The world’s 50 largest logistics companies generated nearly $230 billion in revenue last year, according to Pittsburgh-based research and consulting firm SJ Consulting Group. Although that total was 5.8 percent less in dollar terms than the $244.17 billion in revenue during 2014, the decline was tied to the strengthening of the U.S. dollar vs. other currencies, and not reflective of an actual decline in company revenue.

On the contrary, revenue for 2015 would have grown 4.1 percent, including transactions in all currencies, were it not for the stronger dollar, said Mark D’Amico, the SJ Consulting analyst who compiled the list for JOC.com. Moreover, D’Amico said, world trade growth for 2015 amounted to about 2 percent, according to the World Trade Organization, which means the total revenue of the 50 largest logistics companies grew at a faster rate than the rate of global trade. “It is really a currency story,” he said, as the revenue recorded by many of the companies on the list were recorded in their local currencies, and only later converted into U.S. dollars.

As for the impact of the stronger dollar on the results, the revenue of Japanese companies, booked in Japanese yen, was negatively affected by the 12.6 percent decline in the yen versus the U.S. dollar. Eurozone companies’ revenues were hurt by the 16.4 percent decline of the euro versus the U.S. dollar. And the revenue of Copenhagen-based DSV felt the impact of the 16.5 decline of the Danish krone versus the dollar.

This year’s list also continues the theme of corporate acquisitions — some companies aimed to increase their ownership of valuable transportation assets in 2015. The decline in the price of fuel also had a negative impact on company revenue. For example, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, which owns thousands of trailers, suffered from the decline in fuel surcharge revenue because of the drop in fuel prices.

Special Coverage

In a year when overcapacity forced ocean shipping rates down, total revenue was a mere 1.2 percent higher than in 2015.

News & Analysis

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As freight volumes surge, truckload rates are rising faster than 3PLs such as C.H. Robinson Worldwide can adjust pricing.
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Consolidated net profit came in at 29.9 million francs against 21.8 million francs last time.
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XPO Logistics expects a healthy increase in revenue in the second quarter from the first quarter and a year ago, as freight demand in the US picks up.
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Air freight soared by 18 percent.
06 Jul 2017
“We see lots of changes in terms of networks and ports of call and there is some impact on rates.”

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