Mind-Boggling Opportunities in Logistics

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the power of perspective. Winston Churchill once wrote, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” In other words, the difference between an exciting opportunity and an insurmountable challenge lies in your perspective – and when it comes to our industry, this rings true to me.

Sometimes, we forget just how much opportunity lies ahead of us, especially when conversations abound on the subject of truck scarcities and labor shortages (which are very real challenges). Yet, these very struggles present us with the chance to fill in blanks, serve new clients’ needs, and grow our business.

opportunitiesThis isn’t just my optimism speaking. In fact, the logistics industry is projected to grow a staggering amount in the next few years. Volumes are expected to nearly double, from 54.6 billion tons in 2015 to 92.1 billion tons by 2024. In total, the logistics industry is expected to reach a mind-blowing $15.5 trillion in less than five years.

Just one trillion is hard to wrap your mind around, let alone 15.5 trillion. For starters, one trillion is one million million. Written out, $1 trillion is followed by 12 zeros. That’s $1,000,000,000 we’re talking about.

Only a handful of U.S. companies (like Amazon and Apple) are worth over $1 trillion, and it would take a string of 440,000 semi-trailers to carry the weight of $1 trillion dollars. Parked bumper-to-bumper they would form a line 6250 miles long – that would be a line stretching from Jacksonville, FL to Aberdeen, WA (3087 miles), coast-to-coast, and back again, with a few trucks left over.

With that much money, you could buy everyone who lives in San Francisco (population approx. 1 million) a million-dollar apartment – but you’d have to write a check. There are just over $1 trillion dollars currently in circulation around the United States.

Now, multiply that by 15.5, and you have some idea of just how much potential we’re talking about when it comes to global logistics.

We’re part of an exceptionally free and open market, too. In other industries, a few key players at the top hold near-monopolies. Take beer, for example: Anheuser-Busch snags nearly half of the world’s beer profits. And when it comes to search engines, Google still reigns supreme as the world’s favorite, with the vast majority of the market share. But in the logistics industry, the balance is turned upside down. The top four companies (Deutsche Post DHL, Ceva Logistics, UPS, and FedEx) have control over less than 15 percent of the market. That leaves a lot of room for the rest of us.

Don’t get me wrong: I am a realist, and I know that our industry is changing. And, like all industries, we face new challenges every day. But within those challenges lies tremendous opportunity. Our industry is getting bigger and bigger, and there’s plenty of room for everyone to keep growing.

Fuel for Thought,