As technology changes, the world is changing with it. Today, it is rapidly evolving many different industries. In this post, we look at the innovations tech bring to future shipping solutions.
Ships without Sailors
According to Bloomberg Business, freight transported by ships accounts for 90% of the world’s trade movement. Many products need to go overseas to get to the consumer. With e-commerce on the rise, consumers can order goods from anywhere. As regulations for sustainability increase, companies continue to do research on how they can lessen their carbon footprints. For example, some companies are looking into battery powered ships, so they no longer need gas.
The future for moving cargo is taking a step towards autonomy. Companies are developing real-time control centers that can manage the crew aboard the ship. Having a control center also increases the safety of the crew by having someone who can alert any issues they might be having. As this technology evolves, the ability to control a ship from the position of an overseer will improve. As a result, this will decrease the number crew members and reduce labor costs.
But is bigger always better? In this case, maybe not. Bigger boats can carry more cargo, but take much longer than smaller boats to make it to their ports. Depending on the size of the port, big ships may not fill to their capacity if the port cannot support their size. As a result, we may see a shift towards smaller and faster boats to meet consumer demand.
Forbes predicts that trains will become the most important logistics system in the 21st century. The US Department of Transportation (DOT) estimates the increase of investment in trains will be 88% by 2035. Trains are making a big comeback in North America, as they boost the efficiency of both transportation and freight. Trains will help meet rising demand for quick deliveries by being much faster than trucks.
China completed the longest railway in the world in 2015. This feat spans a total of over 8,000 miles from Yiwu, China to Madrid, Spain. The train stops in Russia, Germany, Poland, and more. Plus, it takes about 10 less days than it would to ship overseas to Madrid. By using trains for shipping long distances, this also will reduce trucks on the road. As a result, congestion will also decrease.
Trains not only have a positive impact on delivery efficiency, but also help reduce carbon footprints. With the rising demand for sustainability, trains are becoming the better option. They are better suited to meet the standards set by governments. With a greater focus on a dedicated freighting system, fewer other methods are required. This will help to reduce overall pollution.
Driving Hands Free
Much like cargo ships, the future of trucks is moving towards autonomy. Some experts are skeptical of the safety of self-driving vehicles, and question if we will ever come to a point where they will be completely autonomous. Some believe for safety reasons we will always need someone there to take control of the wheel. This is a huge factor impacting the development of these vehicles. Can we trust that self-driving vehicles will operate effectively all of the time? If vehicles can’t react properly, that could put others in danger.
As this technology evolves, we might first see the driver using features like automatic control to aid them in doing their job. Perhaps someday drivers will be removed from trucks and being placed into a control room, where they can manage vehicles from a centralized location.
If you are buying a product online, you are most likely getting it delivered to your door. With the popularity of online shopping continuing to grow, the demand for reliable and fast postal services grows with it. Buying products online is simple and can even be done with the click of a button. The only downside is the wait time from purchase to delivery.
What’s one step further than same day delivery? 30 minute delivery. Amazon has been working to do this with the unmanned drones to perform small order deliveries. It is not clear how efficient this service will be, or the safety of the drones taking flight. Moreover, we don’t know if the general public will approve of drones flying through their neighborhoods.
Amazon aren’t the only ones making progress. Ride-sharing company Uber could be a strong rival for Amazon in the near future. Uber is currently operating in 59 countries around the globe. Founded in 2009, Uber has been seeing exponential growth ever since. Uber has implied that they will begin offering door-to-door delivery services, using Uber drivers to make on-demand deliveries.
Clearly, the advancements pushing shipping forward are immense. It’s a bright future and technology is at the head of it. Whether it is new machines to deliver products or expanding on what already exists, the future of shipping holds exciting possibilities.