June 18, 2019
Logistics is an industry which is constantly evolving to keep up with new trends, growth, and innovation. As the world becomes more connected importing and exporting transportation methods need to keep up. Freight is already looking towards the future with new innovations.
There is no point investing in new technology, vehicles, and equipment without understanding the facts and figures. The predictions for the future are positive, and in Australia land freight is expected to grow nationally by 75% by the year 2031. International trade has already doubled over the last 10 years, and this is set to double again over the next 20 years. Having the infrastructure and logistical services to support this rising trend will be crucial. With the recent election we have seen some changes with Hon. Scott Buchholz being appointed as the Minister for Road and Safety Transport in the brand new portfolio. This shows freight is a priority for the Government which is good news for those in the industry.
In a digital age, importers and exporters are expecting their goods sooner as demand from their customers rises. Air freight is becoming increasingly popular due to its high speed, and Deakin University have predicted more flights will be freight only in the future. Following other countries, in the future smaller deliveries will likely be delivered by drones, and this may eventually evolve to support larger freight.
Greener logistics is a growing trend, and innovation begins with reducing transport emissions. Fleets which include electric vehicles and more efficient trucks, ships, and planes are key to this. The creation of electric vehicles is contributing to the creation of new jobs as part of the robotics industry. By 2020 robotics is set to be worth $100 billion dollars and there are numerous ways this will positively impact logistics. In addition to electric vehicles, advanced tools and tracking will ensure better accuracy of delivery and fewer returns. Recycled packaging is a simple, yet high impact environmental solution when done on a large scale.
One of the most interesting, yet highly debated, subject is automated transport. While we probably won’t experience an apocalyptic earth run by machines (at least in the foreseeable future), automation is beginning to show its face. In the US, there are tests being carried out to determine the viability of automated freight. One company is working with the US Postal Service to see how their driverless vehicles can safely deliver goods between Phoenix, Arizona, Dallas, Texas, and New Mexico. If this is successful, the implications in Australia could be huge. Long trips often require multiple drivers or breaks which could be virtually eliminated with this technology. In 2015, 17% of the road toll was related to heavy vehicles and using automated trucks could be a safer, more efficient option. In WA the mining industry has already embraced automation with the use of self driving trains.
The logistics industry is one which is set for continued growth, and this equates to investment into innovation. Automation, efficiency, and reliability are all areas we will be watching closely.