CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
October 24, 2018
Direct Connection
Direct Connection

A new era for logistics

The 2016 "State of Logistics Report" documents how the factors underlying logistics costs and trends are changing—perhaps permanently.

Every year in June, the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) releases its annual "State of Logistics Report" at a press conference in Washington, D.C., with Penske Logistics as the report's top supporter. And every year, this highly anticipated research is cited around the world as the authoritative analysis of the impact logistics activity has on the U.S. economy.

In those respects, the 2016 "State of Logistics Report" was just like its predecessors. But the new report also featured several changes that will enhance its value for our members and others who read it. First, CSCMP collaborated with the global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, the report's new author and researcher. Second, A.T. Kearney has used some new data sources and analysis methodologies. And finally, the report has been expanded to include a narrative about the economic environment impacting logistics, insights from interviews with industry leaders, a spotlight on relevant trends, and a strategic view of the state of the industry.

Change is also the overarching theme of the 2016 "State of Logistics Report." As this year's title, "Logistics in Transition: New Drivers at the Wheel," suggests, the factors underlying logistics costs and trends are shifting. Here are just a few examples from the report's findings:

The logistics industry is entering a new era. Over the next decade, disruptive forces, including technology and operational constraints, threaten to fundamentally change the rules of the game.

Logistics costs are rising more slowly. Total U.S. business logistics costs rose to $1.48 trillion in 2015, a 2.6 percent increase from the previous year and a considerably slower rise than we've seen in the past few years.

Transportation demand and rates are down, while capacity is up. Demand for motor carriage, containerized shipping, airfreight services, and coal traffic and crude oil by rail have declined. Rates in some sectors are soft and continue to fall. Ocean and air are both experiencing significant overcapacity, creating a favorable rate environment for U.S. shippers.

Growth in parcel and express is being fueled by e-commerce. A notable exception is the parcel and express sector, which continues to grow, with the main drivers being the explosion of business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce and omnichannel retail.

Technology is changing 3PLs. Technology will continue to play a key role in the evolution of the third-party logistics market. There's something for every logistics and supply chain manager in this report, including the statistics and industry insights that will not only help you do your job better, but will also better prepare you for the business demands ahead. I hope you'll read the 2016 "State of Logistics Report" from cover to cover. The report is complimentary for all CSCMP members as an exclusive member benefit and is available for purchase by nonmembers. I invite you to visit for more information.

Rick Blasgen is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP).

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