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Shipping Agency Services Market Size - By Service Type (Cargo Handling, Custom Clearance, Container Services, Cargo Insurance), Agency Type (Port Agency, Cargo Agency, Charter Agency), Growth Prospects, Regional Outlook & Global Forecast, 2023 - 2032

  • Report ID: GMI7271
  • Published Date: Nov 2023
  • Report Format: PDF

Shipping Agency Services Market Size

Shipping Agency Services Market size was valued at USD 338.2 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 6.2% between 2023 and 2032, attributed to the flourishing international trade and globalization.

Shipping Agency Services Market

According to UNCTAD, in terms of monetary value, global trade was approximately USD 25 trillion in 2019. However, it experienced a decline of around USD 2.5 trillion in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As economic activity rebounded, trade saw a significant increase of USD 5.5 trillion in 2021, reaching about USD 28 trillion. As a result of this recovery, the proportion of global exports concerning the overall global economic output rose from 29 percent in 2019 to approximately 32 percent in 2021.


Shipping agencies play a vital role in facilitating and coordinating these international logistics, handling everything from port clearances to vessel scheduling. As economies become increasingly interconnected, the demand for the movement of goods and commodities across borders has risen, contributing to the expansion of the shipping agency services industry.

The overall growth and expansion of the shipping industry, including maritime trade, container shipping, and bulk cargo transportation, are key drivers for shipping agency services industry. Based on UNCTAD estimates, leveraging the increased demand for containerized cargo, global maritime trade experienced a significant resurgence in 2021. Shipments expanded by an estimated 3.2%, reaching 11 billion tons. This marks a notable improvement of 7 percentage points compared to the 3.8% decline observed in 2020. As the volume of goods transported by sea increases, so does the demand for services such as vessel agency, cargo handling, and customs clearance.

However, the evolving technological landscape may significantly impact the overall shipping agency services market dynamics over the next ten years. While technological upgrades can bring efficiency and cost savings to the shipping industry, they can also disrupt traditional business models. Automation, digital platforms, and blockchain technology are changing how shipping operations are managed and coordinated, posing challenges to traditional shipping agency services as they face competition from more tech-savvy alternatives.

COVID-19 Impact

The COVID-19 pandemic had a profound impact on the shipping agency services market. Disruptions in global trade, port closures, and crew change restrictions caused logistical challenges. Shipping agencies faced reduced demand, financial strains, and increased operational complexities. The industry had to adapt to new safety protocols and navigate uncertain waters. As international trade gradually rebounded, the industry also witnessed a reshaping of supply chain dynamics, with lasting effects on shipping agency operations.

Shipping Agency Services Market Trends

The shipping industry is highly regulated, with numerous legal and regulatory requirements related to customs, safety, environmental standards, and security. Shipping agencies provide expertise in navigating these complex regulations and ensure that vessels and cargo comply with all necessary documentation and requirements. As regulations become more stringent and complex, the need for professional shipping agency services grows.

For instance, in September 2023, the Tanzania Shipping Agencies (Shipping Agents) Regulations of 2018, which oversee the activities and criteria for shipping agents in the nation, have undergone modifications through the Tanzania Shipping Agencies (Shipping Agents) (Amendments) Regulations of 2023. These amendments to the Regulations are designed to improve transparency, professionalism, and accountability within the shipping agent industry, with the ultimate goal of benefiting both businesses and consumers engaged in the shipping sector.

Shipping Agency Services Market Analysis

Shipping Agency Services Market, By Service Type, 2021 – 2032, (USD Billion)

Based on service type, the container services segment accounted for 20% of the market share in 2022, primarily driven by the ever-growing global trade and containerized cargo movement. As international commerce continues to expand, businesses rely on efficient and timely transport of goods via containers. Container services at ports and terminals are essential for the seamless transfer, loading, and unloading of these cargo units, optimizing supply chain logistics. Additionally, factors like the development of mega-container ships and the need for specialized equipment to handle various types of cargo contribute to the sustained demand for these services, making them indispensable in today's global trade landscape.

