© Skypixel

Major adjustments in the complexion of global trade have led to sudden spikes in the demand for supply chain managers, with shippers turning to forwarders to help navigate the changes.

Data from LinkedIn and recruitment portals show major increases in vacancies for supply chain manager roles in both the US and the UK, with the former having seen demand double since the onset of the pandemic while the UK’s needs were 36% higher in 2022 than 2019.

Cited in the Financial Times, the data shows growth in the availability of these roles outpacing a UK average 8% increase in other new jobs advertised, suggesting deep-rooted neglect of logistics.

This would correlate with discussions The Loadstar has had with supply chain professionals over the course of 2023, with Dallas Fort Worth’s vice president of airline relations Milton de la Paz stating airlines and airports have become far more receptive to the value of logistics.

While Covid has been an obvious catalyst for the spiking demand, global trade’s emergence from the pandemic and geopolitical issues have generated new shocks, forcing a rethink.

Not least has been Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which brought a new layer of complexity to sourcing and movement of goods, as did China’s zero-Covid policy and a western withdrawal from the Asian powerhouse amid ongoing cooling of China-US relations.

But even if demand is high for supply chain professionals, availability is something of a different matter and this has, in turn, presented opportunities for forwarders.

Chief executive of Dachser, Burkhard Eling, told The Loadstar that the company’s customers were facing complications beyond their skill-set, and have shown increasing concern for their global logistics flows, leading Dachser to take on a consultancy role.

“Supply chain analytics will help you set up a resilient supply chain, and we have a good name for high-quality product,” said Mr Eling

“We have the ability to focus on key accounts and we are able to adapt to help set up the most resilient supply chains. We can show where to put up warehouses and so on, we have a lot of analytics.”

According to the report in the FT, prior to the pandemic, businesses had sought to find cuts in the supply chains as a means to save money.

Emeritus professor of supply chain strategy at Cranfield University, Richard Wilding, said this had resulted in some blue-chip companies being “caught with their pants down” as shortages emerged.

But even businesses closer to the logistics coalface have shown remarkable disinterest in it: Dallas airport’s Mr de la Paz noted that freight remained something of a forgotten addition to airport revenues.

He said there was a disconnect between the cargo terminal and the airport’s wider leadership, even though the cargo terminal generates more than half of the airport’s regional economic impact.

“It took us to tell the board that cargo was responsible for a $20.3bn annual regional economic impact before they paid us any attention,” he continued.

Comment on this article

You must be logged in to post a comment.