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.

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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.

News & Analysis

28 Nov 2016
Third-party logistics provider Transplace is making further inroads into Canada after acquiring Lakeside Logistics.
14 Nov 2016
CEVA Logistics posted lower earnings and flat revenue in the third quarter, as sliding freight rates offset strong volume growth.
08 Nov 2016
Deutsche Post DHL on Tuesday reported a record third-quarter result.
01 Nov 2016
DSV’s operating profit surged 18 percent in the third quarter as ocean, air, and ground freight posted solid growth.
26 Oct 2016
Plunging truckload rates proved a dead weight on profits at C.H. Robinson Worldwide in the third quarter.
25 Oct 2016
Panalpina’s profit stabilized in the first nine months of the year.

Commentary

When UPS on Jan. 23 pre-announced fourth-quarter earnings, it shouldn’t have been a surprise. Yet some analysts said they were “troubled by the company’s inability to get peak (operating expenses) right during what is increasingly becoming the most important quarter of the year” and were concerned “that UPS got the service but not the cost, which is going to leave the market wondering if it can only have one or the other.”