Shipping Agency Services Market Share, By Agency Type, 2022

Based on agency type, the cargo agency segment held over 37% of the shipping agency services market share in 2022, due to their pivotal role in facilitating the movement of goods and establishing direct relationships with cargo owners, shippers, and consignees, making them key intermediaries in the supply chain.

The capacity to customize services to meet specific cargo needs and handle diverse cargo types, such as containerized goods, breakbulk cargo, or hazardous materials, positions them as versatile partners. Cargo agencies also boast local expertise, intimate knowledge of port regulations, and a commitment to cargo security, ensuring that goods are properly handled and protected during transit. Also, global networks, technology integration, and industry relationships make them vital players in the shipping and logistics landscape.

North America Shipping Agency Services Market, 2021 – 2032, (USD Billion)

North America shipping agency services market size is projected to expand at 5% CAGR during the forecasted period. The region's strong economy, increased consumer demand for imported goods, and the expansion of e-commerce have fueled a surge in international trade. As a result, there is a growing need for professional agency services to facilitate the efficient movement of goods through ports and across borders. Additionally, North America's strategic geographical location for transcontinental shipping routes and its modernized port infrastructure further contribute to the industry's healthy growth as it remains a critical link in the global supply chain.

Shipping Agency Services Market Share

Prominent companies operating in the shipping agency services industry are:

  • Hutchison Ports
  •  Kuehne + Nagel
  •  PSA International
  • Cargotec
  • CEVA Logistics
  • CMA CGM Group
  • DHL Global Forwarding
  • DP World
  • Expeditors International
  • Flexport

Hutchison Ports holds the largest market share due to their global network of ports and terminals is extensive, enabling them to serve as local agents for vessels calling at their facilities and providing a broad spectrum of agency services. Hutchison Ports benefits from vertical integration within the CK Hutchison Holdings conglomerate, offering comprehensive end-to-end services, including terminal management, vessel agency, cargo handling, and logistics solutions.

Shipping Agency Services Industry News

  • In December 2022, GAC, a global provider of shipping, logistics, and marine services, has recently acquired the agency business of NSG, the Swedish subsidiary of ESL Shipping in Finland. The financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed. This acquisition represents GAC's second ship agency purchase in Sweden this year, following its acquisition of Hasting Ship Services in October.

The shipping agency services market research report includes in-depth coverage of the industry, with estimates & forecast in terms of revenue (USD Billion) from 2018 to 2032, for the following segments:

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Market, By Service Type

  • Cargo Handling
  • Custom Clearance
  • Container Services
  • Cargo Insurance
  • Others

Market, By Agency Type

  • Port Agency
  • Cargo Agency
  • Charter Agency
  • Others

The above information has been provided for the following regions and countries:

  • North America
    • U.S.
    • Canada
  • Europe
    • UK
    • Germany
    • France
    • Italy
    • Spain
    • Russia
    • Norway
  • Asia Pacific
    • China
    • India
    • Japan
    • South Korea
    • ANZ
    • Southeast Asia 
  • Latin America
    • Brazil
    • Mexico
    • Argentina
  • MEA
    • UAE
    • South Africa
    • Saudi Arabia


Authors: Preeti Wadhwani

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) :

The market size of shipping agency services reached USD 338.2 billion in 2022 and is set to record over 6.2% between 2023 and 2032, says this GMI report.

Cargo agency segment share was around 37% in 2022, due to their pivotal role in facilitating the movement of goods and establishing direct relationships with cargo owners, shippers, and consignees, making them key intermediaries in the supply chain.

North America market is expected to record around 5% CAGR from 2023 to 2032, as the region's strong economy, increased consumer demand for imported goods, and the expansion of e-commerce that has fueled international trade.

Hutchison Ports, Kuehne + Nagel, PSA International, Cargotec, CEVA Logistics, CMA CGM Group, DHL Global Forwarding, DP World, Expeditors International, and Flexport.

Shipping Agency Services Market Scope

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  • Base Year: 2022
  • Companies covered: 19
  • Tables & Figures: 215
  • Countries covered: 21
  • Pages: 230
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