The global logistics and freight industry underwent significant transformation following the Great Recession in 2008. Instead of adding to their fleets and warehouse footprint, logistics companies focused on optimizing their operations and integrating new supply chain technologies to maximize efficiencies and keep costs down.
However, the early 2020s brought with them new disruptions such as COVID-19, labor shortages, and port bottlenecks, which placed additional pressure on an already stressed system. According to a global supply chain survey conducted, 41% of supply chain professionals believe that delayed shipments will continue beyond the pandemic, and issues such as an imbalance of containers, mispositioned containers, and railroad strikes are likely to impact port operations worldwide for months and years to come.
Despite the challenges, the logistics pipeline has been mostly cleared of the worst slowdowns, and companies must think about optimizing global logistics to prepare for the next inevitable disruption. The article highlights that a bottleneck in any one segment of global logistics can impact the others, and a bottleneck in all segments can bring the entire system to a halt.
Capacity is up across the board, and shippers have momentum and leverage for the first time since before the outbreak of COVID-19.
In air freight, the bounce-back is being aided by passengers’ steady demand for air travel worldwide. Belly capacity remains down in some lanes compared to pre-COVID levels. In ocean shipping, freight rates are falling from the historic highs seen in 2021, but overall ocean freight reliability continues to be a driving issue globally. Finally, demand in the LTL market in the US and Mexico decreased throughout the summer last year, concurrently with consumer demand, causing significant bottlenecks at warehouses.