The current tough environment could bring out creativity, new opportunities and ideas to move the industry forward, according to a senior executive at one global forwarder.
David Lara, Ceva Logistics' VP of air freight for Europe, Middle East and Africa, told IFW: "All of a sudden you open your eyes to opportunities that might not have had such a high level of importance in previous times.
"I am a great believer that an environment such as this brings out some of the best and most creative minds. People start to think outside the box, and that is the kind of thing that takes the industry forward."
"Success is not about doing the same things five years' running."
Nestl¨¦'s head of global ocean transport, Brett Whitfield, also felt there were opportunities for creative sales teams.
He said shippers did not select carriers on price alone, although transport providers often thought this, and it was now more important than ever for sales teams from service providers to offer the personal touch.
"Become customer-focused; this is a people-driven game and we will give more business to the salesman that takes an interest in our business - be innovative and creative with your customers, " Whitfield said.
Chris Bourne, of the European Liner Affairs Association, said that sales teams from carriers had altered their approach because of the downturn.
"There is a major change in lines. They've had it easy over the years, because there has been overdemand and a shortage of capacity, but now there is overcapacity and a shortage of cargo - now salesmen have got to listen to the customers."
Nick Weetman, director at supply chain consulting business Davies & Robson, said now was also an opportunity to implement changes that shippers had been intending to make, but had not given the necessary priority during the sales-driven cycle of recent years.
But he warned: "Shippers thinking about outsourcing, for example, need to do it for the right reasons. Outsourcing should be a strategic decision, not one taken simply because a shipper thinks it will lead to a cut in costs. It doesn't always."