If we’re not already transporting enough, the US Department of Transportation estimates that US freight volume growth will continue to increase. More specifically, it is set to grow by more than 40% over the next three decades. The logistics industry is a massive one, and with shipping accounting for 90% of world trade, it’s no wonder that a large part of the future of logistics lies in ocean freight. But there’s so much more than ocean freight. There’s been immense talk of automation, digitization, and altering supply chains to meet increasing demands for efficiency. In the future, will autonomous trucks and autonomous containerships be the norm?
This article by Supply Chain 24⁄7 discusses Smart Mobility, a project aimed at improving the safety and efficiency of today’s transportation by employing environmentally friendly and sustainable methods.
With regards to this, it notes that US middle-sized cities hold the most potential in growth, with an expected growth rate that’s three times faster than the rest of the country over the next 30 years. On a global level, around 20% more people are expected to be living in cities by 2030.
From sophisticated communications systems sending automated traffic alert to truckers, to a shared data system that offers dynamic routings, this article highlights the potential of this project and how its innovations are shaping logistics.
“The combinative power of truly connected supply chains, machine-to-machine communication, machine learning, and predictive analytics will create new levels of supply chain control, visibility, and responsiveness.”
This Forbes article summarizes the analysis of the future of logistics conducted by business consulting firm Frost & Sullivan. Addressing the five main emerging technologies that are currently driving the future of supply chains, it estimates that over the next 15 years, we will see large amounts of industry players adopting and adapting to the latest technology at an unprecedented speed.
The five technologies highlighted in the article include autonomous fleet. But it doesn’t only discuss drones. Autonomous forklifts, cranes, and of course, ships and trucks are also mentioned. Of which, the latter could become a reality within 13 years.
It also addresses the changing limiting factor of logistics from fuel to data. Big data has become key to logistical efficiency. And this, ultimately, boils down to fulfilling the increasing demands of customers and shippers.
“With the possibilities in artificial intelligence, the future supply chain holds the promise of being completely autonomous and self-orchestrated.”
It’s not always about digitization and automation. As aptly pointed out in this Supply Chain Digital article, growth is a blend of many factors, of which most are evolving and changing at a rapid pace. With every change, there’s an opportunity to be taken advantage of and challenges to overcome.
It lists the 12 most important trends to look out for that are molding the future of logistics. Growth patterns is one. The article notes that exports from Asia to North America and Europe will no longer be the driving factor of logistical growth. This will come from elsewhere, and it will be ‘more fragmented, more unpredictable and more volatile’.
Other factors such as flexibility, continuity, sustainability, and transparency will also be key to the day-to-day logistics of our future. Those wishing to have a firm hold in the industry will have to learn how to sufficiently prepare themselves what it terms ‘the new normal’.
“Growth will still be there, if you know where to find it.”
How better to understand the future of logistics and what it holds than from straight from the horse’s mouth? This article puts together 11 answers of logistical experts to the simple question ‘How will logistics change in the future?’.
From strategy changes and the general consensus on the rise of autonomous vehicles to technological development in supply chains and changing consumer habits, we get a variety of opinions as to just where the complex logistics industry is heading.
Even though there’s no unanimous agreement on the main driving factor, one thing is clear: Technology plays an immense role. Be it automation, digitization, or data consolidation, the future of logistics relies heavily on technologies and how its adoption will play out.
“Future logistics will operate in a de-stressed supply chain, where AI (artificial intelligence) systems automatically de-risk and optimise flow of freight.”
This infographic done by 2flow illustrates the emerging trends that will affect the future of logistics. As it very correctly points out, an industry the size of global logistics, which is worth a whopping $4 trillion, needs to consistently strive to become better as a whole.
Already highlighted as potentials by other articles discussing the future of logistics, the Internet of Things, UAVs, and autonomous vehicles show up again once more on this infographic. It also lists 3D printing as having a large influence over the future of logistics. Its role in logistics includes mass customization and decentralized production and an increase in last-mile shipping.
At the end of the day, these are technologies that ought to be embraced sooner rather than later. They will help the company adapt to the evolving trends taking over the logistics sector in this day and age and beyond.
"Customs duties play an important role in your international shipment. How they're determined and calculated varies from country to country"
Klaus Lydsal, vice president of operations at iContainers