Inbound Logistics | January 2024

TAKEAWAYS Shaping the Future of the Global Supply Chain

Help Wanted x 2 Million The logistics and transportation sector is no stranger to challenging employment trends.

“GREENWASHING” GAFFES With the current intense focus on sustainability, it’s not surprising that many companies are accused of “greenwashing,” or conveying a false or misleading impression of the environmentally friendly nature of their products or supply chains. Increasingly, however, many firms may be unintentionally guilty of the practice. Nearly half (45%) of U.S. organizations are concerned they could be at risk of unintentional greenwashing, finds new research from Ivalua. With pressures from customers and regulators on the rise, organizations also face pressure to ensure all green claims are legitimate. The study reveals less than half (48%) of organizations claim they are “very confident” that they can “accurately” report on Scope 3 emissions (emissions resulting from activities or assets not owned or controlled by the reporting organization). Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds (62%) say reporting on Scope 3 emissions feels like a “best-guess” measurement. The research also shows that while 88% of organizations are confident they’re on track to meet net-zero targets, many don’t have comprehensive, fully implemented plans in place for: • Adopting renewable energy (78% are confident in their plans) • Reducing carbon emissions (68%) • Adopting circular economy principles (72%) • Reducing air pollution (67%) • Reducing water pollution (63%) The research also finds that more than half (51%) of organizations agree that unless green initiatives to reach net-zero goals also involve suppliers, they are a waste of time.

Combating driver shortages, for instance, has been a top priority for trucking and intermodal companies for the past several years. And nding and retaining skilled warehouse workers has also been problematic for the distribution eld. The sector should continue to expect ongoing employment difculties in the near future, according to Chad Raube, president and CEO of IntelliTrans, a global provider of multimodal solutions for bulk and breakbulk industries. What’s driving these trends? Raube points to increased order complexities; lower levels of available, seasoned staff; and changes in economic conditions where recovery rarely generates a return to prior staff levels. “With continued growth forecast for domestic freight in 2024 and beyond, there is an expected need of nearly two million new employees for transportation and warehousing jobs, due to growth and attrition,” he says. Adding to the challenge is the fact that companies are competing for a shrinking share of the population. Raube points to these stats: For workers aged 25 to 65, only 19% of the labor force will increase from 2021 to 2031, and 80% of the workforce in 2031 will come from the over-65 population . Also, construction of new manufacturing sites has tripled in the past two years because of reshoring, which will change distribution patterns and transportation modes, adding to the urgency around these trends, he notes. 3 INDUSTRIAL REAL ESTATE PREDICTIONS 1. Look for vacancy rates to inch up further, as the construction pipeline continues to deliver new product throughout the country, while demand moderates further. The national vacancy rate should peak at just over 6% in 2024 before re-tightening. 2. Net absorption will remain tempered in 2024, as cooler consumer demand for goods, persisting elevated interest rates, and sticky inflation hamper growth. 3. As this wave of industrial product delivers over the next 12 months, the construction pipeline will shrink further, leading some markets to become supply constrained in 2025 as absorption starts to regain momentum. Source: Cushman & Wakefield

38 Inbound Logistics • January 2024

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