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Transportation, Supply Chain & Logistics Industry Market Research

Transportation Industry:

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Introduction to the Transportation, Supply Chain & Logistics Industry

¹ Video Tip
For our brief video introduction to the transportation, supply chain and logistics industry, see
Transportation is one of the world’s largest industries. Its sectors range from taxis to trucks, airplanes, trains, courier services, ships, barges, warehouses and logistics services.
In total, during 2013, core transportation revenues in the U.S. were $950.6 billion according to Plunkett Research estimates. Worldwide, these revenues were approximately $4.5 trillion. This includes air, rail, water, pipeline, courier and warehousing segments. (If you look at transportation in the broadest possible terms, the U.S. transportation industry, in both for-hire and not-for-hire sectors, including support and repair, generated revenues of about $2 trillion for 2013, according to Plunkett Research estimates.)
At about 6% of economic activity, transportation’s core activities add up to a remarkably efficient industry, considering the fact that it is a vital service to every other sector of the economy. In fact, thanks to increasing use of advanced information systems and such strategies as intermodal containers (sending freight via containers that are easily transferred from ship to rail car to truck as needed, without repacking), the transportation industry’s productivity is excellent.
Financial results at global shipping giants FedEx and United Parcel Service (UPS) are good indicators of the health of transportation revenues in general. FedEx, which provides a wide variety of freight and package delivery services in 220 nations worldwide, delivers some 9 million packages daily. FedEx revenues grew a mere 3.7% in 2013 to $44.2 billion, after an 8.6% rise the previous year. In early 2013, it warned of slowing growth in China and softening demand for air freight from China to North America.
Over recent years, globalization placed intense new demands on the transportation and supply chain sector. For example, UPS offers delivery worldwide, and international revenues have been key to its growth. UPS saw revenue growth of only 2.4% in 2013 to $55.4 billion. However, it enjoyed stellar profits of $4.3 billion.
Transportation continues to evolve, no matter whether the type of transport involved is on the road, on the sea or in the air. For example, China had only about 200 kilometers of expressways in 1989. Today, it has a massive system of state-of-the-art highways surrounding the nation’s largest cities. India, the world’s second most populous nation, is woefully behind in transportation infrastructure, especially highways, but has hopes to dramatically boost construction in this regard with some funding to come from public-private partnerships. Other emerging nations, including Brazil, must focus on infrastructure development as well, including ports and airports, or risk seeing their economic growth derailed. Brazil took steps in 2012 to improve its aging major airports by selling a majority stake in three of them (in Sao Paulo, Campinas and Brasilia) to private operators who will make massive investments to modernize them in time for Brazil’s 2016 Summer Olympic Games. The growth in Brazil’s transportation needs has been typical of that in other rapidly emerging nations. Brazil’s air traffic rose by 118% from between 2003 and 2010, nearly three times the global average.
The information age, with its introduction of sophisticated databases that can track inventory levels and shipments on a global basis via the Internet, has created vast transport and logistics efficiencies. As a result, supply chain technology has been one of the fastest-growing segments in the information field.
Next, the rapid adoption of outsourcing has led many companies, when shipping is vital to their businesses, to turn to logistics services providers for all manner of shipping support, including warehousing, scheduling and distribution services. The sectors of transport, supply chain management and logistics services are permanently intertwined, creating efficiencies once undreamed of in the transportation arena.
All nations worldwide face a daunting task in maintaining airports, seaports, highways and railroads that can handle commerce and passenger traffic efficiently. The amount of government funds available for roadway development is never enough to keep up with long-term needs. For example, researchers at Texas A&M University’s Texas Transportation Institute estimate that traffic delays cost the U.S. economy $121 billion in 2011 alone, thanks to billions of man-hours lost to frustrating traffic slowdowns, as well as 2.9 billion gallons of gasoline wasted.
One of the biggest challenges facing the global transportation sector over the mid- to long-term is a focus on lowering carbon emissions and enhancing energy efficiency. (In the U.S., the transportation sector, as of 2011, was estimated to create 28% of all carbon dioxide emissions.) Airlines have placed large orders for fuel-efficient jets like Boeing’s new 787, promising efficiency gains of 15% to 20% per passenger mile. Container ship operators are under intense pressure to reduce contamination and emissions while in port and at sea, and the latest designs, such as Maersk’s massive new Triple-E class of ships, are making huge strides in this regard. Automobile and truck manufacturers are struggling to respond to demand for fuel-efficient vehicles.
Tremendous strides in green technology are also being made throughout the transportation services and transport equipment sectors. Lee Schipper, a Senior Engineer at the Precourt Energy Efficiency Center at Stanford University, points out that air transportation in developed countries today uses 50% to 60% less energy per passenger-kilometer travelled than it did in the early 1970s, and trucking uses 10% to 25% less fuel per ton-kilometer. Additional developments in transportation include the use of natural gas and electricity to fuel public transportation and the development of energy-efficient light rail.
Meanwhile, consumers and government transportation agencies worldwide have a renewed interest in high-speed trains and other forms of rapid transit. Trains in many parts of the world are enjoying booming times. Also, rising fuel costs compel high numbers of consumers to turn to buses and other forms of mass transit for their commutes, leaving their gas-guzzling cars at home.  Ridership of public transit is soaring in many cities, due to several factors, including traffic congestion and costs of private car ownership, and new light rail (such as the system in Denver, Colorado) and subway systems (such as new projects in New Delhi and Mumbai, India.) The American Public Transportation Association estimates that transit ridership grew by 37% from 1995 to 2013, compared to only 23% in vehicle miles traveled.
Another massive change is the growing interest of governments in outsourcing their transportation infrastructure to private operators and private ownership, often in public-private partnerships. Governments are short of cash. In some cases, they are selling or leasing toll bridges and highways to private operators, reaping cash windfalls in the process. (Chicago, Illinois, infamously sold a long-term lease on rights to collect funds from its parking meters, reaping $1.16 billion in cash up front, much to the chagrin of the city’s residents.) Elsewhere, governments are outsourcing their long-term highway development needs to private operators who will build new toll roads, relieving government of the investment burden while potentially creating large profits for the private operators.

