Market Overview | Logiskills

Market Overview


It has been a challenging year for many as the global shipping industry has been navigating strong headwinds and the challenging economic conditions look set to continue into 2024. As an open economy, Ireland will be impacted by external industry challenges.

Global container volumes are estimated to grow by 3-4%, while the ocean fleet will reach a record high. Freight forwarders will experience increased competition, requiring differentiation through customer service and value-added services. Operational efficiency will be crucial, and rates may be impacted as carriers compete for a smaller pool of cargo.

Focus has shifted from unexpected events to climate change and geopolitical unrest as disruptive forces. Natural disasters are becoming more frequent and can affect resource supplies, transportation routes, production, and costs, emphasizing the need for agility, flexibility, and visibility among freight forwarders.

2023 was a busy year for mergers and acquisitions with larger forwarders continuing to acquire competitors and their accounts in a challenging market.

Digital freight forwarding is gaining momentum with investing in advanced technology solutions inspired by digital counterparts and driven by customer demands. According to a recent Forbes article, digitalization is likely to be a key trend that will affect shipping and logistics in 2024 and beyond. Artificial Intelligence and blockchain technology could further digitalize and automate the world of shipping as it moves toward the introduction of paperless shipping.

The good news is that Irelands' economy appears to have slowed down rather than entered a severe recession. 

Employment figures remain strong, and despite entering a technical recession, Ireland's economy is considered to be healthy. 

The decline in inflation, down to 2.3%, the lowest in two and a half years, is attributed to falling energy costs, positively impacting consumers. Lowered prices are observed across various sectors, with food prices stabilizing. While inflation tends to affect lower-income families more, the drop in energy prices is expected to benefit them. 

Corporation taxes recovered strongly in the month of November, helping the Exchequer to deliver a welcome surplus of €5.4 billion. 

Access to skills remains a huge challenge for businesses as competition remains strong and wage demands plateau.

The IrishJobs Jobs Index Q3 2023 indicates the job market continues to rebalance against a backdrop of near-full employment. The decline in job vacancies from last year’s high continued with a 28% year-on-year and 7% quarter-on-quarter decline recorded. However, the level of job vacancies in the economy remains healthy, with 22 of the sectors examined remaining above pre-Covid Q3 2019 levels.