New index to keep tabs on Asian freight

A freight industry consultant and a journalist have created a new Asian forwarding index. Cathy Roberson, an industry veteran who has been consulting on logistics markets for two decades and freight journalist and consultant Mike King, say that their new APAC Forwarding Index will measure current demand and forward sentiment.
It uses input gathered from respondents including shippers, forwarders, 3PL executives, agents, shipping lines and forwarders to build an APAC Forwarding Confidence Index. Roberson said: “This will serve as a vital and much-needed industry guide to Asia’s forwarding markets, and an economic bellwether for global trade analysis.”
The full Index will be published in the coming months with methodology and analysis provided by King and Roberson, the founders of, respectively, Mike King & Associates and Logistics Trends & Insights.
Participation in the survey is open to anyone with insight or business in key trade lanes to and from Asia used by forwarders and other third parties. 
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King said: “The survey takes less than five minutes and will become the essential building block for our new APAC Forwarding Confidence Index which will help build a clear picture of APAC forwarding and freight markets by trade lane and mode, both now and looking forward.”
According to Roberson, the Asia-Pacific forwarding market is still growing. “While volumes are high, competition is not only highly fragmented but fierce," she said. "Profitability remains elusive for some players. In addition, the market is changing as the region evolves from an export dependent economy to a balanced one.    
“No longer are forwarders focused only on air and ocean freight but also on intra-Asia services including rail and trucking as supply chains between countries become more entwined.”
Roberson said that international air and ocean market slumps in recent years due to overcapacity had been reversed later in 2016. “How the Asia-Pacific freight market performs affects the entire world. For forwarders, Asia-Pacific is seen as a growth opportunity while others view the region as an emerging global economic powerhouse.”

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