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The Global Logistics Landscape: Current Challenges and Future Outlook



Mark Glionna

Vice President - Client Relations & Business Development

In the fast-evolving world of global logistics, the industry is facing various challenges that are reshaping the way goods are transported across continents. These challenges range from geopolitical tensions to environmental concerns, creating a new landscape for logistics professionals.

Geopolitical Tensions and Climate Change

The recent crisis in the Red Sea region, caused mainly by geopolitical factors, has resulted in carriers avoiding traditional shipping routes like the Suez Canal. This shift has been further exacerbated by the effects of climate change, such as the Panama Canal reducing its capacity to preserve water levels. As a result, carriers are left with the decision of either waiting in a long queue or rerouting their ships. These decisions have a ripple effect, leading to longer lead times and potential congestion at ports.

The Balancing Act for Carriers

Carriers are facing a difficult situation where they have to maintain their schedules while also increasing their speed or adding more vessels. To do this, some carriers are cutting smaller ports from their routes and changing the rotation of their service loops to bring larger ports closer together. However, the more disruption caused by the diversion of vessels, the higher the freight rates will climb.

Oil Prices and Labor Disputes

The recent increase in oil prices, caused by the Red Sea crisis, has resulted in a rise in bunker fuel costs. This has further complicated the financial situation for carriers. Additionally, labour disputes in important ports, such as the potential strike at the Port of Montreal, and tensions with dockworker unions on the US East Coast and Gulf Coast, have added another layer of complexity to the situation.

Rates and Capacity Concerns

The industry is experiencing similar patterns on transatlantic routes, with significant General Rate Increases expected. This, along with the anticipation of capacity shortages and congestion, indicates a difficult time ahead. Despite these challenges, air cargo has shown remarkable resilience, with no significant impact resulting from ocean freight delays so far.

Looking Ahead

Despite the numerous challenges, the logistics industry is adapting and finding new ways to navigate this complex landscape. The surplus of container ships, which is greater today than during the pandemic, provides some resilience against these disruptive events. As the industry recalibrates to account for these changes, it will be crucial for businesses to stay agile and responsive.

Inviting Insights

As we keep a close eye on the constantly evolving challenges, we would like to hear from you about your experiences and strategies. How is your business responding to the changes in the logistics landscape? Let’s have a conversation and together explore the future outlook of global logistics.


June 2024

June 5, 2024
, President Biden directed his Trade Representative to increase tariffs under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 on $18 billion worth of imports…

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