltd., 6F Suite B Waiyun Building, Building 10 Yard 5 Anding Road, Beijing, China 100020, Tel: 86 10-5229-5600.

6) Expeditors

The Fortune 500 service-based logistics company believes because it does not own the aircraft, ships, or trucks they use every day on six continents, they can be highly flexible when it comes to supply chain management. Services include: supply chain design and optimization, order management, fulfillment, warehousing, customs brokerage and air, sea and ground transportation. Expeditors International, 14301 24th St E, Sumner, WA 98390, Tel: (253) 863-5502.

7) (tie) GEODIS

The French logistics company aims to be a growth partner with its clients through its proven expertise and emphasis on excellence. Services include: supply chain optimization, freight forwarding, contract logistics, distribution & express and ground transport. GEODIS, Espace Seine, 26 Quai Charles Pasqua, 92300 Levallois-Perret, France, Tel: +33 1 56 76 26 00.

7) (tie) Bolloré Logistics

A global leader in international transport & logistics, the French company is committed to delivering reliable, flexible, innovative and value-creating solutions that help clients grow. Services include: transport, trade compliance, contract logistics, global supply chain, e-commerce and customer care. Bolloré Logistics, Tour Bolloré, 31-32 quai de Dion Bouton, 92800 Puteaux, France, Tel: +33 (0)1 46 96 44 33.

9) Nippon Express

First established in 1937, the Japanese company operates in more than 40 countries, with clients throughout Asia, North America and Europe and overseas transit facilities in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, among other locations. Services include: warehousing, distribution, cross border freight hauling, fine arts transport and moving services. Nippon Express, Higashi-shimbashi 1-9-3, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Tel: 81-3-6251-1111.

10) Hellmann Worldwide Logistics

Founded in 1871 by Carl Heinrich Hellmann, who as the lone employee used a horse-drawn cart to deliver parcels in and around the town of Osnabrück in northern Germany, Hellmann today has a worldwide network of 20,500 people in 489 branches in 173 countries. Services include: logistics, insurance, security, technology, e-commerce and road, air, rail, and marine transportation. Hellmann Worldwide Logistics GmbH & Co. KG, Elbestrasse 1, Osnabrück, 49090 Germany, Tel: 49-541-605-6450.

We created our list by considering three other lists that were released this year. In September, Armstrong & Associates, Inc. (A&A), an internationally recognized key information resource for 3PL market research and consulting, put out a list of 2020’s top 50 ocean freight forwarders that is based on 2019 TEUs, logistics gross revenue and air metric tons.

Actually, A&A updated an earlier list because two heavy hitters in the ocean freight industry, DSV and Panalpina, merged in 2019. Then came COVID-19 early in 2020, which necessitated an examination of responses to the global pandemic.

A “key trend we’re watching is the impact COVID-19 is having on various modes of transport,” A&A President Evan Armstrong explained to Logistics Management Executive Editor Patrick Burnson. “Ocean capacity may open up, but rates will escalate. In the meantime, the air cargo sector will become more reliant on expensive freighters, as passenger traffic remains in steep decline in the international marketplace.

Global Trade also considered 360 Research Reports’ Global Ocean Freight Forwarding Market Size, Status and Forecast 2020-2026 examination that focused on 25 companies and was released pre-pandemic, in January.

Thanks to the A&A and 360 Research reports, there were definitive answers about which companies would occupy most of Global Trade’s top slots. However, we also turned to a third report to settle any differences between the other two: a list of the top 10 3PLs in the world released In July by TradeGecko, which is part of Intuit QuickBooks, an accounting software company.

While freight forwarders on the Global Trade master list serve U.S. markets and have facilities in the States, our collection doesn’t exactly scream “American.” Fortunately, Armstrong also shared some wisdom with Burnson that may have Yanks ranking better in 2021. “We’ll see more shipping and sourcing in North America as shippers reevaluate their options overseas,” the A&A president says. “The ongoing trade tensions with China will also exacerbate this situation.”

The U.S. companies that did not make our top 10 but would have easily made our top 50 include: C.H. Robinson, XPO Logistics, United Parcel Service (UPS), Yusen Logistics, Mallory Alexander, Odyssey Logistics and Technology and Horizons Air Freight.


Armstrong & Associates, Inc.’s Top 50 Ocean Freight Forwarders of 2020:

360 Research Reports’ Global Ocean Freight Forwarding Market, Size, Status and Forecast 2020-2026:

TradeGecko’s Top 10 3PLs in the World: