Global Logistics Costs by Function and Mode, 2018

Global Logistics Costs by Function and Mode, 2018

Source: Adapted from Armstrong & Associates Inc.

Logistics costs are the summation of all expenditures undertaken to make available a good or a service to the market, mainly the end consumer. Global logistics expenditures represent about 10-15% of the total world GDP but vary significantly according to the level of economic development and the orientation of the economy (manufacturing, raw materials, services, etc.). For instance, an economy that relies on the extraction of natural resources will have higher logistics costs than an economy focusing on advanced services. The most significant logistics cost concerns transportation (58%), followed by inventory carrying (23%) and warehousing (11%); they jointly account for 92% of all logistics costs:

  • Transportation costs remain the dominant consideration as they account for more than half of the logistic costs. They include the costs related to the operation and maintenance of transportation modes and terminals used in the supply chain.
  • Inventory carrying costs are the variable costs of maintaining inventory in a warehouse. They include the costs of holding goods in inventory (capital costs, labor, warehousing, depreciation, insurance, taxation, and obsolescence) as well as the physical handling of goods, including tasks such as packaging and labeling. Inventory carrying costs varies according to the volume handled and are commonly expressed as a share of the inventory value.
  • Warehousing costs are the fixed costs of owning or leasing warehousing space. They vary according to the number and the size of facilities and are irrespective of the amount of inventory being handled.
  • Administrative costs include managerial overheads such as customer service, receiving and processing orders, and managing the workforce. They also include information technologies.

Distributors are willing to pay higher rents to take advantage of a logistics site that offers co-location with an intermodal terminal since this strategy enables them to reduce transportation costs, such as drayage, as well as improve their time responsiveness (lead time). Therefore, while transportation costs remain the most important element of logistics costs and its friction, non-spatial components such as inventory carrying and labor costs, are significant components that will influence locational choice depending on the supply chain.