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Video Introduction to Transportation, Supply Chain & Logistics Industry
Complete list of market research data provided by Plunkett Research, Ltd. for the Transportation, Supply Chain & Logistics Industry
  • 3PL Supply Chain Management Evolves to Serve the Global Market
  • FedEx, UPS & DHL Compete for Global Market Share
  • Trucking Companies and LTL Freight Rebound/Intermodal Shipments Rise
  • Freight Railway Revenues and Investment in Infrastructure Soar
  • China Makes Huge Rail, Road & Airport Upgrades
  • High-Speed Passenger Trains, Including Maglev, Advance in China and Europe
  • U.S. Passenger Train Projects Receive Funding, including Amtrak and Light Rail
  • Ships Get Bigger and Global Ports Expand
  • Panama Canal Expansion Boosts Capacity by 2015
  • Discount Airlines Compete with Legacy Airlines, but the Differences Are Beginning to Blur
  • Major Airlines Change Strategy, Charge Fees and Boost Profits
  • Boeing and Airbus Enjoy Boom in Orders/Major Aircraft Market in China
  • New Aircraft Designs Offer Greater Passenger Comfort/More Efficient Engines
  • Air Traffic Grows/Airports in Middle East and Asia Have Strong Traffic
  • ADS-B Improves Air Traffic Control
  • New Technologies Show Promise for Port and Airport Security
  • RFID Drives Inventory Management Evolution
  • Supply Chain Management (SCM) Software Combines with Wireless
  • Wireless Information Systems Surge Ahead in Vehicles: Telematics, ITS and Real Time Traffic Information
  • GPS and Location Based Services (LBS) Enhance Cellphone Subscriptions
  • India’s Transportation Infrastructure Needs Billions of Dollars in Construction
  • Toll Roads Solve Highway Needs in the U.S., Australia, the UK and Elsewhere
  • Car Sharing Programs and Mobility Services Proliferate
  • Bicycle Sharing Grows in Major Cities, But Financial Outlook Is Poor
  • Global Infrastructure Investment Needs Top $50 Trillion through 2030, Offering Vast Opportunity to Engineers and Developers
  • Fewer Miles Driven in the U.S. as Young People Use Bikes, Light Rail or Car Share
  • Complete list of statistics data provided by Plunkett Research, Ltd. for the Transportation, Supply Chain & Logistics Industry
  • Transportation Industry Overview

