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NAIOP Chicago Webinar Global Supply Chains in the Post Pandemic World | Summary


On Thursday, May 21, 2020, NAIOP Chicago hosted it’s second Webinar, “Global Supply Chains in the Post Pandemic World”. Moderated by John Morris, Executive Managing Director, Americas Industrial & Logistics Leader, CBRE, three logistics experts shared an overview of the current environment, and where the future could lie for global supply chains.

Curtis Spencer, President, IMS Worldwide, kicked off the presentation discussing the state of the economy and explaining the growth of e-commerce. Curtis cited improvements for businesses like Amazon, which continue to dominate the US e-commerce market. He then posited how this growth will affect industrial real estate. Curtis said, “Demand could be particularly strong for temperature-controlled warehouse space to store food if consumers keep ordering groceries online, a market that has been booming as more people stay at home under social-distancing guidelines and have food delivered.” Curtis concluded with points of opportunity: air cargo and manufacturing.

James Ford, CEO, TRES, LLC, discussed the current outlook for trucking companies. While trucking companies have lost more than 88,000 jobs in the last month, Jim said, “When the economy ultimately rebounds, accessible capacity is likely to be short, leading to strong rebounds in freight rates, carrier profitability and ultimately unsated vehicle replacement demand.” He proceeded to explain there will be a shift in US trucking business to being more short-haul oriented. Jim presented statistics showing a significant increase in local trucking trips with a drop in long-haul trips of more than 1,000 miles.

Brett Mears, President, Palmer Logistics, a Texas-based 3PL company, however, had positive things to report. Brett stated that warehouses are generally seen as essential, though having good plans in place to keep things moving amid COVID-19 is imperative. That isn’t to say the warehouse sector is completely out of the woods. “During a recession, the warehouse industry usually lags the economy. Slower to feel the impact as inventories usually grow (more space related revenue) as demand drops and manufacturing is slow to respond. Then usually slower to recover as demand increases but inventory is low (hard to cover fixed space cost)”, he explained His conclusion was that an economic recession may present an opportunity and encouraged creative thinking.

The conversation concluded with a brief question and answer session with attendees.

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