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The societal shift from ownership to the sharing of goods, assets, or services through digital platforms has been one of the most groundbreaking trends in recent years. Logistics providers can both facilitate and participate in these networks through workforce allocation, transport utilization, and on-demand warehousing and fulfillment to achieve new levels of efficiency and value creation.

Key Developments & Implications

The recession in 2009 bolstered the ideological impetus to use technology in building an economy in which consumption would be more social, frugal, and sustainable. What began as a way for owners of assets, such as cars or homes, to earn supplemental income by sharing and renting continues today as a viable and increasingly acceptable business model for both consumers and corporations. The most successful platforms were essentially marketplaces that effectively matched supply and demand for their users. As they mature, these successful players often develop into more traditional asset-heavy companies.

This honing and refining has led the sector to disrupt industries like transportation, hospitality, freelance, and, to some extent, logistics in what is becoming an progressively mature market. The success of shared and on-demand passenger transport has attracted existing companies to expand their focus and adapt their models and tools for freight transport. At the same time, originally pure play digital freight marketplaces that match shippers and carriers are increasingly investing into warehouses to gain more control of supply chain networks.

Moreover, the logistics industry is not just impacted by the sharing economy directly, but also implicitly through the trend’s intersection with other industries. For the logistics industry, the sharing economy business model has the highest relevance in rethinking three key segments: logistics transportation, fulfillment, and labor models.

  • Shared logistics transport has proven to be an increasingly prevalent and viable business model over the past several years. The COVID-19 pandemic has also driven consolidation and bundling in the on-demand delivery space. Established logistics companies must now look at existing fleets and demand to best understand how to integrate similar services in their own operations.

  • On-demand warehousing & fulfillment has grown significantly, fueled by the global e-commerce boom and primarily smaller merchants looking for flexible warehousing and fulfillment options. With regard to fulfillment, several companies have developed a network of discreet fulfillment warehouses ranging from urban micro distribution centers to more traditional centralized warehouses with shared inventory offering third party fulfilment services.

  • Shared workforce is becoming an increasingly attractive model for logistics operations to match volatile shipment demand with adequate staffing. As the logistics industry is fueled in large part by third-party labor and contracted employees, and as the growth prospect of online staffing hovers at a 35% CAGR through 2025, supply chain organizations are increasingly looking to on-demand staffing models to ensure smooth operations and meeting service quality targets.

Sharing Economy Logistics

We have seen the mobility and hospitality industries fundamentally changed by Sharing Economy incumbents, with other industries like staffing, heavy industry, and logistics not far behind. Download this trend report to understand how we need to rethinking logistics with access over ownership.

Questions answered in this report:

  • What is the Sharing Economy?
  • What best practices from other industries can be applied to logistics organizations?
  • What new business opportunities can the Sharing Economy create for your organization?


Talk to an Expert

Ben Gesing

Global Head of DHL Trend Research

Ben Gesing is a global innovation leader with 7+ years of experience developing technical solutions in the logistics, telecommunications, and consumer electronics industry. Today he leads the Trend Research activities at the DHL Innovation Center near Bonn, Germany. He and his team are responsible for shaping the overall innovation agenda at Deutsche Post DHL Group through producing industry trend reports and piloting cutting edge technologies like artificial intelligence, computer vision, and robotics in live logistics operations together with startups.

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