While delivering packages and small pieces of freight to non-commercial and even residential locations is not a new phenomenon; the sheer rate at which business to consumer shipping volume is growing at is what makes this a pivotal point in the industry.
All active players are experimenting and learning quickly which of these are the best fit for their current capacity and business model. Some are partnering with entities that are already largely involved with final mile delivery. Others are acquiring and utilizing the equipment needed to accomplish this work at the lowest possible cost. Then you have those companies (XPO) and the like who just go out and buy other companies who are already executing on a part of the market that they want to be involved in.
As is the case in any industry when the ecosystem changes this rapidly — there will be ventures that win and some that lose. This will take some time to sort out in the wash.
The transportation sector that is poised to rapidly acclimate to this B2C shift could quite possibly be LTL carriers. Especially those that have been building their infrastructure and investing in technology over the past five or six years. Among others, Southeastern Freight Line is ramping up the hiring of small straight truck drivers to cover this need for their customer base. XPO has a final mile division that works hand in hand with their freight arm. Rumor even has it that Amazon is shopping around and quietly looking to scoop up a national LTL carrier. We’ll see how that turns out. If it happens — watch out everybody even more than you are now, because Amazon will become a cross between XPO Logistics and Walmart. Scary dangerous.
Another angle could be to capitalize on all the vacant real estate available pretty much everywhere as shopping malls and big box retailers downsize and close their doors on brick and mortar. What if final mile hubs were to be implemented — giving consumers options for pickup themselves, as well as various carriers dropping residential deliveries off at a nice commercial dock door for small local hot shot carriers or couriers to zip in and out, completing the final mile in a leaner fashion.
Let’s take it one step further shall we?
No…that’s a joke.
But seriously. If Walmart is daring enough to experiment with employees making deliveries on their way home from work — why wouldn’t the rest of us consider making use of all the available non-traditional capacity that’s out there in every city on an average day? Think about building supply stores that have delivery trucks only being used half the day. Moving companies. Uniform vendors. Those guys that buy straight trucks just to put massive ads on the side. There is space in trucks for everyone! We just need to make it more accessible to those who need to move a piece of freight from point A to point B.
There’s a well-known quote that says “the future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed.” Oddly enough we believe that future can be swapped out for trucking capacity. Which will be the future.