TIA Members Going Global

Robert Voltmann
President & CEO
Transportation Intermediaries Association

In November, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the founding of our Association. The original name was the Professional Brokers Association. Shortly thereafter, the name was changed to the Transportation Brokers Conference of America (TBCA). The word “conference” was used because some members of the Board thought we should become part of the American Trucking Association (ATA), but that didn’t happen. In the mid-1980s, the bylaws were amended to eliminate the requirement that only licensed property brokers could be members. We remained TBCA until 1995 when the Board, following a strategic retreat, recommended to the membership that we become the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) with new bylaws and a new, broader purpose.

By the time the Board took this action, the Association already had domestic freight forwarders as members, freight audit and payment companies, exempt commodities brokers, intermodal marketing companies, as well as third-parties engaged in air and ocean logistics. By becoming TIA, the Board and members recognized that this industry would continue to morph and change as it grew, and the Association needed to morph and change with the industry. TIA offered a broader platform for that growth.

In 1996, TIA began managing the American International Freight Association (AIFA), which was the U.S. member of the International Association of Freight Forwarder Associations (FIATA). AIFA merged into TIA in the early 2000s and TIA became the U.S. member of FIATA.

Today, our membership mirrors the U.S. freight market. At its core is the service truck brokerage. This makes total sense since more than 80 percent of U.S. freight primarily moves by truck. But, we also have more members engaged in intermodal service than any other association in North America. The number of members engaged in air and ocean service continues to grow both from those companies seeking to be part of TIA and by TIA members acquiring air and ocean logistics operations to add to their service.

The U.S. is the largest market in the world with a GDP of $19.4 trillion in 2017. California produced $2.75 trillion in economic output, more than the United Kingdom’s GDP. Texas had economic output of $1.65 trillion, slightly larger than that of Canada. Yet, we are still a global economy with $2.4 trillion worth of goods imported and $1.4 trillion worth of goods exported yearly. Of that $3.8 trillion in trade, $1.3 trillion is with Canada and Mexico, almost all of which moves by truck and rail.

As the largest market in the world, there is plenty of room to be solely domestic focused. But, with nearly $4 trillion in international trade, there are plenty of opportunities for third-party logistics companies. TIA is here to help through best practice guidelines, training, information, and the ability to help you reach out to 3PLs in other parts of the world. It’s often said that the more you put into something, the more you get out of it. If you are interested in learning more about moving international, multimodal freight (or partnering with companies that do) then get involved with TIA’s policy committees and become active at TIA’s meetings and events.