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Land Logistics: What to Watch for in 2023

As the world begins to adjust post-pandemic, companies must keep up with rapidly fluctuating logistics trends in order to remain competitive. 
David Buss

As the world begins to adjust post-pandemic, companies must keep up with rapidly fluctuating logistics trends in order to remain competitive. 

2023 presents a unique opportunity for businesses looking to utilize cutting-edge technology, such as automated vehicles and AI-powered supply chain solutions, but it also poses challenges when it comes to understanding new shipping regulations. 

It’s essential that we look closely at major shifts occurring within land logistics if we want to stay ahead of the curve moving forward into this next decade.

The State of the Industry in 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a catalyst for dramatic shifts in consumer spending, as people have invested more heavily in goods than services. Unfortunately, this surge of demand is putting strain on global supply chains and their workers, who are struggling to keep up with the increased volume – especially those reliant upon overseas materials or components.

For most of 2021, the freight and logistics industry was in a crippled state due to unprecedented levels of port congestion – a combination of surging demand, supply chain disruptions, as well as long-term macroscale trends stemming from decades ago. 

While these issues have stabilized to some degree, the ongoing war in Russia, the US-China trade war, and the new Brexit deal have all contributed to further supply chain complexity.

Last year presented unprecedented changes to the way we do business. Thankfully, technology was up for the challenge, with emerging blockchain-based smart contracts and AI-driven technology taking center stage – transforming how companies manage costs associated with warehousing and inventory management going into 2023.

In 2023, there are a variety of trends that will have a major impact on the land logistics landscape. Below are  a few of the most notable ones to keep an eye out for:

Labor Shortages

The global economy’s dramatic shifts will lead to continued labor shortages in 2023 – resulting in slower delivery times and rising costs for companies. To stay ahead of these issues, businesses need to embrace automation and related technologies. 

Getting products from one location to another as quickly and efficiently as possible should continue to be the industry’s highest priority, and these new solutions help to make that happen.

For example, new strides are now being taken to look at more autonomous freight solutions like self-driving trucks and warehouse robots. While these disruptive new technologies are still in their infancy stage, over the next couple of years, they will continue to create an unprecedented shift.

This shift enables companies to reduce their reliance on human labor while still operating efficiently – a win-win situation that gives workers higher-value roles. Automation also helps businesses retain key staff by reducing churn rates.

Worker Retention Concerns

With labor pools in many countries becoming increasingly limited, companies must focus on staff retention and job satisfaction. This has been an ongoing challenge for the logistics industry due to its-unstable pay structures, long hours, and lack of career progression opportunities. 

There has also been a major shift in logistics jobs towards more contract-based models, which can be a detriment to employee morale and job satisfaction.

To combat these issues, companies must focus on creating attractive working environments for their staff. This includes offering competitive wages and benefits, flexible scheduling options, improved safety protocols, and better training opportunities.

Stronger Focus on Sustainable Supply Chains

Businesses across a wide array of industries have embraced environmental sustainability as an urgent priority. The logistics sector is leading the charge by transforming fleet vehicles to electric power and introducing low-emission fuel sources, helping to take a giant leap towards protecting the planet.

Companies can no longer ignore the looming reality of environmental regulations. To stay ahead of potential penalties, many organizations are now investing in renewable energy sources and zero-emission fleets to ensure their practices remain sustainable for years to come. By making wise investments today, companies safeguard both their finances and the environment in the future.

Increased Awareness of Compliance Risks

By 2023, the logistics industry will face a challenging digital terrain of compliance risks. The cybercrime trend has forced many new initiatives when it comes to designing and enforcing new data privacy regulations and anti-corruption laws. 

Some of these new regulations, although necessary to maintain, have forced organizations to take drastic steps to secure sensitive data across all of there systems.

The answer to this new challenge for many has been to adopt new secure digital environments to run their operations while also relying on powerful cybersecurity tools and solutions to monitor their compliance over time. Regular audits should also be conducted with these solutions for any possible discrepancies detected along the way.

Stabilizing Shipping Rates

Since the pandemic, shipping rates have risen to astronomical levels. However,  as economies begin to recover, shipping rates should continue to stabilize and become more predictable.

Even though the last several months have seen a relatively stable reduction in shipping rates, the past has proven that relying solely on a trendline can be problematic. 

Organizations should be taking progressive steps now to plan more effectively for the peaks and valleys of their consumer demand. This will not only help companies be better prepared when freight demand is at its highest, but will also put less pressure on the bottom line.

Digital Transformations in Supply Chain Management

Digital technology has revolutionized logistics in recent years, from artificial intelligence-enhanced route optimization to cloud computing powering supply chain networks. Companies now have access to powerful solutions that can maximize efficiency and reduce costs across their operations.

AI and ML have revolutionized supply chain logistics allowing organizations to make timely, data-driven decisions in order to optimize processes. By leveraging powerful analytics tools, they can analyze vast amounts of data for patterns and anomalies that drive cost reduction while maximizing efficiency along the entire logistical pipeline.

The Internet of Things continues to be an important part of global supply chains and the industries that support them. IoT devices make it easier to collect and share important real-time data that helps to inform decision-making processes at all levels of the production and distribution of goods. This data can be used to make proactive decisions and prevent potential bottlenecks or disruptions in the supply chain. 

As more businesses take advantage of these types of solutions, the logistics industry will continue to evolve and drive more change in the businesses that rely on it.

Keeping an Eye on the Future of Land Logistics

The logistics industry is facing an array of challenges over the next few years. Companies must plan for increased compliance risks, stabilize shipping rates, and adapt to digital transformations in supply chain management. 

To remain competitive, companies should invest in renewable energy infrastructure, transition to zero-emission delivery fleets, and prioritize sustainable sources of raw materials. By doing so, companies can reduce their environmental impact and ensure future compliance with tightening government regulations. 

With these measures in place, the logistics industry can remain competitive and look forward to a prosperous future.

David Buss
David L Buss. CEO of DB Schenker, North America.

David is CEO of DB Schenker North America, a 150 year old leading global freight forwarder and 3PL provider. David Buss is responsible for all P&L aspects in the North America region, which is made up of over 7,000 employees located throughout 39 forwarding locations and 55 logistics centers.

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