Logistics service providers and freight forwarders are optimistic that the economy will continue to grow, and provide opportunities for expansion in 2013, according to a survey by Transport Intelligence and software house Kewill.
Four out of five respondents reported slight business expansion over the past two years – and three quarters expect this growth to continue in 2013, the survey of 484 international businesses shows.
Growth has been well spread geographically across firms of differing sizes, although logistics service providers in Europe demonstrated lower growth rates than companies in North Africa, Middle East and Africa.
This highlights the impact that the on-going Euro crisis has had on European logistics service providers.
Most respondents intend to pursue growth organically, although there are still some organisations seeking expansion through a mix of organic and acquisition.
Road to recovery?
However over 30 per cent of forwarders and 3PL’s envisage growth by merger or acquisition in 2013, reflecting their sector’s stronger cash positions.
“The outlook for the logistics and transport industry is looking up,” said Joel Ray, head of consultancy at Transport Intelligence.
“With over two thirds of companies surveyed expecting growth in the next 12 months and the majority of smaller firms feeling more optimistic, including 90 per cent of 4PL’s and over 80 per cent of freight forwarders and 3PLs.”
Gerry Daalhuisen, solution manager for global trade and logistics at Kewill, warned: “What the logistics industry must take into consideration, in particular the mid-sized organisations with 251 to 500 employees that are most likely to have grown in the past two years and are most likely to grow in the coming year, is that the companies who re-invested in their business and focused on expansion were the ones who reaped the rewards. Investing in technology is no longer an option, it is imperative in doing business efficiently and thriving in today’s tough market place.”