Inbound Logistics | January 2024


Bil prterhis

procurement styles (spot, contract, hybrid) will undoubtedly outperform their competitors who simply carry over their 2023 playbook into what will prove to be a considerably transformed market environment. –Chris Pickett, COO, Flock Freight Pepre fr isupio A confluence of macroeconomics, geopolitical turmoil, and climate change will cause headaches in 2024 . From a global trade perspective, issues in the Suez and Panama canals will cause challenges for importers, exporters, and logistics providers. A lack of rain at the Panama Canal has led to the canal only taking half of the traŒc it typically supports. Meanwhile, in December 2023, Houthi rebels fired drones at multiple ships in the Red Sea to limit goods traveling through the canal, causing major ocean carriers to reroute traŒc away from the Suez Canal. Ocean carriers will now have to travel around South Africa or Chile to transport goods between Asia and the East Coast—causing increased transit time and adding costs. Alternatively, more ocean carriers will bring shipments to the West Coast and use rail and truck services, increasing costs and congestion at West Coast ports. Executives must plan thoughtfully and be sensitive to dynamic changes in global shipping. This will require close collaboration with forwarding partners to understand how transit times and costs are impacted by these events. When it comes to supply chain, the status quo is no more. –Mark Irwin, Vice President of International and Finance, R.I.M. Logistics

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truckload freight rates will surge +30-40% higher by the end of 2024. As a result, contract truckload routing guides will begin to break down by mid-year before resetting up to +10% higher through a series of mini-bids and re-pricing exercises. –Chris Pickett, COO, Flock Freight Expect climate regulations to target materials Unsustainable materials—clothing, food, and building materials—will be federally regulated in 2024. Federal scrutiny has been largely centered on energy and mobility, with materials lagging dramatically behind despite their sizable contributions to climate change. We could see new regulations on retail and fashion, restrictions on certain imports, and transparency requirements on where materials come from (like mined metals). This will start to drive industry step changes and heat up the material tech market in 2024. –Satish Rao, Chief Product OŒcer, Newlab Hiring slows down A major trend in manufacturing is a slowed approach to hiring as the industry faces a significant recalibration. We anticipate a noticeable slowdown in the industry’s recruitment plans, and will instead see an increased emphasis on retaining and upskilling the existing workforce. External factors like economic uncertainty, increased adoption of automation and AI, and the ongoing impact of global events on workforce dynamics all contribute to manufacturing companies’ more cautious approach to hiring and the subsequent slowdown in industry job openings. Across the manufacturing sector, retention strategies will be increasingly pivotal to fueling growth, as companies prioritize preparing their teams for when the next growth cycle inevitably picks back up and ensuring their teams can help to increase productivity by being proficient on the latest technology. While growth will eventually pick back up, 2024 will be marked by a slow-moving yet stable economy. –Joe Galvin, Chief Research OŒcer, Vistage

Maintain strong relationships with providers in your network who can connect you to spot capacity in a pinch. When the rate environment becomes inflationary, you will likely see primary tender acceptance dip with even your most reliable contracted carriers. Contract rates in 2024 are based on the softer market of 2023 and will be driven down as far as possible as executives and shareholders pressure procurement leaders to hit budget targets. Brokers and carriers are most likely pushed to reset contracts in this environment at rates that will inevitably be lower than transactional rates throughout the year. Once the market reverses the supply/demand dynamic for them (more demand and less supply), they’ll explore the spot market with greater frequency. This could put you in a tough position if you’re not prepared to be agile. To pivot when your routing guide lets you down, you should keep close ties to reliable brokers with abundant capacity in your lanes. Communicate regularly with your reps at these providers even in the early part of the year when things are still smooth so you know exactly who to call when you need a truck at a moment’s notice. –Corey Klujsza, VP, Pricing and Procurement Strategy, Coyote Logistics



Mna e ou tanpotaio prtolo

2024 is the year of portfolio management when it comes

to executing the optimal transportation strategy. Shippers who invest in diversifying across modes (LTL, STL, FTL, and IMDL), operating models (private, asset-based, non-asset-based), and

126 Inbound Logistics • January 2024

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