The Weekly Roar

In this week’s Roar: the future of globalization, perspectives on digital transformation, ecommerce trends, growing U.S. truck tonnage, and an opportunity for supply chain leaders to step up.

A new study shows that despite talk of the end of globalization as the result of many things, like Covid, the U.S./ China trade war, the war in Ukraine, and the UK leaving the European Union, globalization continues to expand. The report indicates that the average distance covered by trade, people, and more has continued to increase over the last two decades. However, as many companies consider near-shoring their supply chains, it could mean that trade patterns will shift to something more regional in the future.

Digital Transformation Projects Take Hold Among Shipping and Logistics Firms, was released in late February in conjunction with the Journal of Commerce’s TPMTech23 conference in Long Beach. The study found that 70 percent of shippers have a documented digital strategy. This exceeds the 64 percent of LSPs and 57 percent of carriers that do. When looking at all companies (shippers, LSPs, and carriers), the largest barrier to increasing those figures is a shortage of organizational skills and talent. Other factors holding back more digital advancement include a ‘legacy mindset’, concern over the return on investment, and not enough executive support.

The pandemic rocketed e-commerce into the stratosphere, and B2B e-commerce went along with the ride. But predictions for 2023 are that only 17% of B2B sales will be in e-commerce. This is still high, but shows growth is slowing. For companies ready to take on the specific supply chain challenges of ecommerce, there’s huge potential in the market, and the manufacturers and suppliers who can overcome those challenges will find success.

In the U.S,, there was a year-over-year increase of 2.3% in truck tonnage in February. Month-to-month numbers were up as well, with February showing a 1.2% increase after a 0.6% increase in January. Word on the street is that there’s a glimmer of hope that inventory cycles are, and will, continue to improve, which should translate into increased truck freight volumes later in 2023.

There’s an old saying that says when the going gets tough, the tough get going. And for some, this means taking advantage of present supply chain circumstances, whatever they are. Whether they’re dealing with an old normal, a new normal, or not normal at all. There’s a call for supply chain leaders to be agile, which can mean planning for different scenarios ahead of time and making appropriate investments in technology. Now, when the time is right. Not later, when it might be too late.

For the rest of the week’s top shipping news, check out the article highlights below.