Market Challenges Present Opportunities for Sales & Marketing

Market Challenges Present Opportunities for Sales & Marketing in Transportation
In 2020, everyone in marketing, sales or business strategy roles within the transportation and logistics industry rose to a new level. Maybe you noticed. More likely you were too busy doing your job to see. That’s what we do in this business. We RISE in the face of changes, challenges and opportunities.

With the worldwide pandemic, 10 years of business evolution were compressed into one — and there’s no going back. Here we are, as companies and an industry, operating at a more essential and impactful level than ever before.

What’s currently happening?
You’re not the only one who wants to know. Over the past year, shippers, carriers and logistics service providers took risks and tried new things. They developed new business models and expanded services. They rose to meet the extraordinary needs of their customers, employees and communities.

Now, the world is awake again. 

As the lights continue to come back on within the global economy, sales is again focused on growth and capturing market share. For marketers, there is a rebirth of strategy in a completely new context. Customer expectations have changed, technology has progressed, and partners across the supply chain have developed an entirely new appreciation for how sales and marketing drive customer value and relationships.

At the Transportation Marketing & Sales Association (, our members are reporting extraordinary changes in the way they’re doing business in late summer 2021 – and the opportunities that exist in the world of transportation and logistics. Here are just a few observations I’m hearing from member companies that include third-party logistics companies, freight forwarders, truck brokers, motor carriers, railroads, ocean carriers, marine ports, and port authorities:

China-US Transportation Costs Jump 229%. The price to ship a container of goods to the U.S. from China bordered close to $10,000 as the world’s largest economy keeps sweeping up imports due to slower recoveries from the pandemic from Europe to Asia. In fact, a composite index of eight major trade routes increased to $8,796, which equates to a 333% surge year-over-year from 2020. I’m hearing that rates are expected to increase even more in the next several weeks. Some organizations are raising retail prices, adding to inflationary pressures that disturb central banks, while COVID-related supply chain bottlenecks continue to hold back economic activity. For those responsible for sales and marketing among third-party providers of logistics services, ocean carriers, and port authorities in particular, this environment of fluctuating rates and supply/demand is a complicated environment in which to strengthen business relationships among new and existing customers.

Ramifications of a Fluctuating Freight Market. From everything that I’m hearing from the marketplace, you can expect capacity, rates and service to create new challenges for truckload and less-than-load shippers in the months ahead. This presents unique opportunities for sales and business strategy professionals with providers to help customers control cost control and navigate through the complexity of capacity unpredictability – and this can be an opportunity to shine with long-term customers as well as newly acquired accounts. In addition, global supply chain challenges facing shippers in the wake of pandemic will only intensify in the wake of the Suez Canal disruption. As the latest global incident ripples across freight transportation networks for months to come, providers are looking at ways to help their customers as these disruptions and emerging transportation trends impact North American shippers in the last months of 2021.

Canada Places Restrictions on Trains due to Wildfires. Canada’s transportation administration forced new regulations on its two largest railroad companies operating in wildfire-ravaged British Columbia. Canadian National and Canadian Pacific both will have to ensure they can react within 60 minutes to any fire detected along rail lines in the most affected areas of British Columbia. The rules also make train conductors accountable for detecting fires or smoldering areas, and expect the rail companies to remove vegetation and combustible material from near tracks.

What Can You Do to Meet these Challenges?

Given such challenges and market disruptions, there’s never been a more complicated time for sales and marketing – yet it’s also a prime time to prove your value and leverage your expertise and resourcefulness to your customers.

Many members in the Transportation Marketing & Sales Association will be attending TMSA’s annual Logistics Marketing & Sales Conference Oct. 3-6 in Nashville, where they’ll meet with industry professionals in person to share ideas and experiences with others who speak the language of transportation, logistics, sales and marketing. This is an excellent opportunity for marketing, sales and business strategists to surround themselves with the industry’s best experts as they seek new heights after the unprecedented experience we just had.

For decades, TMSA’s annual conference has attracted visionary leaders and industry innovators. Prepare to lift your understanding, your standards and your practices to the next level. Together, we’ve excelled through downturns, upheavals, technology changes, market shifts -- and now, a global pandemic. Interested in joining us at the conference? Visit for full details.

About the Transportation Marketing & Sales Association

The Transportation Marketing & Sales Association (TMSA) enables marketing and sales professionals to learn about and advance the transportation and logistics industry through education, connections and resources, ultimately strengthening their individual development, their businesses and the industry-at-large. For more information, visit


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