A Delphi-study conducted as a part of the Interreg Baltic Sea Region flagship project HAZARD anticipates an increase in the importance of the logistics sector, but also expects it to be hindered by increasing regulation in the future. 

The future of the transport and logistics industry was unraveled in a Delphi-study reviewing almost 100 high level experts from the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). The HAZARD study, led from the Turku School of Economics, examined 52 questions regarding transportation in the BSR by 2030.

The wide questionnaire was categorized into ten themes (Figure 1) ranging from the competitiveness of the logistics sector to supply chain safety and security issues. The expert panel rated itself to be most knowledgeable in competitiveness and environmental aspects, as well as in road and maritime freight, while the expertise regarding air and rail freight ranked rather low.

The ten themes used in the HAZARD logistics survey

Figure 1 Scores of the ten themes used in the Delphi-survey

The future will bring new challenges to the Baltic Sea Region

Scores in the transport and logistics survey

Table 1 Four of the highest and lowest average scores in the Delphi survey (high score signifies generally positive outlooks).

The expert panel anticipates an increased demand for environmentally friendly logistics services in the future; this goes hand in hand with the other notable forecast seen in the study regarding an expected decrease in the greenhouse gas emission levels.

The most drastic negative change was expected to take place in supply chain safety and security. Elevated costs caused by preventing and countering criminality were also anticipated. Especially cyber threats are likely to increase, according to the study. Additionally, the lack of skilled labor in logistics was expected to create another challenge for the industry by the year 2030.

Other findings anticipated significant technological advances such as improved energy efficiency, a growing importance of the logistics industry for the competitiveness of the BSR, and increased requirements in the use of tracking and tracing technologies. The highest and lowest scores of the survey can be seen in Table 1.

Follow-up to a study conducted in 2013

This research follows the footprints of an almost identical study by Ojala et al. (2013) which focused on the year 2025. The costs to comply with environmental regulation were deemed most problematic in both studies. Comparing the results of the two studies, the largest single deterioration was seen in border crossings between EU and non-EU countries by road freight. This, amongst other notable changes in the expert panel opinions can be seen in Table 2 below.

Scores in the transport and logistics survey

Table 2 Four questions with the highest and lowest average values in the 2019 Delphi survey (foresight 2030) compared to the results of the same questions in the 2013 Delphi survey (foresight 2025).

The full report and responses can be viewed question by question in the HAZARD project website or accessed directly through this link.