What a year it has been. The industry was on cruise control until it hit the huge speed bump known as the COVID-19 pandemic. That left everyone veering off course onto side roads no one could have even foreseen 12 months ago. Some logistics companies, trucking firms in particular, will never ride again, as the swift economic downturn has caused their demise. Others will continue to struggle as they find new ways to replace lost revenue, ensure safety for their workers, and look toward brighter days ahead.
No single area of the logistics sector escaped the clutches of the pandemic. The one bright spot is what we always knew—that logistics is essential to our lives. That assured that even while many of us spent a good part of this year hunkered down (or at least limiting our movements and engagements), supplies continued to flow, wheels kept turning, and deliveries brought the essential goods we rely on every day.
Our annual State of Logistics issue reflects the trends happening in the major sectors of the supply chain industry. We start off by sharing highlights of the “31st Annual CSCMP State of Logistics Report.” This exclusive research study is authored by the global management consulting firm Kearney and presented by Penske Logistics. It provides an in-depth view of all the sectors of the logistics industry within the United States and the industry’s overall impact on the U.S. economy. The report also discusses new technologies that have the potential to alter the landscape before us. The full report is free for all CSCMP members.
This year the study showed that logistics expenditures rose to $1.652 trillion in 2019 or 7.6% of the U.S.’s gross domestic product (GDP) of $21.4 trillion. This is somewhat of a return to normal, as it represents less of an increase than was seen in 2018, when costs were at 7.9% of GDP. When the 2020 numbers come out next spring, the outlook might not be quite as rosy, as overall GDP is expected to fall due to the COVID-induced recession.
Beyond the synopsis of the CSCMP report, you will find in this issue expanded coverage from industry experts from each area of the supply chain who provide their insights into specific sectors. We deliver this analysis in easily digestible slices of trucking, rail/intermodal, ocean, air freight, inventory management, warehousing, third-party logistics, and technology.
Regardless of whether you are a shipper who needs to move goods or a carrier providing those moves, we hope that the knowledge you gain may help you endure the rest of a bumpy year and help you to plan for a better 2021.