Continuing our part II series in discussing the role of different sections in technology in bringing about a drastic change in international shipping and logistics management. Please get to first part is here.
Unveiled in 2008, the Blockchain technology has been the widely talked about digi-mechanism across industries, the world over. What appeared to be a complex concept in the first place to commoners, the technology has given way to numerous as well as tremendous use cases in logistics, in the recent years, but still, the Blockchain framework hasn’t been properly implemented for unknown reasons. However, there are examples of pilot projects governed in this logistics industry and operations have taken place in limited way.
It deserves mention that CargoX is supreme start-up example showing deeper manifestation of blockchain technology in this industry, by harnessing public Ethernet network for secured document validation. Further, other big fishes have sprung-up in the field such as UPS and BNSF Railway of Warner Buffet fame but such projects are still in their infancy but showing a long-run promise.
In simpler words, Blockchain framework is characterised as the distributed ledger of transactions, open and is controlled by shared network. Every member of this framework is enjoys open access to this ledger containing records of transactions, in transparent and is hereby tough to anyone to manipulate such records by way of hacking or to apply any voodoo magic into the system. In short, no room for any third-party invasion as only and strictly the members are allowed therein.
Now, from logistics industry perspective, carriers and shippers reserve an inherent advantage of sharing critical info , trade finance creation and in developing other supply chain solutions, just what Maersk and IBM’s TradeLens has shown. So far, it is well-established that 5 out of 6 carriers have embraced this technology most of the ocean container cargo movements rely upon TradeLens.
But, Blockchain stalwarts believe that a few tasks still expected from logistics companies, like they have to handle data in strictly under digital framework followed by standardization. After this, there should be set-up a cross-industry approach whereby industry players ought to involve key supply-chain partners and they should collectively utilize and preserve such approach openly without or with tad restrictions. Expectations are high but with TradeLens as the flag-bearer of this cause, logistics industry will draw a great range of operational benefits out of such technology potential.
Sustenance Enabled By Tech:
The most dominant aspect of modern day industries lies in pure sustainability and logistics is not left untouched. Delivering in final mile-lap, is considered to be a tedious task that consumes time and considerable amount of efforts, but with cutting-edge technology, possibilities galore giving way to unique approaches. Then, to undermine nasty impact from environment, companies are largely seen adapting to operate with technology. For example, electricity-charged vehicles, software (powered by pristine programming) to measure distances and to specify short possible routes, determining easy reach and so much more to expect yet.
Climate pledge, is a vow undertaken by Amazon currently, aimed at achieving goals (or to fall nearby to those at least), as outlined by Paris Agreements, at least a decade earlier. Besides, the company also intends to set bright example before other corporate to align with this effort with a common and humanitarian objective of reducing carbon emissions and to touch net-zero carbon by 2040 alongside the target of encouraging the renewable energy hidden somewhere there.
In such an effort, Amazon has roped in Rivian, which, as a newly launched group, provides electric vehicles and company expects a fleet of around 100,000 units of commercial vehicles to be run on electricity.
To join such noble ranks of encouraging green energy, Deutsche Post, crowned as largest courier delivery group in the world, it has pitched-in $552 million to encourage the light electric vehicles and micro e-mobility’s mass scale manufacturing. For such a purpose, a China based manufacturing group, Chery Holding Group, has been roped in, with the objective of developing around 100,000 scooters every year, certainly, post lockdown.
Finally, whole of shipping sector is replete with such instances where efforts are taken towards promoting green energy. And, aiming the year 2030, ships and marine fuels approved as zero-carbon emissions units, have been encouraged at length.
Vehicles Have Grown Autonomous:
Not surprisingly, such programmed vehicles (trucks, delivery vans and drones) are rightly considered to be the stepping stones in the evolution of Logistics industry, mega revamp is expected in this industry, post lockdown period, but such would still be in limited manner or in trial phase. Still, such is the most talked about aspect of this industry spanning the world.
In such an effort, TuSimple, a group of prominence when one thinks about autonomous driving, has found a huge favour from UPS ventures. Now, they explore the hidden the potential of self-driven trucks which are pressed into service on specific routes in US state of Arizona. Now, they explore the scope to unfold by it to revamp service structure in UPS network.
There are some other companies such as Daimler, Tesla Starsky Robotics, Einride and Embark which endeavour hard to get out of freight trucks completely. Further, and to the extreme amazement of technocrats, autonomous vehicles concept has triggered a widespread interest in other allied companies as well and Fleet maintenance is one such example. Now, Austrian Airlines harp upon drones to carry out regular maintenance and to highlight any major outside damage done to aircrafts. Clearly, by inviting drones for such a purpose , a company can not only slash costs but will also lessen the burden from technicians. Then, for delivering small packages too, drones are being kept in mind and into service while the trend is very likely to pick-up mainstream pace in this year following lockdown, even though pilot projects are being done in many US cities but in limited way. UPS has, in fact, shaken America, for good reasons, by conducting drone-type airline across nation, but still, it is in the pilot mode and many other groups are likely to join-in, wherein Alphabet Wing holds prominence.
Warehouses Are Manned By Perfected Robots:
Not a hidden fact that in recent years, warehouses have seen rapid tech-involvement in its operations and in the operating months ahead post lockdown, such a trend is likely to continue on an even wider scale. In warehouse management, specially programmed robots are put into service and Global Customer Report 2019 simply indicates a mammoth 18% rise every year in the testing of warehouse robotics. In such a race for excellence, Boston Dynamics’s brand in warehouse robot range is, “Handle” takes the lead which is basically developed as autonomous circuitry being, designed with a long distance in reaching out, perfected with high-end visionary sensors. With this, trucks are unloaded, boxes can be carried to and from places within sprawling warehouse while the task of building pallets is also there.
Undoubtedly, from vehicles requiring no human drivers to multipurpose robots to gadgets that are adjusted perfectly under the sleeves, with supreme robotization, speedy movement and efficient handling of goods and other processes is ensured. There are golden examples of companies like GreyOrange and Locus Robotics which have fully handed every inch of their warehouses to autonomous robots, which are seen diligently moving and carrying the goods around. Further, explicit operational accuracy is being secured on the back of machine-learning technologies and through plush sensors resulting in transforming the warehouses into high-tech zones manned by AI (Artificial Intelligence) enabled beings.