Freight Market Trends to Expect in 2022
Supply chains have been severely impacted by COVID-19. Because of it, the last two years have been full of challenges for the freight market and the global logistics industry. Going back to what we previously considered normal looks further and further away. What can we predict is in store for the industry, and what trends should we be aware of as we step into 2022?
All the difficulties the freight market has faced until now will continue to exert pressure on global supply chains in the coming year: unprecedented demand, high rates, raw materials and component shortages, labor shortfalls, port congestion, rising fuel costs and whatever new challenges await us. Companies need to keep working on the early detection of and response to disruptions, as well as planning ahead, with the following trends in mind.
As long as consumers keep spending on goods rather than investing in services, the boost in online purchases brought along by the pandemic will continue. This will represent opportunities and challenges for retailers and last-mile logistics companies, such as minimizing delivery costs and maximizing the available delivery capacity.
The freight industry, like many others, is in the midst of a labor crisis. Finding new drivers, warehouse workers and other critical logistics professionals to maintain capacity will remain important. However, companies will focus further on talent retention and productivity, as well as on the implementation of artificial intelligence and task automation. Businesses must maximize their limited human resources.
Focus on sustainability will rise as governments, consumers and many investment funds are taking an increasingly stronger stance on sustainability and productivity enhancement strategies implemented by companies in order to reduce greenhouse emissions. As the world embraces more ambitious sustainability goals to mitigate the effects of climate change, businesses must minimize their environmental impact, which could even be profitable for them.
Supply chain technology will move closer towards machine learning, blockchain and the internet of things (IoT), to take advantage of data and make supply chains and logistics operations more visible, efficient and reliable. Recognizing the first signs of a deviation as early as possible and bringing the resources and attention of the entire logistics team to get the supply chain back on track is the smartest way to mitigate the ongoing uncertainty that will surely continue in 2022.
The last two years have taught us that we need to brace ourselves for the unexpected. Building flexible and responsive supply chains will allow us to deal with market fluctuations and any kind of unforeseen circumstances.