Declining in value by 3.3 percent from 2012, the global freight forwarding market is facing major challenges as it fights to stay viable in a changing global environment, says Transport Intelligence in its latest report, 'Global Freight Forwarding 2014'.

However, the consultancy also says that it expects business to recover this year and the outlook through to 2017 is bright.

The report notes that trade lanes are shifting as freight forwarders look to emerging markets in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America for growth opportunities while at the same time modal shifts are underway.

Shippers are in search of different options whether it's slow steaming sea freight or quicker but more expensive air freight or a combination of sea and air or even a road/rail solution.

According to the report, troubling capacity concerns within the air and sea freight markets combined with manufacturers focusing away from globalisation and towards regionalisation are resulting in changes to freight forwarding strategies and product solutions.

Dependent on an improving global economy, the report says that it expects this market will grow 6.7 percent through 2017.

Unsurprisingly, emerging markets will be the leaders in this growth as will the sea freight forwarding sub-segment. The heady days of the air freight forwarding market are over as shippers now appear more rational in their approach to transportation management.