skip to Main Content
Annual “State Of Logistics Report” Shows A Transportation Market Resetting Itself

Annual “State of Logistics Report” shows a transportation market resetting itself


Three years after the Covid pandemic hit and completely disrupted transportation networks, conditions are finally resetting and rebalancing themselves, according to the “34th Annual Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) State of Logistics Report,” released today. The past few years saw high demand and tight capacity, putting carriers in the proverbial driver’s seat. But as demand leveled off and inventory rose, the market has swung back in favor of shippers. After being burned by sky-high rates and some carriers failing to live up to prior agreements, many shippers are rethinking the annual bidding process and are looking at other options to lock down transportation capacity, according to the report. These include shorter deals, greater use of the spot market, and mini-bids. “We believe that the second half of 2022, and what we are seeing in 2023 so far, has been all about getting back in sync with the fundamental change in the equation between shippers and carriers,” said report lead author Balika Sonthalia, partner at the consulting company Kearney. “And in addition to that, we are also seeing that supply chain executives are being more thoughtful and seizing the moment to address structural costs and strengthen the foundation.” Every year, the State of Logistics Report seeks to detail all costs associated with moving freight through the U.S. supply chain. This year’s report—which was prepared by Kearney for the industry association CSCMP—studies the calendar year 2022 and the first few months of 2023. It also provides an analysis of the state of the economy and looks ahead at key logistics trends to watch. The report is sponsored by Penske Logistics. In spite of a softening in the overall logistics and transportation market over the past year, U.S. business logistics costs continued to rise, due in a large part to the effects of inflation and a hot labor market. In 2022, U.S. business logistics costs (USBLC) reached $2.3 trillion, a 19.6% rise over 2021. As a result, logistics costs represented 9.1% of U.S. gross domestic product in 2022. (See Exhibit 1.) Sonthalia, however, expects to see these numbers drop in succeeding years. [EXHIBIT 1] U.S. business logistics costs as a percent of nominal GDP “I believe with all the corrections that are taking place between all the transportation categories, we expect to see a significant return to the levels we are used to seeing of USBLC as a percentage of GDP,” said Sonthalia. “However, with the lingering shadow of inflation, we see prices remain elevated in certain categories and on certain routes. A lot will depend on the monetary policy, even with the [recent] pause in the interest rate hikes.” The report stresses that to succeed going forward, shippers and carriers will need to reset their relationships to be less transactional or adversarial and more strategic and collaborative. “If the past years have taught us anything, it is that uncertainty is now a near constant in the global economy, and the smartest way to respond in good times is to gather resources for when conditions suddenly shift again,” says the report. Logistics trends that shippers and carriers will have to work together to address include increasingly complex order fulfillment requirements due e-commerce growth, reshoring, geopolitical upheaval, and climate change, according to the report. Analysis by mode The report takes a close look at each of the main logistics sectors and transportation modes, including the following: Air: Rates for air cargo dropped 33% from January to December 2022, as demand fell, customers increased their use of ocean freight, and capacity increased as passenger travel returned to pre-pandemic levels. Worldwide air cargo revenue is expected to be $150 billion for 2023, a 25% drop from 2022. Parcel and last mile: As e-commerce growth eased, parcel volumes dropped by 2% in 2022. Revenue, however, rose as the major companies increased rates. The U.S. parcel market grew 4.7% year over year to $217 billion in 2022. Water/ports: The major ocean freight companies saw combined operating profits of $215 billion in 2022 due to the strength of the early months of the year. But in the back half of 2022 and into 2023, demand fell, and ships and containers became more available. As a result, 2023 profits are projected to drop by 80% year over year. Motor freight: Demand for over-the-road transportation stayed basically the same in 2022, while capacity increased. This shift has driven down rates significantly. Spot market rates for dry van, for example, fell 23% from the early months of 2022 to […]

Click here to view original web page at Annual “State of Logistics Report” shows a transportation market resetting itself

Daisie Hobson

Daisie Hobson is a Director at the Reshoring Institute and an engineer with many years of experience in manufacturing and project management.

Leave a Reply

Back To Top