Despite the pandemic, labour shortages, lack of transport and warehouse capacity, uncertainty in supply chains, rising prices, inflation, trade wars and armed conflict between states, the transport and logistics sector in many countries is experiencing growth, primarily thanks to the digital transformation. Logistics and transport service providers believe that this trend will continue, with the aim of meeting the growing needs and expectations of consumers
THE ELECTRIC GOODS VEHICLE MARKET HAS TRIPLED
Data from IHS Markit for Europe excluding the UK shows that 346 new electric delivery vehicles with a load of more than 16 tonnes were registered in 2021. Although this number sounds small for the whole of Europe, the growth rate of 193% compared to the previous year is incredible. Volvo, just one electric truck manufacturer, received orders and letters of intent in 2021 for the purchase of more than 1,100 trucks from 20 countries around the world. Manufacturers of these vehicles believe that offering zero-emission electric transport is becoming a key competitive advantage.
Most electric trucks in Europe have been sold in the richest countries, including Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany.
WAREHOUSE CHARGING POINTS ARE THE FUTURE OF BUSINESS
So far, parcel-delivery vans have made up most of the growth in the commercial electric-vehicle fleet. But large-scale are developing the technology for heavy-duty goods vehicles, adding pressure to develop the charging infrastructure. Companies planning to electrify their delivery operations are looking to turn their warehouses into hubs for charging their growing fleets of electric trucks and vans. Industrial real-estate developers say they have been receiving more requests to install charging stations at distribution centres, a sign that logistics companies are preparing for a shift in the power behind transport amid elevated fuel prices and a drive to rein in carbon emissions.
Installing chargers at warehouses, however, carries new costs and complications for distribution operations. Warehouses typically have no fuelling stations on site because drivers can generally fill up on diesel at the wide network of filling stations across the country. Adding charging capabilities means ensuring there is enough power and space available for trucks and vans to charge up without impeding freight-handling operations.
TOP 5 TRENDS SHAPING THE LOGISTICS AND TRANSPORT INDUSTRY
Organisations in the logistics and transport industry will have to embrace cutting-age technologies to design and sustain supply chain solutions of tomorrow. Here are five trends that will shape the future of the logistics and transport industry.
1. Robotic Process Automation
Robotic process automation will help eliminate manual tasks, boost order management, improve after-sales service and alleviate labour shortages, while enriching customer experience and enabling business agility.
2. Artificial Intelligence
AI-powered systems will not only help organisations optimise daily operations, they can also help in predictive and preventive maintenance, improve procurement and planning, optimise fuel consumption and pave the way for substantial inventory optimisation.
Drones Enabling delivery through drones will become a popular choice to improve the efficiency of last mile delivery while reducing costs. With enterprises like FedEx, Amazon, and DHL already using drones for delivery, we will soon see many more companies join the bandwagon to improve the speed and efficiency of delivery.
4. Autonomous Vehicles
Self-driving, autonomous vehicles that can operate without human presence will help the sector navigate traffic congestion, improve driver safety, lessen carbon emissions and curtail the overall cost of transport. They will also help reduce the rate and impact of accidents, while detecting obstacles, monitoring engine conditions, and recommending best routes for rapid delivery of goods between warehouses and to customers.
5. IoT-led Sustainability
IoT-led innovation will allow organisations to unlock new value while giving them greater control over their supply chains. They will eliminate waste to optimise energy efficiency, decision-making, the customer experience and the supply chain.
REAL ESTATE MARKET FOR LOGISTICS SET TO GROW
According to a new report by Buck Consultants International, the European logistics market is set for another year of growth, as companies ramp up capacity to meet booming e-commerce delivery demand and nearshoring activities in order to navigate mounting supply chain challenges.
Covid-19 has not affected logistics real estate take-up volumes across Europe. The fast growth of e-commerce and the build-up of inventory to cope with supply chain disruptions favour the growth of warehousing.
Accommodating the growing demand for logistics services will, however, bring challenges. These include the complex journey of digitalising operations and the lack of warehouse personnel.
The lack of personnel is becoming an important hurdle for further growth of the logistics sector and related logistics real estate. In many hotspot logistics regions demand for labour is higher than supply. There are three solutions to this: ensuring employers remain attractive for their staff, looking for migrant workers and accelerating automation and the use of robots.
SEEKING SOLUTIONS FOR THE DRIVER SHORTAGE
Germany’s Federal Association for Road Transport, Logistics and Waste Disposal (BGL) has put forward another proposal to solve the country’s acute driver shortage: anyone with a drivers’ license should be allowed to drive vehicles up to 12 tonnes.
Germany currently lacks 80,000-100,000 truck drivers, mainly due to poor wages, poor working conditions, separation from family, traffic jams, tight delivery deadlines, stress… The situation is likely to become even worse in the coming period, as more people leave the profession than take it up. If nothing new is done in the meantime, the shortfall could reach 230,000 in ten years.
Professional drivers’ associations and transport managers think that the problem could be solved by allowing anyone with a driver’s license to drive trucks of up to 7.5 or even 10 or 12 tonnes. They also think that simplifying the procedure for extending the HGV license for drivers over 50 years of age would be helpful.
NEW LOGISTICS SERVICES FOR STRONGER SUPPLY CHAINS
In the challenges faced by its logistics sector, Serbia is similar to the rest of the world and even the most developed Western countries. The pandemic, labour shortages, lack of transport and warehouse capacity, rising prices, inflation, trade wars, armed conflict between states and uncertain supply chains are just some of the problems we are facing. Fortunately, however, the logistics sector has plenty of room for business improvement, reducing costs and making savings.
Experts agree that the solution to many of the challenges can be sought in the introduction of new logistics services, solutions and technologies, in digitalisation and automation of business, in innovations in the environmental, energy and security fields, and in the application of the most modern tools, algorithms, advanced analytics and artificial intelligence, because good logistics and well-developed supply chains are crucial to the successful operation of the economy and the functioning of society.