“If you are in the logistics industry, then you’re in the right place. Every week I’ll be bringing you the latest insight from our profession. This is not just the latest news, but how it will influence your logistics, so you can stay one step ahead and make the most of it.
Let’s work smarter, not harder.”
David Buss, CEO of DB Schenker, USA
January Updates | Week 4
Ocean News – How High Will It Go?
It’s not exactly news, but shippers are struggling as ocean rates continue to soar. The spot rate for a 40-foot container to the U.S. from Asia – according to some sources – hit the highest it has ever been in 2021. While it’s certainly not that high right now, many in the industry remember prices way lower.
We are now bracing for another round of supply chain disruptions as China imposes sweeping lockdowns in an attempt to keep the Omicron variant contained. Needless to say, a prolonged shutdown could certainly have major ramifications on global supply chains. So far, the effects of the lockdowns on Chinese factory production and deliveries have been limited. Four of China’s largest port cities (Shanghai, Dalian, Tianjin, and Shenzhen) recently imposed narrowly targeted lockdowns to try to control small outbreaks of the omicron variant.
While, as of this writing, these cities had not locked down their docks, logistics professionals should prepare now.
January Updates | Week 3
Leading Maritime Cities of the World
In the last few of days, the Leading Maritime Cities of the World were ranked by Menon Economics and DNV. Ranked by five factors including law, technology, and ports, the top five cities (starting with the top ranked) are Singapore, Rotterdam, London, Shanghai & Tokyo.
Experts see Singapore, Oslo, Shanghai, and Copenhagen as best prepared for digital transformation (something I’m certainly watching), while Oslo tops the list for sustainable technologies and solutions for the oceans, followed by Singapore and Copenhagen.
What’s interesting to me is one city that doesn’t appear in the top five. Hong Kong has slipped out of the top five to the seventh overall position.
In related news, Hong Kong is planning to create a new transport bureau to enhance its status as an international maritime and logistics hub.
Hong Kong’s maritime policies are currently controlled by the Transport and Housing Bureau (THB), which many believe leaves the logistics industry overshadowed by the city’s acute need for housing.
Under the new proposals, the bureau will be split in two, creating the separate Transport and Logistics Bureau, a move welcomed by many of us in the industry. Of course, don’t expect too much over the next few weeks, as the Chinese New Year is almost upon us.
January Updates | Week 2
Every year, it’s fun to see what the latest tech has to offer and of course that gets showcased at CES in Las Vegas every January.
In the area of transport, John Deere’s showcased their self-driving tractor. Deere showed off a tractor accessorized with stereo cameras on its front and back to allow it to operate autonomously. Deere has a somewhat simpler problem to solve than trucking logistics: agricultural vehicles move more slowly and won’t get honked at if they must pause in a field to get their bearings. But Deere will initially support only no-person-onboard plowing, not the more complex toil of seeding or harvesting.
That doesn’t mean there are not some great advancements in the logistics industry. If you missed it previously – check out what DB Schenker is doing in the area of trucking platooning.
Crisis – What Crisis?
Churchill is credited with saying “Never let a good crisis go to waste” in the mid-1940s as the world approached the end of WW ll. Logistics Management published a great article in the past few days: Supply Chain Disruption: A crisis yes, but an opportunity too.
As Logistics Management correctly point out, 2022 is likely to be challenging. But there is one deciding factor that will separate the successful from the frustrated, when it comes those planning their logistics. That’s going to be visibility, which in turn allows business planning. That requires a strong digital foundation.
If you have not signed up for eSchenker, then you should check it out. eSchenker is our most advanced logistic solution yet. It incorporates all eServices into one portal, giving you maximum support at every stage of your supply chain. From tracking and scheduling to booking and reporting, eSchenker has your logistics covered. You can find out more here.
January Updates | Week 1
With the national recovery in full swing, e-commerce sales growing and consumer spending all remaining steady through 2021, demand for all areas of logistics is extremely high right now.
Concurrently, labor shortages, a lack of equipment and persistent supply chain shortages are impacting the smooth flow of commerce. These and other factors drove up freight rates and created capacity crunches that flowed right into 2022.
The transportation trends in 2021 were formed mostly by the necessity to deliver more products in less time, often with closed borders. Moreover, innovation technologies will guide the changes in logistics in the upcoming year.
From my point of view, I see five important trends to both watch, and act upon, in 2022.
Blockchain is one of the most exciting tech trends now. It is a distributed, encrypted database model that has the potential to solve many problems around online trust and security. While many know blockchain is important for crypto, we’re seeing a need for different blockchains for specialized industries. I believe we’re going to see it going into more traditional avenues of logistics.
Big data analytics
All the logistics statistics are essential for planning future deliveries and understanding what goods are needed for the market. I predict we’ll see the availability big data waterfall down from the largest organizations to professionals planning logistics at the business level.
AI already impacted the transportation sector in the last decade. Using AI helps improve the operation’s functionality, finding problems before they occur, and identifying opportunities. New transport technology in implementing AI was influential in the pandemic, as many people in management positions started to work remotely. I’m excited to see the next developments in 2022.
Transportation industry trends in 2021 were mostly focusing on the automatization of the manual workforce. Many logistic companies see the potential in automating and using robots for efficient warehouses. The goal of such a decision is to make routine work cheaper and more comfortable for the business. There’s a real need for more in 2022, so we’ll keep a close eye on this.
Trends in transportation also affect the use of autonomous vehicles for delivery. A few years ago, this trend was unreal for almost every manufacturer. Only a few giant companies were investing in autonomous transportation of goods (DB Schenker being one of them). Self-driving trucks can relieve drivers’ work in the future and be efficient in operating on busy roads to predict and analyze traffic. Watch this space.
Bookmark and come back weekly to find out how the logistics industry is trending in the weeks and months ahead.