1H 2021 Distribution & Logistics M&A Report

Like every industry, Distribution & Logistics encountered plenty of surprises from COVID-19. But one segment may emerge as a winner: rail. With a one-two punch of truckers concerned about the pandemic and leaving the field, along with supply chain disruptions for parts and trucks, the long-haul trucking industry was left scrambling for both trucks and drivers. Meanwhile, consumers stuck at home went on an online shopping spree, ordering stuff shipped to their homes when they couldn’t get to the big box stores. Online orders were up 32% in 2020 – by one estimate reaching $791 billion – accelerating in 1Q21 up 39% over the same period in 2020. As some truck drivers balked at COVID safety protocols and older truckers took the cue to retire, trucking companies began offering bonuses in a scramble to hire or retain drivers. Walmart has offered an $8,000 bonus. Other companies have offered more. The American Trucking Associations during the pandemic estimates a nationwide 50,000 driver shortage. With a trucking industry battered by driver shortages, booming demand, and supply chain issues, consumers complained of late deliveries, gas pumps went dry, farmers railed against high shipping costs, and retailers bemoaned inventory delays. And with about half of all air cargo traditionally carried in the belly of commercial flights – which were cut dramatically in 2020 – air cargo volume dove as much as 28%…

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