The history of freight forwarding dates back centuries. People have always needed to move their goods from A to B and for as long as anyone can remember there have been businesses providing this service. However, as the world has changed and technology has developed the way the industry has evolved has been dramatic.
The earliest freight forwarders were traditionally innkeepers, providing strategically placed accommodation and storing and forwarding goods for their guests. They would arrange for the onward carriage of goods and belongings and the concept of freight forwarding as a business developed from there.
The earliest official documenting of freight forwarding is the Lloyds’s Loading List which provided shipping news in London as early as 1734.
The development of the freight industry
Developments in rail transportation and steamships made transporting goods more accessible and led to increased trade between Europe and North America. These early freight forwarders dealt with many of the same tasks and responsibilities as freight forwarders do today such as documentation and customs requirements.
In those days the task would involve lots of physical paperwork and documentation. Computers, the internet, mobile smartphones and the rise of broadband have changed processes dramatically.
Air freight and improved infrastructure around the globe including better road networks have all contributed to making the movement of goods around the world easier, quicker and more affordable.
Combined changes in technology and infrastructure have led to the industry we know and operate in today. An industry which provides endless possibilities to move goods from door to door around the globe quicker and more efficiently than ever before.