The Great Shift - How the Transport and Logistics Industry is Changing

03 March 2021

The Great Shift

​You’ll be hard pressed to find an industry that isn’t evolving, and transport and logistics is no exception. Businesses were already scrambling to adapt to a changing industry environment leading up to 2020, and the spread of COVID-19 only accentuated the turbulence with shrinking economies, closed borders and higher demand for delivery.

However, as Australia appears to emerge from the pandemic and restrictions remain eased, local companies are being presented with an opportunity to evolve as they look toward the future. PwC’s Shifting Patterns report highlights how four key areas of disruption are transforming transport and logistics as we know it, and how businesses can change to remain competitive.

New customer expectations

As services improve, so are the expectations of those who use them. Individuals and businesses are becoming accustomed to receiving the goods they need faster and more cost effectively, which means rapid, more flexible delivery options at low or no cost to the end user. Demand for custom manufacturing is also on the rise, providing more options to customers but making life harder at a logistics level.

New technology

The use of new technology is one of the most readily apparent ways in which the industry is evolving, with companies utilising everything from automation to data analytics to offer better services with lower overheads. Applying new technology in this sector comes with two key challenges: developing a coherent strategy and finding effective transport and logistics recruitment solutions. Those who fail to clear these hurdles are quickly falling short of customer expectations or seeing costs reach unsustainable levels.

Market entrants with new business models

Competition is healthy for an industry as a whole, but the emergence of new players can pose a serious threat to established companies. The past decade has seen start-ups like Uber cause major disruption with modern business models that take advantage of technology and dynamic supply chain strategies. These agile brands are already gaining an edge over the rest of the field, particularly those committed to traditional, asset-heavy strategies.

Redefining collaboration

Collaboration has long been necessary for transport and logistics companies – particularly for last-mile delivery – but the industry is far from reaching maximum efficiency in this area. Shared fleets, increased cooperation, greater standardisation and joint ventures are all being explored in order to circumvent these inefficiencies, and the companies able to capitalise on this innovation are already clear frontrunners to dominate the next decade.