The Future of Shipping and Logistics - Automation and Cargo Visibility
The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the logistics industry during the past year, forcing an overhaul of operations that will likely last well into the foreseeable future.
Automation to the Rescue
As logistics companies struggled to fulfill fluctuating demand with a reduced workforce and added expenses during 2020, they began embracing digitization and automation. These digital tools provided a lifeline to keep operations going in a volatile market, and many companies may not see much reason to abandon them when the full workforce is available again. Ports, terminals, delivery systems, and management processes are all feeling the effects of these technological changes.
Although automation can push some workers out of the industry, it is not likely to replace them entirely. Automation can and often does work alongside human employees, improving efficiency, safety, and productivity for everyone. Apart from robots and machine labor replacements, many logistics companies are increasingly making use of automated software applications and repetitive systems that aid management, development, marketing, communications, and more.
Cargo Visibility and LCL
In addition to automation, the logistics industry has narrowed in on the need for data analytics, cloud-based technology, blockchain consortiums, and alternative shipping methods that can help illuminate the inner workings of supply chains for all parties. With data digitization and analytics, stakeholders and customers can gain real-time insights into the movements of shipments.
These digital tools combined with the recent increasing prices for shipping containers have created a greater incentive for companies to use less-than-containerload (LCL) shipping. LCL allows shippers to circumvent the complicated process associated with full container shipping by opting for alternative smaller solutions.
In the past, these LCL solutions would have been more difficult and costly than typical shipping containers. However, digitization has made it easier for logistics companies to make the switch to LCL by facilitating pricing transparency, ease of quoting, and track-and-trace visibility. Customers also feel the benefits on their end, as a company using LCL is more likely to be able to prevent, identify, and remedy problems that may occur during shipment.
Prices for advanced technologies continue to decrease while their capabilities continue to grow, erasing any thoughts that these emerging trends will retreat with the pandemic. Logistic companies will benefit from evaluating how they can take advantage of the new tools, implementing them ahead of their competition.
With ClearFreight’s investments in technology and implementation of new digital tools, we are able to offer our customers the best of both worlds by offering access to cutting edge technology and the personal attention of a logistics expert. Contact a team member today to hear how we can take your supply chain to the next level and help make logistics easier for you.