CLDA Magazine - Fall 2016 1 - Page 21

F E AT U R E 21 THE FUTURE OF T R A N S P O R TAT I O N I S LO O K I N G G O O D By Andrea Obston Director of Public Relations, CLDA How will the continued growth of e-commerce impact our industry? How will local providers cope with The Amazon Effect? How do provid- ers know when a new opportunity is right for them? These are the kinds of questions tackled by a panel of industry leaders at the CLDA Annual Meeting. They polished up their crystal balls for a sneak peek at our industry’s future and found good news. Led by moderator Chris MacKrell of Custom Courier Solutions, t he panel included: Jim Berluti, VP Sales, US , Dicom and Founder/CEO Eastern Connection; Steve Wilson, Ecommerce Analyst at Tompkins International and Brian Surber, Priority Dispatch, VP Operations. and other on-line retailers under- stand the compelling need for local inventory. They know they need to keep up with customer expectations (yes, they, too, are wrestling with The Amazon Effect). And they under- stand that they will need fulfillment centers near their customers to lower their delivery costs and make same- day feasible. They are already doing that. But here’s the opportunity for the rest of us right now: those fulfill- ment centers haven’t all been built so they can be located where they make the most sense: in and near local markets. Amazon has already begun that process in larger markets, but they won’t get to the smaller ones for a while. There’s a window MacKrell: No one can look into the future of this industry without talking about the impact of e-com- merce. Talk about that: Wilson: Nobody’s going to go back to the brick and mortar model of retail- ing and that’s good news for those of us in the transportation industry. The package delivery numbers gen- erated by e-commerce are incred- ible. The volume will force us to consider new financial models and to ultimately confront the need to build fulfillment centers to support e-commerce. We know Amazon of opportunity for local and regional delivery companies. Amazon is also selectively in-sourc- ing parts of their supply chain. They are shipping directly to some of your hubs. They are inducting into the postal system. They are doing deliveries of food through Amazon Fresh and offering one Customized Logistics and Delivery Association | Fall 2016