Transport Intelligence report examines e-commerce complexity

According to research contained in “Total Logistics 2017,” a powerful mix of demand and supply side factors means that further re-structuring is possible… if not probable.

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A new report released by the London-based think tank, Transport Intelligence (Ti) notes that the logistics industry has undergone a “transformation” with a dramatic shift in service sector domination.

According to research contained in “Total Logistics 2017,” a powerful mix of demand and supply side factors means that further re-structuring is possible… if not probable.

“The global logistics industry is vast, both in terms of market size and the huge numbers of people employed in the sector. It is therefore surprising that its role in the development of the global economy is generally overlooked,” says Ti’s CEO, Professor John Manners-Bell.

Ti estimates that the global e-commerce logistics market grew by 18.1% in 2016, and has forecast a 2016-2020 compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.6%. Low, expected and high forecast scenarios have been presented.

“E-commerce is making everything more unpredictable,” Ti analyst Ken Lyon. In an interview with LM, this report author adds that the rate that is even accelerating.

“To cope, organizations will need to react faster, by breaking down functional silos to enhance communication and reaction, use systems that support flexibility rather than rigid process, establish operational networks and alliances that can respond and flex to demand,” he says.

David Buckby, an economist with Ti, and another one of the authors,  observes that e-commerce volume now accounts for 20% of DHL Express total volumes, up from about 10% in 2013.

“That’s not necessarily all international volume growth, but I reckon a good portion of it is,” he says in an interview.

For Alex Leroy, a Ti analyst and report co-author, the obvious impact to is that cross-border e-commerce is proving to be a major “shot in the arm” for air freight, with the comments from SEKO Logistics executives.

“DHL’s latest report claims that cross-border e-commerce accounts for about 15% of total e-commerce GMV (2015), and has an annual growth rate of 25%, with one in ten dollars spent on TDI shipments,” he says.

In addition to the roles of the contract logistics and freight forwarding sectors, the Ti report also examines the dynamics of the express parcels, container shipping, air cargo, trucking and intermodal industries.

“While global macro-trends are highly important to the long term future of these sectors, conversely it is the structure and competitive nature of these sectors which has a ‘bottom up’ influence on supply chain management and hence global economies,” concludes Manners-Bell


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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