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

27 Apr 2016
Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s state-owned railway, is pressing ahead with plans to list its DB Schenker logistics unit on the stock market.
31 Mar 2016
The top Europe-based global freight forwarders were able to maintain or improve their earnings despite volatile freight rates and stagnating cargo volumes in 2015.
21 Mar 2016
As e-commerce demands push delivery limits, UPS is expanding its US and global early delivery guarantees for package shippers and customers.
09 Mar 2016
XPO Logistics landed a major contract logistics agreement with Trinity Health to operate a distribution network for the Catholic hospital and health care system.
25 Feb 2016
Downturn? Recession? They're not in XPO Logistics' sights this year. The $7.6 billion logistics and transportation company sees e-commerce fueling many of its asset-based and non-asset business segments in North American and Europe.
19 Feb 2016
Third-party logistics providers already control about 25 percent of the less-than-truckload freight market, and that share is growing, as shippers look for 3PLs with assets and broad portfolios.

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.”