  • U.S. Transportation & Warehousing Industry Revenues: 2009-2012
  • U.S. Transportation & Warehousing Industry Expenses: 2009-2012
  • Top 50 Countries Providing U.S. Imports: 2006-2013
  • Top 50 Countries Receiving U.S. Exports: 2006-2013
  • Top 30 U.S. Customs Districts by Waterborne Foreign Trade: 2010-2012
  • Top 30 U.S. Customs Districts by Waterborne Foreign Import: 2010-2012
  • Top 30 U.S. Customs Districts by Waterborne Foreign Export: 2010-2012
  • Top 30 U.S. Maritime Container Customs Ports: 2010-2012
  • U.S. Surface Trade with Canada: 1993-2013
  • U.S. Surface Trade with Mexico: 1993-2013
  • Truck Transportation Industry, U.S.: Breakdown of Revenue: 2008-2012
  • Truck Transportation Industry, U.S.: Estimated Truck Inventories: 2010-2012
  • Highway Vehicle Miles Traveled, U.S., Monthly: January 1990-May 2014
  • Retail On-Highway Diesel vs. Regular Gasoline Prices, U.S.: January 1995-August 2014
  • Top 10 U.S. Airlines & Airports Ranked by 2013 System Scheduled Enplanements
  • Quarterly System Operating Profit & Loss Margin for U.S. Airlines: 1st Quarter 2013-1st Quarter 2014
  • Annual U.S. Domestic Average Itinerary Air Fare: 1995-2014
  • Air Cargo Revenue Ton Miles, U.S. Commercial Air Carriers: 2000-2034
  • U.S. Aviation Industry Average Annual Percentage Growth Forecasts by World Region: 2013-2034
  • Total Scheduled U.S. International Passenger Traffic, U.S. Commercial Air Carriers: 2000-2034
  • Air Carrier Traffic Statistics, U.S.: 12 Months Ended April 2014 and April 2013
  • Air Carrier Traffic Statistics, U.S.: 1981-2013
  • U.S. Airline Revenue Passenger Enplanements: January 1996-April 2014
  • U.S. Airline Passenger Activity: 2000-2034
  • Domestic Airline Jet Fuel Prices, U.S.: January 1986-May 2014
  • Rail Freight Revenue Ton Miles, U.S.: 1990-2013
  • Amtrak Ridership: January 1991-June 2014
  • Rail Passenger Capacity Utilization, U.S.: January 2003-June 2014
  • Transportation Services Index, U.S.: January 2000-May 2014
  • Percent Change in the U.S. Transportation Services Index (TSI) from Year-to-Year: 2005-2014
  • Personal Transportation Expenditures, U.S.: 2006-2013
  • Federal R&D & R&D Plant Funding for Transportation, U.S.: Fiscal Years 2012-2014
  • Transportation Industry Employment by Business Type, U.S.: 2008-2013
  • Table of Contents for Plunkett's Transportation, Supply Chain & Logistics Industry Almanac  
    See Full Table of Contents

    introduction 1
    how to use this book 3
    chapter 1: major trends affecting the transportation, supply chain & logistics industry 7
    1) introduction to the transportation, supply chain & logistics industry 7
    Profiles of Leading Transportation, Supply Chain & Logistics Companies are provided, including Public, Private, U.S., and non-U.S. Firms.  
    See Full List of Companies

    • A/S Dampskibsselskabet Torm (Torm)
    • AB Volvo
    • Abertis Infraestructuras SA
    • ABF Freight System Inc
    • ABX Air Inc
    • Accel S.A.B. de C.V.
    • Acciona SA
    • ACS Actividades de Construccion y Servicios SA
    • Aecon Group Inc
    • Aer Lingus Group plc
  • Aer Lingus Group plc
  • AerCap Holdings NV
  • Aeroflot Russian Airlines JSC
  • Air Berlin plc & Co Luftverkehrs KG
  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • Air France-KLM SA
  • Air India Limited
  • Air Lease Corp
  • Air New Zealand Ltd
  • Key Transportation, Supply Chain & Logistics Industry Topics
  • The Business of RFID
  • Shipping
  • Warehousing
  • Purchasing
  • Procurement
  • Information Technologies
  • Air
  • Rail
  • Ocean Trucking
  • Containers
  • Intermodal
  • Globalization
  • Consolidation
  • Profiles of Leading Companies
  • Executive Mailing Lists