As the broader business industry and the logistic business look to 2019, it is probably time to start exploring what this year and the years to come will bring to the logistics industry. We will take a look at some predictions that we believe this industry will experience for the next couple of years.
The industry will experience a shortage of truck drivers, with no solution in sight
Over the past few years, the United States has experienced a shortage of quality truck drivers because of the exploding demand in logistic services and the aging workforce. As of the moment, it appears that this shortage of truck drivers will not end soon.
According to the data released by the World Bank, the United States export and import traffic nearly doubled or even tripled between 2000 and 2015. Between those years, TEU or twenty-foot equivalent unit traffic has increased from 28 million, twenty-foot equivalent units in 2000, to more or less 50 million, twenty-foot equivalent units in 2015 and early 2016.
But despite the considerable increase in demand for truck drivers to transport the exports and imports, the number of experts and qualified workforce is not growing. The number one reason for this shortage in this type of work is the demographics. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics through NPR, the average age of truck drivers in the United States, especially in trucking areas like Tennessee, Oklahoma, Washington, Indiana, or in Texas, is 55.
Without serious change like a widespread deployment of trucks without drivers, the shortage will just continue to grow exponentially. These trucks that do not need drivers to operate will not be operational for a couple of years, mostly because of some legal issues. But the good news is, once the transition happens, these kinds of trucks will minimize the cost and the demand-related shortage of drivers related to logistics.
Blockchain technology and big data will revolutionize the logistics industry
According to the report from United States Bureau, there are more or less 408,000 small-to-medium-sized United States exporters and importers trading all over the world in 2017 alone. At least 90% of these exporters and 97% of the importers are small to medium size businesses.
But despite these statistics, more prominent companies account for more or less two-thirds of all the trading that is happening all over the world, while startup businesses, as well as small to medium enterprises, are responsible for just a third of all the exports and imports that are happening domestically and internationally.
The demand for IT or Information Technology services, especially in the logistics world, appears to have a dramatic increase in the previous years, as more businesses are starting to deploy Information Technology resources in their supply chain or logistics operations.
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The trend will most likely continue in a couple of years as small to medium-sized exporters and importers are trying to even the playing fields against more established companies in attempting to leverage blockchain and vast data technology.
The implementation of the massive data will lead to a more safer supply chains all over the world. Small to medium-sized exporters and importers will gain the most out of these new technologies since they don’t have enough resources to design and make a safe supply chain, but they will be able to rely on cargo companies that provide extensive data capabilities to their clients.
The supply chains will be more reliable, as exporters and importers will have the right capabilities to communicate a lot quicker with international suppliers, as well as automate all the necessary tasks to at least eliminate the use of paper and minimize possible human error. In 2016, a lot of small to medium-sized exporters and importers that are working with transport companies needed to use massive data when shipping their products internationally.
With one push of a button, they can approve all the shipment specifications, check if their cargo is being loaded or unloaded, view the conditions of the cargo, read the internal temperature of the shipping container unit, as well as track all the essential milestones like arrival dates, delivery receipts and customs clearance. The adoption of massive data will have a significant effect and a game-changer in the logistics industry.
Blockchain technology will have a dramatic increase in the transparency for exporters and importers this year and the years to come. It will replace the needed personnel and extra time to record essential transactions and data within the supply chain.
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When shipping internationally, there a lot of parties involved, so, it will be advantageous for shipping companies to minimize all the information disruption, reduce the needed paperwork, as well as maintain all the access to the original information without having to worry about tampering before, during and after the shipment. Not only that, blockchain will eliminate all the intermediaries, as it enables direct communication between all the participants.
All the payments will be a lot safer, and all the cross-border transactions will be a lot easier
In the coming years, a new payment method will be used in the logistics industry, on a broader scale, and it will lead to a more secure transaction internationally, as well as domestically. The international trend of the past decade towards a widespread debit and credit card use, as well as the arrival of cryptocurrency as a better alternative of payment form, will give the logistics industry a big boost.
In 2019, a lot of shipping companies will choose to pay the shipping of their products or goods with the help of major debit or credit cards, as shipping companies and other reputable intermediaries are pressured to offer their clients these types of payment methods. It will help, not only the clients but also the freight companies and the small and medium-size exporters and importers, since they will have more payment flexibility, while businesses will get paid a lot faster.