Technology is transforming the world of freight, transportation and logistics. The rise of e-commerce has changed shipping patterns, leading to an increase in less than a truckload or LTL shipments. The development of new logistics software allows shippers and brokers to track goods in real time, for greater efficiency and security. Speciality freight services now offer managed transportation that can handle everything from global aerospace logistics to trade show shipments.
Freight and logistics industry continues to grow
The freight and logistics industry has been the lifeblood of the economy, and it continues to grow. By 2013, 15 billion tons of cargo were being transported by the trucking industry. This number is growing and is expected to reach 18.79 billion tons by 2040, according to projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The transportation network moves goods by way of around 12 million trucks, rail cars, and vessels.
The U.S. transportation and logistics industry contributes 8% of the annual gross domestic product, with revenues of $1.48 trillion as of 2015. Machinery, electronics, and motorized vehicles make up the largest segments of cargo in terms of value. With the rise of e-commerce, however, new patterns in logistics and shipment size and value are emerging.
Less than truckload (LTL) and speciality freight
While the overall value of cargo shipments continues to grow, the size of shipments and the distance traveled have decreased over the years. The transportation and logistic industry is adapting to changes in retail, with such services as less than truckload and expedited freight shipments. The value of the LTL shipping market is currently estimated to be around $35 billion.
Shipments are traveling shorter distances. The average length of haul has declined by 4% in the five years between 2011 and 2016, according to Satish Jindel, president of SJ Consulting Group. The value of freight, on the other hand, continues to rise, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation. From $882 per ton in 2007, the value of freight is expected to increase to $1,377 per ton in 2040.
How e-commerce changes shipping and logistics
As the retail industry changes, trucking and shipping patterns are changing to keep pace. The rise of e-commerce has transformed the world of retail, as consumers can buy everything from groceries to computers and furniture online. The total value of U.S. e-commerce revenue is currently about $423.3 billion and is increasingly steadily.
This means that shippers and carriers have to handle LTL shipments and parcels alongside full truckloads. Managed transportation services give shippers the software to track their shipments in real time. They can handle everything from parcel delivery to global aerospace logistics. LTL shipments offer shippers lower costs, flexibility and quicker delivery times.
The freight and logistics industries continue to be crucial to the economy, but they are adapting to changes in retail patterns. The rise of e-commerce has led to an increase in LTL and parcel shipments. New shipping software and managed transportation services can help shippers with everything from a single parcel to global aerospace logistics. See this reference for more.