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Home » Shipping » Trucks, trains, or ships: Which will be the first to return to growth? – McKinsey Consulting

Trucks, trains, or ships: Which will be the first to return to growth? – McKinsey Consulting

PortandTerminal.com, June 14, 2020

The US freight carriers that will return quickest after the COVID-19 crisis will be the ones best placed to transport the fastest-recovering commodities.

NEW YORK – The recovery won’t happen at the same pace for all modes of cargo transport.

The US freight carriers that will return quickest after the COVID-19 crisis will be the ones best placed to transport the fastest-recovering commodities. 

McKinsey Consulting recently published a white paper on the impact COVID-19 has had on freight transport and how they expect to see recovery play out for trucking, shipping and rail.

Not all carriers have been affected equally by the pandemic McKinsey notes. Compared with last year, trucking volumes initially increased by about 30 percent in 2020 as a result of panic buying, then dropped markedly, and are now ticking back up again. Railroad volumes declined by 20 percent and have not recovered. Last-mile deliveries have surged more than ten times over, but ocean shipping is down by 25 percent.

Most of that pain should now be in the review mirror (we hope). What can we expect the recovery to look like for trucking, maritime shipping and rail?

Recovery

Each mode of transport will probably experience a different kind of recovery, based on the type of cargo it carries, or as McKinsey calls it, its “commodity exposure”. That’s good news if you are moving a lot of food and grocery cargo which is expected to bounce back quickly. That’s bad news if you’re shipping automobiles which McKinsey believes will take much longer to return to growth.

The consulting firm produced the following infographic which neatly summarizes which commodities they believe will see the quickest recovery post-COVID-19.

Next, they looked at each mode of transport, trucking, shipping and rail, to understand its commodity mix using the same color scheme as the image above. The more light blue in the mix, the faster the recovery. This shows for example that trucking can expect a quicker recovery than rail, based upon their analysis.

Click here to read the full paper.

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