Freight Insights General Logistics and Supply Chain Technology Series

Ready For The Future Of Freight?

Want to know the future?

In 2012, The Economist assessed the impact that technology developments will have had on business by 2020, surveying and interviewing global technology and business leaders. At the time, the predictions seemed unreal. But 2016 marks the halfway point and it seems that the predictions were on the mark. These particular conclusions (slightly paraphrased here) should sound familiar to business leaders in the logistics industry:

Few industries will remain untouched by disruption. Businesses that will thrive will be those ready to change their business processes.
Firms will find it increasingly hard to mask poor service, high pricing or unpopular practices, as technology increases customer visibility.
For those who can master it, “big data” will become a business of its own.

But What About The Future of Freight?

Last year, we wrote about how 2016 is the year the freight industry goes online.

But change won’t wait for existing logistics leaders to change practices. For instance, Amazon’s recent movements make it clear that Bezos may blow open the logistics space with a whole new value proposition. And every day, new startups emerge to change logistics.

So we asked 92 freight industry leaders – VPs, CEOs and directors from the largest freight companies – for insights into their current challenges and how they’re preparing for the future.

It turns out the preconception of freight being old-fashioned is changing. Fast.

Brave New Freight World

Freight’s core business is facing eroding margins.

Over 50% of logistics professionals agree that ocean freight is unprofitable or just breaking even. And about 40% say the same for air freight. Tenders are shorter, spot quotes are on the rise, customers are more demanding and online sales competition from carriers is squeezing forwarders.

But logistics technology is where it got interesting.

Step into any logistics conference and you’ll probably hear that drones, 3D printing and wearables are the future (and we’ve talked about this before). But ask industry leaders which technologies will actually have a profound impact on the industry and the answer changes. Since images speak louder than words…

Survey on the future of freight and logistics - technology as the key method

Logistics leaders are optimistic about the future. And technology is one of the core reasons why. When asked about how they are survive and thrive by 2020, a full 86% of senior logistics professionals see technology as the number one way to deal with margin erosion.

This is only the tip of the iceberg of what we learned from the survey. The Future of Freight research report will be released soon. Lock in an early copy by requesting access below.

Journalist or analyst? Request your advance copy here.