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Key Logistics Trends to Acquaint Yourself With
Whether you run a shipping company, manufacture products, sell gear online, or are simply interested in industry updates, it’s worth keeping an eye on the key trends having an impact on logistics.
After such a challenging year due to the global pandemic, times have been tough, so it’s even more necessary for business owners and managers to understand market conditions and operational avenues for growth and cost- cutting. Check out some of the top trends to put on your radar right now.
Increased Need for Refrigeration-Based Shipping
There was already good demand for foods, drinks, and other perishable items, such as pharmaceuticals, but since the coronavirus outbreak, the need for such goods to be shipped from place to place has increased. Consumers are buying more products online than ever, many of which require refrigeration during transit. Globalization keeps expanding accessibility and range, too.
Many logistics operators are now investing in the purchase of additional cooled trucks and shipping containers. They’re setting up climate-controlled warehouses and buying a temperature indicator to put on parcels that must stay below a certain temperature to remain consumable or otherwise saleable.
Key Logistics Trends: Updated Marine Emissions Standards
In 2020, new maritime regulations came into effect regarding sulfur oxides. Since then, shipping and logistics companies have had to look for ways to cut their emissions in this area if they want to comply with the updated International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations.
The new rules mean a 0.50 percent global sulfur cap for marine fuels, so those shipping goods must use marine fuels containing sulfur levels no higher than 0.50 percent. The previous limit was a significantly higher 3.5 percent. The regulation is enforced by relevant port authorities who look after compliance verification.
These changes came into play to help curb shipping pollution. Part of the focus on this was because sulfur oxides, often found in emissions, can be harmful to humans, and affect air quality and cause acid rain when they end up in the atmosphere. In turn, ocean acidification rises, and forest and aquatic species can be harmed, as well as farmers’ crops. The IMO reported that changing to low-sulfur fuel should lead to a whopping 77 percent reduction in sulfur oxide emissions per year.
More Reliance On and Use of Tech Tools
As technology continues to grow and evolve, we see it increasingly influencing industries of every type. The logistics sector is no different. Shipping-based businesses today rely on and use tech tools more and more for many tasks. Software programs help to streamline processes, for instance, and help firms to cut costs.
Plus, smaller companies find it easier to compete with large ones when tracking and analyzing data and getting insights into operational costs. Technology assists organizations of all types to work with large amounts of data and ensure compliance with shipping and customs rules that are typically quite complex.
Automation tools that utilize technology have become a boon for logistics businesses as well. Robotic automated guided vehicles can handle and prepare heavy shipments with little need for human intervention. This reduces employee costs and the likelihood of repetitive motion and lifting injuries. Robotic order pickers are also faster at locating product bins and specific items and make fewer errors than human counterparts.
Artificial intelligence (AI) gets used frequently in logistics now. Firms can use it to optimize shipping routes and improve the efficiency of last-mile delivery – the part of shipping where packages move from the final warehouse to a customer’s address. This optimization helps reduce fuel usage and costs for operators.
AI is assisting businesses to make faster and more accurate consumer demand predictions. As a result, this allows for more lead time and the implementation of predictive shipping. Furthermore, the use of AI in autonomous vehicles is growing and enables logistics companies to reduce worker needs in this area.
The Environment is Top of Mind
With the environment top of mind for so many people right now, it’s no surprise that sustainability is a big focus for logistics operators in 2021. Shippers create a significant environmental impact but are looking for ways to reduce their footprint and align with consumer and government expectations.
If you’re in the logistics sector, it’s a good idea to examine your shipping processes from start to finish. This work should include considering packaging choices, recycling opportunities, and item reuse. Optimizing delivery routes will also help with fuel emission reductions.
Both general consumers and business clients expect firms working in logistics to understand common priorities and remain up to date on current trends and developments. Educating yourself on the above topics will help you grow your company when others might fall behind.