Wheels, Waves, and Wings

Years ago, there was a common bumper sticker reading “If you’ve got it, a truck brought it.” The US Department of Transportation confirms that this is still true, at least on average. Trucks moved about 12 billion tons of US goods in 2023 out of a total volume of almost 18 billion. This is two-thirds of all freight. Air and water transport pale in comparison in the US.

Look internationally, though, and you will see another picture:

It is estimated that an overwhelming majority of goods, around 80 percent, are transported by ships. The volume of seaborne trade has been showing a growing trend since 1990. Between 1990 and 2021, the volume of cargo transported by ships more than doubled, from four to nearly 11 billion tons. Hand in hand with the rise in seaborne trade goes the increasing capacity of the global merchant fleet. Between 2013 and 2021, the capacity of the worldwide merchant fleet grew by about 43 percent, reaching almost 2.1 million deadweight tons in 2021. [See source.]

Not to be outdone, the airline industry (IATA) offers this summary of air freight’s contribution to world commerce:

The global economy depends on the ability to deliver high-quality products at competitive prices to consumers worldwide. Air cargo transports over US $6 trillion worth of goods, accounting for approximately 35% of world trade by value. [See source.]

That is a lot of movement. And, so far, we have not even scratched the subject of passenger travel—reportedly a $900 billion business in the air alone. [See source.]

But our attention is, indeed, on people. The Barrett Group (TBG) focuses on the executive men and women who make this enormous mass of goods and people move safely and efficiently, as well as the trends surrounding this exceedingly dynamic industry.

Executives per Segment-CB 183

TBG has helped thousands of executives transform their careers. Ray Cleary, for example, landed a new role as General Manager of Fleet Operations for a large regional airline via TBG’s program. Here’s what he has to say about his TBG experience:

I was at a stage in my career that I wanted to move away from risk management and the transaction writing piece of the airline industry and move towards a commercial role, like fleet and relationship management.

I foresee growth on so many levels – and it’s all thanks to TBG for preparing me for it. As for my new role – it will truly transform my career. [Read more.]

Ray is not alone. In fact, in the US, Canada, UK, EU, and Middle East (TBG’s main regional focus), 354,000 executives from the Director level up to the C-Suite) are active in this transportation segment according to LinkedIn. While the total number of execs did not change much in the last year, almost 12,000 of them changed jobs. Often, they moved from one sector to another along the way. The population of the transportation segment is predominantly male (82%). It has a median tenure of four years and is reported by LinkedIn to experience a high hiring demand.

The Executives per Segment chart profiles the top industrial categories, their relative sizes, and their dynamics over the last year per LinkedIn.

While US companies dominate the Airlines and Aviation category (Delta, United Airlines, and American Airlines are the top employers of executives in this sector), European firms stand out in the larger Truck Transportation cohort (DB Schenker, Geodis, and Kuehne+Nagel constitute the top three in trucking). European firms also lead executive employment in the Maritime Transport segment, including A.P. Moller – Maersk, CMA CGM, and Clarksons.

Executive Specializations-CB 183

Interestingly, the skills across these apparently disparate sectors are surprisingly homogenous per the Executive Specializations chart. Bear in mind that most executives list more than one skill in their profiles. Clearly, there exists an opportunity to enter or exit this field via generic skills. Such skills include New Business Development, Sales Management, and Budgeting. Opportunities also exist to move laterally between segments through skills in Logistics Management, Supply Chain Management, etc. This transferability of skills helps to explain the high (3.4%) churn within this broad industry.

This is especially true if one has the support of an expert in career change like TBG. Our clients enjoy considerably more detailed research support as they move through their career change programs. And they enjoy an enormous advantage when it comes to negotiating the compensation package. Again, here’s what Ray Cleary had to say on this subject: “This is where TBG really earned its fee. Thanks to Isabelita, [his TBG consultant] I was able to understand quickly what should be in the package and, so, negotiate a better one…” [Read more.]

What are the prospects for growth in this transportation segment?

The Global Transportation Industry Market reached USD 7.31 trillion in 2022 and is expected to reach USD 11.1 trillion by 2030 growing with a CAGR of 5.4% during the forecast period 2023-2030. The global transportation industry is driven by various factors such as urbanization and population growth, rising demand for online shopping through e-commerce platforms and infrastructure development. [See source.]

Cutting through the data fog of information on this industry, Exploding Topics puts its finger on several really interesting developments by highlighting:

  • MaaS (mobility as a service) and the consumer need for seamless interconnection between modes of transport to achieve higher efficiency. “With MaaS becoming a more notable trend in transportation, MaaS revenues are projected to reach $1 trillion by 2030.”
  • “Last-Mile Delivery Efficiency” — think about drones and other flexible means of delivering physical goods); and
  • The electrification of delivery fleets as well as the ongoing consumer shift toward EVs. [Read more.]

So, when you contemplate moving between industries, stepping up your game professionally, or changing geography, perhaps you should consider this universal truth. You will most probably achieve success more quickly and earn more money if you hire The Barrett Group to assist you. That is one of the reasons Forbes regularly cites us as one of the best in the business.

Perhaps it’s time for you to make some waves, too? Give us a call.

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