Today, the importance of transportation is far greater than getting people and goods from point A to point B. Advancements in technologies have enabled the logistics and transportation industry to improve the quality of their services. Global businesses and international trade rely highly on the transportation services to move the flow of goods within the economy. Virtually everything around us from the clothes we wear to the device we use is sourced from multiple locations across the world. As every component has to be transported to different players across the supply chain, the overall cost keeps on increasing due to shipping charges and other value-added activities. As a result, the transportation industry is constantly on the lookout for ways to contain this cost. So what are the top trends in the highly competitive transportation industry for 2018?
TRANSPORTATION INDUSTRY TRENDS
Last year, the hype was all about self-driving cars and its ability to seamlessly drive around cities without any mishaps or accidents. This year though, the concept has evolved to bigger vehicles – self-driving trucks. A combination of AI and myriad sensors can correctly evaluate road conditions and learn how drivers behave under specific conditions. Additionally, vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication systems can share learned information and improve the AI driving pattern. As a result, such self-driving trucks can potentially become better drivers than human themselves. Tesla recently announced Tesla Semi an all-electric truck with Tesla Autopilot, which allows semi-autonomous driving on highways.
Blockchain in logistics
One of the major problems faced by the transportation industry is the difficulty to effectively look at performance history and trace the flow of goods. Blockchain’s ability to provide security and transparency efficiently solves this complication as a logistics company can quickly recall the product back to its origin in case any damage is there. Additionally, if a potential customer wants to buy a used car, he may not have any information in the previous condition of the vehicle. However, with blockchain, all parties involved in the transaction can have a clear view of the past records. Another interesting use case of this technology can be to estimate the cargo space for specific shipping orders. The data can be used to calculate the shipping costs, after which automatic contracts can be executed when certain conditions are met and consequently stored into the blockchain network.
The last mile delivery problem has troubled the transportation industry for a long time now. There still isn’t a satisfactory solution to this problem except for drone deliveries. Amazon was the first company to successfully complete a drone delivery in late 2016. However, the concept hasn’t been put to full use. However, today, many companies including Walmart and FedEx are exploring the possibility and feasibility of drone delivery. The success of drone delivery will significantly cut down on the transportation cost and thereby improve customer satisfaction.
Legislation and Regulations
The transportation industry has to abide by a host of regulations and legislation. It is essential for the transport company to be updated on recent legislation adopted by the local, state, or federal government. They have to comply with the rules regarding emission standards, electronic logbooks, safety rules, timely maintenance, and overtime. For instance, Volkswagen’s inability to comply with the emission standard set the company back by $2.8 billion in fines affecting 340,000 vehicle owners.
Apart from technological advancements, transportation companies are looking at other avenues to cut down on their overall transportation costs. Sharing economy is one of the viable alternatives which can significantly enhance their productivity and operations. By sharing warehousing and transportation space, companies can increase the frequency of delivery and reduce the overall costs.