As we look out into 2013, we see enough economic concerns to make us cautious about our optimism for growth.
Europe is struggling to contain the soveriegn debt challenges facing troubled economies and this is slowing development throughout the continent. We can see the impact this is having on trade from the poor rate environment for cargo moving from Asia to the European Union.
The U.S. is struggling to attain minimal GDP growth, and the prospects for larger growth appear slim in the face of increased taxes and continuing pressure on wages. Manufacturing and consumer spending have helped buoy the U.S. economy and we hope for more of the same this year.
Even China has its problems, as the country works through a broader shift from purely an exporting country to an economy with a growing consumer base and demand for imports. China is trying to manage this process as best it can. However, in the short term, there will be challenges that dampen development of the Chinese economy.
As we look at these clouds, we also see silver linings in a gobal economy that will offer opportunities in new locations. We will continue to invest in new offices in Southeast Asia, Africa, India and South America. These emerging economic centers will become increasingly important.
Those logistics companies that can integrate the emerging markets into the global economy, including the big markets of Europe, the U.S. and China will be well-established to prosper when investment and economic activity gain speed in coming years. This will require the right people, with sufficient knowledge of the local business culture and the global network, backed by the right systems to deliver a competitive advantage.