3 Global Trends Shaping the Logistics Landscape in 2017

3 Global Trends Shaping the Logistics Landscape in 2017 | Transportfolio

It’s bound to be an interesting year for logistics. Even if we dismiss the effects of geopolitics on globalization, there are still a number of disrupters, such as ecommerce and merger and acquisition activity, which could lead to volatility in the transportation marketplace.

On a recent episode of Talking Logistics, I sat down with Adrian Gonzalez to discuss the impact of this dynamic environment and what actions might be taken to best prepare for the year ahead.

Let’s take a look at three supply chain trends for 2017, what the impact may be, and how shippers should be preparing for these challenges:

1. Globalization 

Considering events like Brexit and the early actions of the Trump administration, it’s no secret that the landscape of international trade is changing. Globalization offers growth potential for many organizations, but the recipe for past success in international markets cannot be relied upon as a roadmap for the future.

Industry Takeaway: To prepare for the inevitable instability, shippers and carriers will need to rely heavily on their network of relationships within the supply chain community.

2. Ecommerce

Ecommerce is not a new phenomenon, but each year its influence on supply chains becomes more apparent. Coming off yet another record-breaking holiday season of online sales, we are not far removed from the proof of this disruption.

To support the consumer’s desire for faster shipping and front door delivery, logistics providers are being challenged in ways they have not been in the past. If they hope to meet these demands, increased modal flexibility and reliance on technology will be required to drive efficiency.

Industry Takeaway: It will remain important to work closely with a third party logistics company who has these capabilities.

3. Mergers & Acquisitions 

Following the sizable mergers that took place in 2016, this will be a year of observation as we begin to see lengthy integrations start to take shape. That being said, the more interesting story of 2017 may actually be that of the steamship line alliances. These alliances stand to benefit shippers by simplifying supply chain management, but they also create a potentially limiting environment of choice.

Industry Takeaway: Regardless of how things play out, it’s clear that many liners are seeking increased stability following the Hanjin collapse. Shippers need to keep a close eye on changes.

How Shippers Should Prepare for 2017 

Moving forward, the most important thing for shippers to keep in mind is the multifaceted nature of the business. Maintaining a hyper focus on the supply and demand of your transportation services is a fundamental yet critical component of this equation.

It is also key to establish contingencies and plans for the “what if.” Fuel prices are a great example of an external factor we should not begin to take for granted. With a shifting political climate and recent statements from OPEC, the only thing we can accurately predict is continued uncertainty.

As a whole, 2017 is shaping up to be an exciting year in the realm of logistics. Shippers and carriers can’t rest on their laurels if they hope to thrive in the ever changing marketplace.

Matt Castle
Vice President GF Products
Stay up to date with our latest blog posts

Our carrier experts will answer your questions, provide advice and offer insights.