Conqueror takes on industry giants

A “virtual” freight forwarders network has been established aiming to give smaller players the same advantages enjoyed by the industry’s largest players through a cooperative network. “The idea is to mobilise the top rank of independents to work together as another ¡®mega-forwarder’, while keeping their independence,” explains Antonio Torres, a freight forwarding veteran and mastermind […]


A “virtual” freight forwarders network has been established aiming to give smaller players the same advantages enjoyed by the industry’s largest players through a cooperative network. “The idea is to mobilise the top rank of independents to work together as another ¡®mega-forwarder’, while keeping their independence,” explains Antonio Torres, a freight forwarding veteran and mastermind of the Madrid-based Conqueror network. “But this calls for high admissions standards and for intelligent, monitored cooperation among our members.” Applications are now being accepted for membership in the Conqueror network, in which “carefully selected members” will work with each other on at least 50 per cent of their shipments and follow other rules to maximise the benefits of “disciplined cooperation”, enabling them to compete against the largest forwarding groups. Each Conqueror agent will operate as a “virtual branch office” in one of 564 cities in 175 countries, receiving freehands, routed cargo, and sales leads from other members. Like the multinationals, they will also benefit from global coverage, a paymentprotected environment, collective negotiation with carriers, and internal discipline. “Globalisation has brought a steady increase in market share for a handful of multinational forwarders at the expense of even the best local firms,” Torres says, citing a Transport Intelligence study showing that in 2008 just ten companies accounted for 42 per cent of the global freight forwarding market. “The mega-forwarders have followed their customers, opening branches everywhere, while the independents have watched helplessly from the sidelines. But our members will be able to bid for the biggest contracts.” Torres, who has managed both small and multi-branch independents and also held key positions in multinational forwarder groups, believes that independents face a “cooperate or die” situation in today’s market. Applicants must undergo audits and supply proofs of solvency, strength, and good reputation. But those chosen will pay no membership fee for the first six months. “This will be a probationary period for both sides,” explains Torres. “We have to be certain that every member is able and willing to add value to the brand, and bring business to the network.”