The Logistics market is growing, between investments in Logistics 4.0 and Contract methods

Logistics 4.0 and Contract mode

The third party logistics market grows by +2.8% compared to 2021, making it worth well 92 billion euros, with companies investing more and more in solutions for Logistics 4.0.

This is the data that emerged from the research of the "Gino Marchet" Contract Logistics Observatory, of the Polytechnic of Milan, presented at the conference "Investments and collaboration: Logistics leads the challenge of capacity", which was held on 16 November at MiCo - Milan Congresses.

A result that follows the already excellent increase of the previous year, when the logistics market increased by +4.7%, and which responds positively to the blows of the current economic context.

Logistics and the response to inflation.

Logistics is one of the sectors that was least affected by the repercussions of the first Covid waves in 2020, even recording a strong recovery in volumes during 2021.

However, the current socio-economic context has forced the sector to face various critical issues:

  • increases in operating costs;
  • lack of operational capacity in transport and warehouses;
  • slowdowns in international supply chains;
  • criticality in obtaining energy and fuels, with a consequent sharp increase in the operating costs of the supply chains.

Inflation, according to the data presented during the “Gino Marchet” Contract Logistics Observatory Conference, it would therefore have brought a negative change in turnover of -5.2%.

The solution to jump out of the difficult context is offered by Marco Melacini, Scientific Manager of the Contract Logistics Observatory, who in his speech at the Conference stated that:
«To get out of this situation, the skills, in this case intangible, of managers are needed, called to find new balances, in evaluation of the investments necessary to introduce Logistics 4.0 solutions or energy efficiency, in the transformation of logistics processes and networks, in the strengthening of collaboration between the players in the supply chain».

Logistics 4.0: Three pillars.

Digitalization, Automation, Analytics.

These are the three pillar projects of Logistics 4.0, identified by the research of the “Gino Marchet” Contract Logistics Observatory.

According to the research, the main interest for Italian companies is going towards solutions Digitization, i.e. technologies for the collection and management of digital information.

In fact, the 72% of the companies has already completed at least one project in this area.

A good diffusion of the data then emerges Automation projects, started by the 32% of Italian companies. These allow you to automate logistics activities, such as automated warehouses equipped with advanced sensors or fleet-based solutions mobile robot for material handling.

Finally, we highlight the emergence of interest in projects, especially pilot ones, in the field of Analytics.

It is the 14% of Italian companies that has already moved in this direction.

In this case, we are talking about data analysis, through big data software, which also allows us to produce forecasts with artificial intelligence or simulations based on real-time data. 

The third party logistics market.

Finally, among the most relevant data that emerged during the Conference, the continuous growth of outsourcing stands out.

In the last year with final data available, 2020, the value of the third party logistics market was 50.7 billion euros, equal to 43.6% of the total value of logistics in Italy.

However, the forecasts of the “Gino Marchet” Contract Logistics Observatory speak of a further increase by the end of 2022, despite the sharp increase in production factor costs in 2021, which has worsened during this year.

To give the margins we rely on the new Transport Index, which is the index developed by the Observatory to monitor the monthly market trend, differentiating by purchase method (Contract or Spot).

Three the cost surges detected in 2022 for Contract Logistics:

  • in March (+5.1% compared to January); 
  • in June (+8.7%), 
  • in July (+9.2%).

Increases due above all to fuels, but also to market conditions and the lack of balance between supply and demand.

However, according to the Observatory, the trend of the Spot purchasing curve would have even higher values.

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