These last few years have been challenging for the logistics sector and the supply chain. Now, more than ever, freight forwarders must be aware of new trends to add more value to their efforts and stay one step ahead of their competition. So what can we expect for the upcoming year?

 

The trends in logistics for this next year can be a great opportunity for those forwarders that want to be one step ahead of their competition. With January already on the horizon, these trends will be decisive for the strategies planned in 2022. 

 

Which are the trends in logistics expected of 2022?

 

It’s well known that digitalization and technological advances have changed the way we do things from end to end, and even more so in the logistics sector where globalization has a strong impact. Therefore, many of the next trends in logistics are influenced by them and can be considered as guidelines for our next strategies.

 

1. Increased demand for 3PL and 4PL services

According to different experts, the global logistics providers market is expected to reach USD 1.1 trillion in the next six years. Therefore, those 3PL companies that provide warehouses in multiple locations will have greater demand, since that would mean more efficient last-mile logistics with more services, and much faster.

This is closely linked to another growing trend, which is the greater integration of large companies with their logistics operators. Thus, they will find themselves demanding increasingly stringent service levels in the supply chain, such as market forecasts – where Big Data plays a crucial role -, design of logistic chains, product adaptation to destination markets, etc.

 

2. Need for a specialized staff

For some years now, the set of skills required from people to work in the logistics sector has been focused on the latest technologies. For this reason, some of the most required profiles will be those experts in areas such as process automation, Big Data, and AI. The most valued profiles will be those that can develop smart environments using IoT and provide a differential value to the organization.

The competition for acquiring the best talent is at a fierce point, so logistics managers and HR managers must do everything in their power to motivate their people and keep them trained. It will be key to maximize time and resources, considering opportunities to save time and using technology that allows supply chain professionals to focus on more strategic tasks.

 

3. The capacity crisis will still go on

Right now, there’s too much demand but not enough capacity for container shipping. This is a crisis that has been looming for years and has only been exacerbated by the growth in shipping volumes due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the holidays during the latter months of the year. It will take time for capacity to meet demand, and companies will need to make the most out of their capacity by closely monitoring asset utilization and prioritizing shipments. Indeed, good shipments management will determine the survival of freight forwarders.

 

4. M&A will increase

Shipping companies and their customers are investing in visibility through mergers and acquisitions, expanding vertically and horizontally. Currently, the value of the transaction increased 86% year-over-year in the first half of 2021. A prime example is the acquisition of Senator International by Maersk, a German freight forwarder with almost 40 years in the market.

Visibility is now a strategic way to drive greater efficiency, so we can expect more companies to grow in size throughout 2022. Thus, these mergers and acquisitions can be a good opportunity to add capacity – from staff to infrastructure-, and manage growth effectively.

 

5. More investment in infrastructure

Clearly, new vessels, new trains, new planes, and new ports are needed. If only we could complete and build the supply chain infrastructure overnight, it would relieve much of the capacity crisis. But, unfortunately, it will take time to catch up with the infrastructure we need.

However, we have hope by knowing that actions are being taken at different strategic points to promote this growth. Smart ports are on the rise and there are more and more industrial advances in ships and machinery. This is highly linked to the new regulations on caring for the environment and green logistics that are being targeted. At the moment, although it is a play that is already in action, we must work as best as possible with what we have and wait for the investments to come.

 

There are still several aspects to work on, but these trends in logistics are just around the corner, and thus, taking them into account will be vital for our survival. The good news is that freight forwarders can position themselves competitively by taking the right steps in the face of these advances and succeeding in the face of the challenges ahead.

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