Global Logistics: Freight forwarders maintaining their speed

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
October 01, 2012 - LM Editorial

Manufactured exports—a bright spot of the U.S. economy in recent years—are set to surge. According to Harold Sirkin, a senior partner with Boston Consulting Group (BCG), this will place new pressures on today’s freight forwarders to sustain velocity, avoid disruption, and mitigate risk.

“The export manufacturing sector has been the unsung hero of the U.S. economy for the past few years,” says Sirkin. “But this is only the beginning. The U.S. is becoming one of the lowest-cost producers in the developed world, and companies in Europe and Japan are taking notice.”

BCG projects that by 2015, the U.S. will have an export cost advantage of 5 percent to 25 percent over Germany, Italy, France, the U.K., and Japan in a range of industries. Among the biggest drivers of this advantage will be the costs of labor, natural gas, and electricity.

As a result, the U.S. could capture 2 percent to 4 percent of exports from the four European countries and 3 percent to 7 percent from Japan by the end of the current decade. This would translate into as much as $90 billion in additional U.S. exports per year.

When the increase in U.S. exports to the rest of the world is included, annual gains could reach $130 billion. BCG forecasts that the biggest U.S. export gains will be in machinery, transportation equipment, electrical equipment and appliances, and chemicals.

So it goes without saying that U.S. shippers who seek to take advantage of these oncoming opportunities abroad will be vetting freight forwarders on a continuing basis. And they’ll be doing so, say analysts, by comparing notes with their peers and staying close to trade organizations for transactional intelligence in order to make these critical partnering decisions.

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 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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