What awaits the world of logistics in 2023? Could we see a “return to normal”?

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After years of constant disruption caused by a worldwide pandemic, Brexit, and Russia's invasion of Ukraine, there has been talk recently about the supply chain situation being somewhat calmer in 2023 - even if tremors from those events are still arguably being felt now. Keen observers of these developments, and the freight sector in general, are of course the supply chain visibility companies. So to get an insight into whether calmer waters are indeed ahead in 2023, we quizzed Marc Boileau, FourKites’ Senior Vice President of Sales, Network & Operations for EMEA.

What awaits the world of logistics in 2023? Could we see a “return to normal”?
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Freight rates and the mooted “return to normal”

First off, commenting on the hypothesis that things will “return to normal” next year, Marc rejected the notion in stark terms:

“There can be no “return to normal” for our supply chains when the macroeconomic environment is so abnormal, with inflation, rising rates, geopolitical instability and the threat of recession across multiple countries. This will present challenges to everyone in the supply chain. Meanwhile, shippers and retailers will benefit from lower freight rates, something many are calling the “freight recession”,” says FourKites’ Senior Vice President of Sales, Network & Operations for EMEA.

Implementation of technology across the supply chain

The acceleration of digitalisation in the world of logistics and supply chain, turbocharged by the pandemic, has continued its momentum into 2021 and 2022. It perhaps comes as no surprise then, that Marc believes technology will be utilised even more in 2023 to yield further efficiency improvements:

“Smart transportation companies will stand out by driving continuous improvement initiatives, leveraging technology to optimise performance, offering enhanced customer service, or developing solutions to enhance sustainability initiatives,” says Marc.

Thanks to this, Marc predicts that product shortages will no longer be a focal point for food and beverage companies. They will focus on service and customer loyalty to grow their business in 2023.

For retailers, the FourKites representative forecasts that labour will continue to be an issue going into Q1.

“It will be critical to ensure staffing is consistent, well trained and equipped with the best insights possible. Whether that’s when the next shipment of a product may arrive or where a customer order may be – reliable data in a digital format will be key to success next year,” he says.

Lorry driver recruitment amid the continuing driver shortage

Finally, one theme that seemingly won’t go away next year is that of the driver shortage.

“The main challenge facing European carriers in 2023 will continue to be driver shortages. The lack of capacity comes from the pandemic and many drivers being called back to countries involved in the Russia/Ukraine war,” Marc adds.

Commenting on Trans.INFO reports regarding the driver shortage and the recruitment of drivers from 3rd countries, Marc believes even more carriers will recruit drivers from Asia, India and the Philippines to drive in Europe.

In his opinion, there is already a high talent pool of skilled drivers in those countries who can add value to carriers looking to transport goods across Europe.

“Carriers will work with recruitment agencies to bring drivers to Europe. Carriers will need to invest time and money training Asian drivers, but the ROI will be worth it for many carriers. Another solution carriers can look to is investing in training for young and inexperienced drivers. The sooner they get a driver’s license the faster they can join the pool of drivers. Many companies are looking for carriers with several years of experience – to eliminate this step,” concludes Marc.

Photo from PxHere

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