Strategic growth throughout the shipping and logistics industry points towards increasingly sophisticated intermodal solutions to meet evolving e-commerce needs.

In today’s volatile marketplace, shipping and logistics professionals understand that adaptability is key — especially if they hope to scale in the e-commerce economy. With e-commerce sales projected to top $650 billion by the end of 2018, managers risk being logistically and technologically outpaced by competitors if they can’t navigate an interconnected fulfillment supply chain with many complex parts.

While last-mile fulfillment receives the lion’s share of attention — after all, the rise of e-commerce owes a lot to ease of use and convenient home delivery — it’s essential that companies understand how every segment of the supply chain contribute to customer satisfaction, even if consumers don’t see some of them in action.

Perhaps the most important of these segments is transportation. Every mode has a role to play in a modern supply chain, and each can be make-or-break in terms of maintaining a solid profit margin. Whether your supply chain relies primarily on ocean and air or rail and road, it’s time to invest in infrastructure that can help you scale your shipping operations in an increasingly e-commerce-driven marketplace.

Understanding E-Commerce Expansion

According to a report from CBRE, the rise of e-commerce has driven the construction of warehouses and distribution centers (DCs) across the country, many with areas greater than one million square feet. In fact, 117 facilities were built on this scale between 2010 and 2016, adding over 140 million square feet of fulfillment space to the domestic e-commerce industry.

Strategically located near metropolitan areas with easy access to ocean, air, rail, and road transportation, these warehouses and DCs are essential because they enable online marketplaces such as Amazon to quickly fulfill orders with the speed and quality that’s made e-commerce so popular. Accordingly, the addition of so much square footage in such a short amount of time reflects the increasing demand — and accompanying strains — that are part and parcel of the e-commerce revolution.

Optimizing Operational Capacity

As shipping and logistics operations work to accommodate rising e-commerce demand, forward-thinking industry professionals are investing in each mode of shipping.

When it comes to road and rail, for example, increasing e-commerce activity has led shipping and logistics companies to locate warehouses and DCs in high-density industrial areas. By doing so, supply chain managers can more easily coordinate the flow of goods across fulfillment regions.

Of course, investing in transportation capacity calls for a corresponding investment in technological infrastructure. Emerging capabilities such as Internet of Things (IoT) or artificial intelligence can help companies ensure that capital improvements in their operation are being leveraged for strategic growth. By prioritizing the real-time flow of information, supply chain managers will be able to more effectively manage moving assets across the board, whether that means reducing congestion in busy ports or rerouting drivers to avoid extensive delays.

Securing Support for Every Mode

Developing this technological capacity and investing in transportation assets, however, can be cost-intensive for small- and medium-sized businesses navigating a complex shipping market on their own. By working with a qualified integrated logistics partner, you can leverage sophisticated data systems to drive value for your company — and ensure that investments in transportation are well spent.

With over 20 years of experience, Primary Freight is uniquely positioned to help you make the most of every mode of transportation at your disposal. Our customer service team has the institutional knowledge and industry contacts to accommodate every logistical need — no matter the scale. If you’re looking for a partner that’s as interested in boosting your shipping ROI as you are, Primary Freight is here to help.

If you’d like to learn more about how Primary Freight’s warehousing and distribution solutions, contact us today at (800)-635-0013.