Logistics companies weathering recession, survey finds

10/03/2012 01:11:00 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

Despite slow economic times, most North American logistics companies are achieving or exceeding revenue projections, according to a logistics company’s survey.

The 19th annual survey of third-party logistics providers showed 74% of the companies surveyed met 2011 revenue projections.

Operations that didn’t meet their financial projections almost doubled from 14% in 2010 to 26% in 2011, according to the study.

Presented during the Oct. 2 Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals’ annual global conference, the survey studied responses from 31 large North American, European and Asia-Pacific third-party logistics company chief executive officers.

Though some North American companies missed revenue projections, none of the companies were unprofitable and none of the CEOs surveyed said they believed the regional third-party logistics industry operated at a loss for the year, according to a news release.

Globally, 63% of companies met or exceeded their revenue projections and 71% of those companies saw moderate profitability during 2011, according to the release.

European-based companies, however, continue to struggle, with 25% of surveyed companies reporting unprofitability, according to the release.

“The difficulties facing the European market today mirror the economic instability North American logistics companies faced a few years ago,” Robert Lieb, study co-author and professor of supply chain management at Northeastern University, said in the release.

“Globally, industry growth and company profitability continue to increase, but at a much slower rate,” Lieb said. “As we move forward, CEOs are being cautious, forecasting lower revenue growth projections over the next three years.”

Among the trends and insights reported by the survey, all regions over the next year are forecasting lower revenue growth than the previous year and in North America, operators plan to see increasing flexibility as customers look for greater collaboration and integration of supply chain activities, according to the release.

Penske Logistics, a division of Penske Truck Leasing, sponsored the survey.

The companies surveyed generate approximately $45 billion in revenue in 2011, according to the release.



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