Jeff Hurley, COO of TNT Logistics, is looking at 2005 from two sides. Jacksonville, FL-based TNT Logistics supplies dedicated capacity directly to customers and, as a third-party logistics provider (3PL), locates and manages capacity for others.
From a dedicated carrier perspective, Hurley's take on 2005 is pretty rosy. He says freight demand should stay high, compelling many shippers to try and find ways to lock in available capacity so they're not caught short.
But for a third-party logistics provider, Hurley says the outlook is far more complex — forcing TNT to find ways of making itself more attractive to carriers.
“Our challenge in ‘05 as a 3PL is to create more efficiencies for carriers so they'll find the freight we're offering more attractive,” he says. “We've going to have to leverage our freight volume and activity so that it matches up better with a carrier's network…it [has to be] more evenly and consistently spread through their system.”
Hurley notes that costing and pricing on the 3PL side is going to become more important, pointing out that TNT Logistics expects to stay in “growth mode” and will offer a wider array of services.
On the dedicated side of the business, the emphasis is going to be on more efficient use of the current asset base, since the driver shortage will make it difficult to expand the fleet.
“We fully expect to add equipment to our dedicated fleet,” Hurley says. “Since we use a mix of short- and long-term leases for the tractor portion of the fleet, we have more flexibility to respond to market demand shifts. We own our trailers, though, and we're going to be focused on ways to increase their use, managing them smarter to handle more business with our existing assets.”