Are you working in the trucking industry, and wondering what 2021 will hold? After global pandemics, a shift towards social isolation, and an increase in digital retail, the freight industry has a busy year ahead. But as an industry professional or customer, do you know what challenges it will face?
It pays to be able to predict upcoming trends in these volatile times. Below, we present a must-know guide to what 2021 may bring for trucking logistics.
Increasing Visibility in Trucking Logistics
The overarching factor under which all others sit will be the drive for increased visibility. Loads and parcels will no longer leave a depot and appear at their destination but will be tracked at every point of the journey. For those in the trucking industry, this means a move towards efficiency, increased to a level that barely makes room for mistakes.
Communication is becoming even more fluid, and as it does, items, as well as people, are becoming connected. This means that shipments will track in real-time. It will decrease theft, but increase the need for increased customer service.
With the introduction of technology such as blockchain into the logistics industry, even more factors will be mapped regarding how a product arrives at its destination. For example, the company Shipchain has developed a blockchain-based software package that only releases payments when goods are delivered. It goes so far as to check the correct temperatures, weight, humidity, and orientation of the package.
Part of this could also come from the introduction of 5G mobile technology. This has the potential to provide continuous coverage. In fact, it could fully integrate and digitize the industry.
All of this will of course depend upon 5G infrastructure across countries and states. Mobile roaming and licensing will play a large part in its implementation.
Fuel and the Drive to Be Environmentally Conscious
Consumers in all sectors are making a move towards being environmentally conscious. This has impacted everything from food to fashion. Logistics is set to be no different.
Diesel fuel prices have been on the increase for years. This has cut into the profits of logistics companies for a long time, despite efforts to reclaim costs through surcharges. While electric passenger vehicles are proliferating, a viable replacement for a strong diesel engine has yet to be seen.
The problem has been exasperated by the drive to reduce vehicle emissions. With clean air zones and low emission zones appearing in cities around the world, costs are mounting on trucking companies that need to deliver in these areas. While newer vehicles do have the means to reduce emissions considerably, a strong alternative still has to be found.
This environmental drive will also account for a change in warehousing as well as shipment. Warehouses will be expected to integrate renewable building materials and power them with sustainable energy sources. This could include onsite methods of power generation, such as solar panels.
Artificial Intelligence and Automation
Warehouse automation is already here, and it is here to stay. You can expect to see a huge increase in the coming years, as the world moves towards a more distanced model. As well as cutting down on labor costs, warehouse automation has numerous benefits to the logistics industry.
Automated picking increases the speed and efficiency with which items get packed. For anyone working in the trucking industry, this means faster turnarounds. With delivery times becoming a huge factor in how customers decide to buy, expectations will increase on drivers to drop off goods on time.
In addition, automated warehousing allows a more flexible staffing process for seasonal work. This means that staff do not need hiring or letting go for Christmas and holiday seasons. For the trucking industry, this change in supply and demand has been something that has been going on for a long time, though this may start to impact drivers much more in an AI-driven industry.
As for the frontline driver, self-driving and AI technology will start to play a larger part. Testing for automated trucking has already begun, and once safe you can be sure that it will soon begin to replace the human element.
Changes in the Last Mile
The last mile is a term used to describe the final part of a logistics journey, usually from the distribution hub to the buyer’s front door. The last mile has been a consistent problem for companies, as the expectation from the customer rises. However, it seems that technology may have reached a point in which the last mile conundrum can finally be solved.
A lot of this will come from automated delivery services. This could be from autonomous ground vehicles or even the use of delivery drones. By seamlessly integrating them into the internet of things, consumers will be able to track them to the doorstep.
The last mile will also be the perfect place for companies to cut their emissions and reach environmental pledges. As it is suited to short-range, low powered vehicles, a rise in hybrid and electric delivery methods can be expected. Large retailers have already begun to make huge purchases of these vehicles.
Change With the Times
While it may be impossible to adapt to every possible scenario that trucking logistics may throw up in the next year, it can pay to prepare for them. Many of the issues discussed on this list are not a matter of if, but when they will arrive.
If you want to stay ahead of the curve, Patriot Freight Group is at the cutting edge of trucking and freight. We can deliver your preferred trucking solution for a number of types and sizes of load. Contact us today to discuss your needs, and get quality delivered with your logistics.