Executive Program - Freight Transportation: Strategies for a Changing Landscape

Rescheduled Dates: October 12 - 14, 2010

The recent, deep downturn in the economy and its uncertain recovery have weighed heavily on the freight transportation sector, both in North America and on a global scale.  Double-digit volume declines, record bankruptcies, consolidation and downsizing across the board, and significant reductions in investments in plant and equipment are creating further challenges.  Externally, there have been considerable fuel price fluctuations and growing regulatory pressure at all levels. 

For operators, it has been a time of declining revenues, slim (if any) profits, pricing weakness and overcapacity.  For customers, many of whom have been downsizing as well, while it has been a “buyers’ market” in terms of rates.  There have also been unstable relationships with some vendors, and constantly changing factors in optimizing their logistics networks and operations to support less traffic to satisfy their customers’ demands.  Both large and small, domestic and international companies have been impacted. 

As the economy creeps back, both operators and their customers - those who buy freight - will face a different landscape and new opportunities and expectations. Changes are already being seen in pricing, service, access, availability and contractual arrangements.  Strategies for success - for both the transport buyers and sellers - must and will change going forward.

Sample questions that will be addressed:

  • How have customers’ logistics expectations changed in meeting their transport/logistics needs?
  • How has the field of play changed in domestic/international freight transport?
  • How competitive will the modes be going forward in terms of access/availability, price and service?
  • What regulatory changes can be expected that will impact the shipper/carrier relationships?
  • What changes are needed in mode and carrier selection?
  • How well positioned are the growing number of intermediaries/third parties in the logistics space?
  • What forces are driving these changes - how can you better anticipate and take advantage of them going forward?
  • How can carriers gain advantage in the new environment?
  • What do those changes mean to logistics strategies?  How do shippers achieve leverage?

Course Format

Program content will be thoroughly integrated by the course faculty, so that participants will emerge with a comprehensive understanding and perspective of both domestic and international transportation sectors. Both Northwestern faculty and outside lecturers will lead the program.

The focus of the course is on the changing nature of relationships between shippers and carriers. Some prior knowledge and experience in logistics and transportation will be useful.