1. More freight will move by rail
Long-haul rail rates for freight (less than and full truckload) offer cost savings of up to 60%, and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 66%. Look for more companies to offer seamless door to door bi-modal truck/rail service in 2016, with increased profitability for trucking companies and big savings for freight shippers.
2. Demand will increase for low emission freight transportation
With big progress planned for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from most industries in the Paris COP21 conference in December 2015, 2016 will bring increased worldwide attention to emissions reductions from freight and airlines, two sectors notably absent from the COP21 agreement. Governments will make hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies and low interest loans available to freight carriers that are most nimble and reduce fleet emissions the most rapidly. Consumers will increasingly be interested in the lowest emissions options when shipping freight.
3. Online freight marketplaces will reward the most efficient carriers
The rapidly growing use of online freight marketplaces, like Freightera.com in North America, will give carriers that offer the best combination of rates, service, delivery times and damage-free shipping the edge over other companies. Look for shippers to increasingly abandon fixed contracts directly with carriers in exchange for checking rates for each shipment and using different carriers for each lane based on which company offers the best combination of price and service.
4. Small, well run carriers will dominate regional markets
As freight shippers gain the ability to instantly check rates across hundreds to thousands of carriers in North America, well run regional carriers with the best rates and service will grow quickly to dominate specific regional markets.
5. Freight shipping costs for smaller manufacturers will fall
Access to online freight marketplaces will reduce freight shipping costs and increase profitability for small to mid-sized manufacturing firms. Protective measures and contract terms with carriers provided by marketplaces such as Freightera will prevent surprise shipping charges that erode or eliminate profitability. Manufactures will use these marketplaces to get rates that were previously unavailable to smaller firms.
6. The future of transportation is renewable electric
2016 will mark the turning point, where more and more manufacturers recognize the profits to be made, and the benefits of, being part of the winning trend of the future. Look to major advances in battery technology, roll-out of new zero emission short haul trucks for last mile delivery (especially in urban areas), and renewed pressure to electrify rail worldwide.
7. Smart money will leave LNG/CNG and fracking
Just like smart money has fled coal and oil in 2015, investors in 2016 will wake up to the reality of high full life cycle cost of LNG/CNG and fracking, and the need to leave most remaining petrochemical carbon in the ground. Fracking companies will continue to go bankrupt in record numbers as investors reallocate capital en masse to burgeoning renewable projects based primarily on wind, solar and geothermal.
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