For companies that offer courier work services, the period 2008-2015 has been far from easy. The current economic forecast for 2016 and 2017 suggests that those pressures are likely to continue or possibly increase. |
The Economic Backdrop
Historians specializing in economic analyses now broadly agree that what some are calling the “Great Economic Depression” started at the end of 2007.
Many consumers were unaware of the problem until 2008 and onwards, but whenever the start point might have been, those enterprises engaged in courier work and supply chain logistics have found the years since to have been extremely difficult.
Since 2008, each January has brought fairly gloomy forecasts about the probable economic performance for the year ahead. That appears again to be the case for 2016 and perhaps 2017.
Economic growth in the Eurozone remains anaemic. Growth within the UK is healthier but economists warn that it is also extremely fragile and that it may be adversely affected by recent stagnation within the Eurozone.
China’s economic growth figures are still the envy of most nations, yet by its own historical standards, things are slowing down. Japan has had almost no economic growth for well over a decade, and those economies heavily dependent upon hydrocarbon income revenues are now suffering hugely from depressed market prices.
The U.S. economy, like the UK, has seen moderately healthy economic growth recently, but it too is also considered by many specialists to be highly vulnerable.
The overall negative effect of political uncertainty in North Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, with the potential for increasingly wide-scale armed conflict, is also likely to have a depressing influence on the prospects for global economic investment and its associated benefits. Many potential capital investors may be reluctant to take their money out of safe havens and invest it in economic development while such circumstances continue to be unresolved.
Very few economists are predicting anything positive overall for the global economy in 2016 and into 2017. Although things might not be as bad as they were between 2008 and 2012, a return to healthy global growth continues to be a near-invisible ‘over the horizon’ prospect.
What Does This Mean For Couriers and the Supply Chain? It seems safe to predict that there will continue to be major cost-reduction or cost-containment pressures on the providers of courier work services.
As limited economic growth is likely in the home markets, some companies involved in supply chain logistics may well look to the developing world for new economic opportunities but that is a high-risk strategy with uncertain prospects for success.
In order to drive cost-reduction and greater efficiencies in home markets, there will be an ongoing trend towards scaling down operations and trying to do ‘more with less’.
As a result, the logistical supply chain and courier work industries will inevitably find that market circumstances continue to be extremely difficult. Those that are able to maximize the utilisation of their transport infrastructure and keep their costs down will probably be well-positioned to exploit a full economic recovery when it comes. Those that cannot may find it difficult to survive.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier work in the express freight exchange industry. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
Related Articles -