Trends to watch out for in 2021 for the Logistics fraternity

Trends to watch out for in 2021 for the Logistics fraternity



“Change is the only constant thing“ – and the year 2020 proved that COVID pandemic was a catalyst. The Logistics industry has been experiencing Change coming in the form of continuous innovation, which is occurring at a much faster pace than we have ever seen. Technology-driven change has accelerated the innovation’s integration in Logistics business processes, forcing companies to rethink their management approaches and customer experience. The future of the Logistics industry is already here, pushed by the pandemic and post-pandemic challenges.


AI all the way


Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Logistics has come a long way. Who really could have imagined driverless cars, pilotless aircraft or predictive capabilities other than from the pages of science fiction? But thanks to a whirlwind evolution of tech, AI has left the laboratory and evolved into an integral and ubiquitous part of Logistics. While trucking, rail and ocean freight have been tracked by satellite via telematics for decades, and versions of electronic driver logs have been around for nearly 20 years, the data has not been properly utilised until now. Previous tracking efforts did not provide “clean” data and had been regularly stored on paper, making proper analysis more difficult. The difference today, however, is not only the presence of more data but also vastly more powerful computing and algorithms to sort, evaluate and result in action.


For instance, machine learning-based tools can predict air/ocean freight transit time delays in order to enable proactive mitigation. By analysing different parameters of internal data, the machine learning models are able to predict if the average daily transit time for a given lane/route is expected to rise or fall up to a week in advance. Better algorithms and data crunching enables AI to identify inefficiencies and move cargo around the world faster than ever.


Blockchain beyond limits


It was only a matter of time before blockchain hit the Logistics mainstream. The technology’s ability to record transactions between parties permanently and securely has a multitude of uses in the Logistics industry. However, the Logistics players are just at the beginning of their path to finding the clear benefits of blockchain. Some of the world’s largest companies including Maersk, Microsoft, Alibaba, and Amazon now invest heavily in the technology. That’s a lot of money getting in on the blockchain action, and why would it be different? The World Economic Forum estimates the integration of blockchain will reduce the supply chain barriers to global trade. Just this aspect is providing businesses with the potential 15% increase ins sales and a 5% increase in the GDP.


The world’s largest retailer is also incorporating technologies based on the blockchain. Lynx, a subsidiary of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, announced the successful integration of blockchain for its cross-border Logistics operations. Their system is capable of keeping track of all the relevant data about an imported shipment such as the details about the production, transport method, customs, inspection, and even third-party verification. Shipping is the best example of where blockchain possibilities are being realised on the scale of the largest Logistics companies. The adoption of blockchain-based digital lading bills will enable accurate documentation and fast transfer of original documents. This will make supply chains more efficient and reduce unnecessary transaction costs. According to industry estimates, more than 10% of freight transportation invoices contain inaccurate data.


Mechanical automation


Automation in coordination is not restricted to simplifying the activities. Inside, Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) can see more extensive acknowledgement for performing complex errands. Notwithstanding, how we scatter the frequently utilised dread: robots won’t supplant people. In most inventory chains, robots would liberate human resources from modest work, permitting them to zero on significant dynamics.


Cargo Community Systems


If there is one thing the Logistics industry needs to gain from the progressing pandemic, it is nimbleness. The Logistics network must be sufficiently adaptable to assimilate any stuns, major or minor, that tag along its way. Cargo Community Systems are an answer to this challenge. They are on the raise. Port Community System and Airport Cargo Community System are gaining great ground across the world. Connecting all the actors of the supply chain on a unified platform and synchronising their operations is the sole objective of these community platforms. Currently, in their 3rd Generation, these have smart apps, and APIs with business intelligence built into them to empower the smallest player in the value chain.


Logistics e-Marketplace


Among the variety of digital platforms that are active in the present-day Logistics industry, freight and Logistics marketplaces have the greatest disruptive potential to transform the way the industry functions and resolve most of its pertinent issues. An online freight marketplace is a platform where shippers could connect with a vast variety of carriers and even Freight Forwarders. The logical benefits of such a marketplace include an increase in transparency of Logistics industry processes, fair pricing, quicker assignment and dispatch of goods, and the creation of trust among the members of the industry. As a consequence of a combination of these factors, the empty miles problem would also be solved to a large extent. End-to-end integrity across functions like track and trace, reviews and ratings, invoice audits, etc. make these platforms the most sought-after.


Much like the agricultural revolution, the digital revolution is impacting many different aspects of modern life – and Logistics is one of the industries primed for disruption. It is beginning its journey to becoming a Tech-driven industry – but the future remains rife with challenges to overcome and opportunities to realise. Breaking, the odds, the industry survives and is continuously evolving as it always did. With these trends, the industry will soon rise to the new normal and turn into the age of digitisation. More innovative concepts such as cargo community systems, cargo tracking applications and others will seamlessly emerge. Therefore, 2021 is the beginning of a new era rather than a new year.