It's All Logistics: Shipping Becomes a Pandemic Hero
December 27, 2020
As an investor and venture capitalist, I’ve always sought out opportunities in the firms, products, and industries that produce returns and improve peoples’ lives. Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a number of new industries rise to prominence, while many former economic giants have contended with rapidly evaporating market shares and changing consumer behavior.
While the rise of streaming services and tech firms during the pandemic has been well documented and frequently discussed, little conversation exists around the industry I think has truly powered the economy during this difficult time—logistics. As we continue to navigate the pandemic, I can’t help but think how this industry embodies the ethos of my central investment philosophy.
With COVID-19 confining millions to their homes, Americans have relied more deeply than ever on logistics and delivery services—from the Postal Service to Postmates—to acquire the goods and services they need. Whether we have noticed it or not, the logistics industry has played a significant role in our lives over these last few months.
The demand for efficient, quick deliveries first began to skyrocket during the onset of the pandemic, when restrictions were at the tightest and national anxiety at its most acute. With nearly all nonessential retail closed in major markets like New York and Los Angeles, millions of Americans took to Amazon to acquire items from consumer goods to face masks to household essentials. When many Americans felt unsafe traveling even locally to pick up groceries or medications, micro-delivery platforms like UberEats and Postmates filled in a crucial void.
With the holiday season fast approaching, countless Americans are again counting on logistics and shipping firms to move their gifts from point A to point B. As many consumers conduct the entirety of their holiday shopping online, delivery services have increasingly taken on the role of Santa Claus.
Even more importantly, logistics will play an inextricable role in our nation’s mass vaccination campaign. Now, as pharmaceutical firms like Pfizer and Moderna have obtained emergency FDA approval for their COVID-19 vaccines, the logistics space is tasked with getting millions of vials of the vaccine from factories to health care clinics around the country, no matter how remote. Even air carriers, one of the pandemic’s most salient victims, have begun to contribute, retrofitting passenger airplanes to transport vials of the vaccine around the country. With vaccines on the way, our capacity to recover from this pandemic will be good as our logistics capabilities.
In many ways, we would not have made it through this moment without logistics firms and providers. Our well-being depends on them.
While accelerated by the pandemic, the logistics and shipping industries have grown over the last few years. And where there’s growth, there’s opportunity to service that growth. Over the last few years, I have gotten in on the ground floor of this trend by investing in warehouse space within ten miles of the nation’s major airports, which helps store key inventory for online retailers.
In this very moment, logistics perhaps most appropriately embodies my principal investment philosophy of supporting the ventures that generate social and economic returns. I would encourage aspiring investors to look for innovative opportunities in this field.