Emerging trends in sustainability in the logistics sector

As freight flights were stranded around the world due to the pandemic, spikes in demand for shipping services quickly escalated. Yet a third of the world’s shipping containers are empty in transit, and one in five trucks in the European Union travels without cargo. For people who ensure goods are distributed worldwide, it has been shown that a new era of technical innovation and optimization is needed to keep pace with modern times.

Digital transformations have advanced industry-wide, opening up a whole new range of ways businesses can make logistics more efficient and sustainable.

The adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the fastest growing sustainability trends in transportation logistics. Currently, only 12% of logistics companies use AI in their operations, but it is expected to reach 60% by 2025. Digital transformation in any industry helps spot potential new efficiencies, and for shipping , it also opens the door to great ecological savings. . Let’s take a look at the top three predictable technology solutions in shipping that will help shape business models towards a more sustainable future.

Demand forecasting with AI predictive analytics

Balancing network capacity management is tricky because every shipment is not a linear equation. Often there are intermediate stops that were not originally planned, and the calculation of these potential points with all other data (e.g. weight of shipment, number of containers, distance of shipment, etc.) makes it almost impossible for a human to calculate in advance. By applying data assessments that feed predictive analytics, AI can create insights to help shipping lines anticipate changes in their transportation ahead of the demand curve.

Many companies have state-of-the-art custom AI platforms developed exclusively for logistics. Our company, Transmetrics, optimizes transportation planning by leveraging the power of machine learning and predictive analytics. By combining the strengths of humans and AI, these customized platforms can ensure the highest operational benefits and reduce the environmental impact of logistics.

This enables consolidated improvements across multiple sites: fine-tuning shipment volumes and capacity utilization, optimizing vehicle routing, and reducing the number of empty runs, reducing overall resource inefficiency, including CO2. A McKinsey report predicts that AI will create a whole new “logistics paradigm” by 2030, as it continues to outperform humans in repetitive but mission-critical tasks.

IoT applied to vehicle tracking

The Internet of Things (IoT) in logistics and shipping is powered by telematics, which is a method of monitoring an asset (car, truck, heavy equipment, etc.) with GPS and using on-board diagnostics to record activity in real time. Telematics combined with IoT can provide fleet operators with remote monitoring capabilities. There are different types of IoT sensors capable of performing a multitude of tasks, allowing fleet data to be accurately derived and shared in real time.

With the ability to measure the weight of the load, identify the exact vehicle speed, calculate the MPG, track the delivery process, and even help eliminate road accidents, these IoT sensors can help shipping companies to make more effective decisions in the heat of the moment. the moment. Having accurate and up-to-date information about your fleet keeps you in control of inefficient driving behaviors that waste fuel and produce unnecessary CO2 emissions.

Planning of network investments

According to the International Transport Forum report, carbon dioxide emissions from freight transport account for 30% of all transport-related carbon emissions from fuel combustion and account for over 7% of total global emissions.

With a custom designed AI algorithm implemented in link planning, network investment planning helps improve multiple facets. With the ability to forecast future volumes and improve capacity utilization, your business can create a level of knowledge that can be shared across departments for better optimization. With a solid and factual plan for the overall operations of your fleet, you can dramatically improve your planning efficiency and in turn dramatically reduce CO2 emissions.

Since the start of the pandemic, carbon dioxide emissions have decreased by 7% globally, equivalent to 2.6 billion metric tons of CO2. Now that vaccines are being administered and people are starting to reenter society and revise their old ways, industries must be mindful of their choices to ensure the longevity of sustainable practices. By investing in these aforementioned rising technologies, shipping companies can improve the logistics business model.


Author: Marc Meyer – Chief Commercial Officer at Transmetrics

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