The year has just started, which means that it is time to review the freight forwarding trends in 2018. Global trade continues to grow at an accelerating rate. The number of tons shipped by ocean containers has continued to increase over the years, from 102 million tons back in 1980 to a whopping 1720 million tons in 2016. Not only has this shaped the logistics industry and helped its growth, it also means that the complexity of conducting global trade as well as the need to comply to the numerous regulatory and licensing requirements has made it more challenging for professional such as freight forwarders s in the field.
As 2018 begins, logistics managers must assess and define strategies for this New Year in order to ensure their success. Understanding the trends in freight forwarding can help freight forwarders tie together expectations, review business performance and organizational goals so that strategies, logistics processes and contracts can be revised or improved upon. Here are some of the trends in freight forwarding that you can expect in 2018 across various transportation modes:
Freight forwarding trends in 2018 in Air freight
Air freight volumes are expected to continue to increase in 2018. This is largely because the demand for freight space is slowly increasing and might grow beyond its capacity in the next coming years. Since the retail supply chain has undergone a massive transformation in the past few years, retailers are now looking to leverage their stores better so that they can compete with giants such as Amazon and other e-commerce retailers.
As such, popularly bought items such as clothes and electronics will be more accessible to international consumers, making it easier to order online and have your items shipped to you by a reliable freight forwarding company. As the demand for air freight continues to grow, an increase in rates is also foreseeable; fuel costs are expected to increase because of a weaker USD. Supply chain challenges from Russia and OPEC will also persist this year.
Freight forwarding trends in 2018 in road freight
Road freight will continue to face some of the same challenges that were experienced in 2017. For instance, road safety will have to be addressed particularly where unsafe road networks are concerned. Technology filled debates such as the use of autonomous trucks to deal with driver shortage will also continue to plague road freight as a whole.
Freight forwarding companies and services will have to take aggressive actions in 2018 to lure new drivers as well as develop systems that can train existing drivers. To increase efficiency, shippers and carriers will also have to rely on transportation management and transportation network design solutions to solve dire issues such as empty miles.
Freight forwarding trends in 2018 in Warehousing
Last year, there was a public debate looming regarding labour shortages in warehouses. The need for more warehouse workers has increased over the years because of e-commerce and omnichannel. However, warehouse workers often have to work longer hours for very little pay so it is not a desirable job for many. Because of the shortage, logistic service providers are currently exploring and considering the use of autonomous mobile robots as a way to meet the labour shortage. In the next few years, warehouses can expect an increase of sales where bots are sold to a warehouse in a robot as a service (RaaS) capacity.
Freight forwarding trends in 2018 in Ocean freight
This year, the rates for containerized trade volume are expected to double in Africa , and are expected to increase everywhere else except Europe. The uncertainty over Britain’s exit from the EU is bound to affect retailers, suppliers and manufacturers. A large number of EU based businesses are anticipating moving their supply chain out of the UK due to the Brexit decision to leave the single market and custom unions.
Additionally, as more shippers transition to electronic chart displays that are prone to hacking, security risks are also expected to be on the rise.
The overly active hurricane season last year damaged both containers and trucks. Shippers may experience higher than normal increases in shipping rates at certain parts of the world affected by hurricanes, which might lead to tighter capacities as more carriers and shippers try to consolidate freight and get rid of deadhead.
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