The logistics industry in the United States is one of the most critical and significant industries. The industry employs millions of people and is responsible for moving billions of dollars worth of goods every year. Many different companies and organizations make up the logistics industry, and each one plays a vital role in getting goods to their destination.
Despite being such a vital part of the US economy, the logistics industry has faced some challenges.
There has been a decline in global trade, which has impacted companies that rely on exports to make money. This is primarily because of the pandemic and the recent Suez Canal incident.
The industry has also been hit hard by the recession, as consumers have cut back on spending. Finally, the rise of online shopping has led to a decline in brick-and-mortar stores, negatively impacting transportation and warehousing companies. However, the logistics industry and its various sub-sectors are adopting technology.
The recent blockage of the Suez Canal has cost the world $9 billion in trade, and this is partly because of the faults of the Ever Given ship. It was a massive container ship that was too wide to fit through the canal, so it had to be re-routed and causing a weeks-long backlog.
The industry shuns mega-ships like the Ever Given because of the incident. The reason is that more and more, mega-ships are proving to be an unreliable and less efficient way to transport goods. They’re also becoming a bigger target for pirates, as seen by the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama in 2009.
Right now, the industry is adopting smaller barges. A bunker barge is much easier to protect, and it’s also less likely to cause the same problem as the Ever Given. These barges can also navigate the smaller canals and rivers in Europe, which is essential because many goods are transported through those waterways.
Technology in Warehouses
The logistics industry is also starting to adopt new technologies, like robotics and artificial intelligence, in its warehouses.
One company that is doing this is Amazon. It has been using robots in its warehouses for a few years now. It has around 200,000 robots managing and moving products within its warehouse, increasing overall efficiency.
These robots can move around the warehouse autonomously and pick up items from where they are stored. They then bring the items to workers who pack them into boxes for shipping.
Amazon is not the only company that is using robots in its warehouses. For example, Walmart uses robots to scan items and track inventory.
Robots are becoming more and more common in warehouses because they can do the job faster and more accurately than humans. They can also work for longer hours, which is vital given the increasing demand for online shopping. However, robots aren’t only working in warehouses. They are also dealing with last-leg deliveries.
Robots for Last-leg Deliveries
Last-leg deliveries are a significant part of the consumer logistics industry. These are the deliveries made to a customer’s doorstep, and they account for around 60% of all package deliveries.
This is a difficult and expensive process, as it requires someone to be available to receive the package and bring it inside. That’s why companies like Amazon, UPS, and FedEx are starting to use robots for these deliveries.
The robots are able to navigate streets and sidewalks on their own, avoiding obstacles along the way. They then ring the customer’s doorbell or knock on the door, and once the customer has accepted the delivery, they bring it inside.
This is a more efficient and cost-effective way to make last-leg deliveries, as it can be done even during the night.
However, there are some drawbacks to using robots for last-leg deliveries. For one, the customer needs to have a Wi-Fi connection for the robot to communicate with them. Secondly, the customer needs to have a gate or door that the robot can open.
Despite these drawbacks, it is clear that robots will play a significant role in the consumer logistics industry in the future. They can improve efficiency and reduce costs, which is why they are becoming more and more common in warehouses and last-leg deliveries.
When it comes to trucking, better AI can make a huge difference. Right now, AI is still in its early stages, but it has the potential to make trucks smarter and safer.
One company that is doing this is Volvo. It has been working on a project called Vera, which is an AI-based system that helps truck drivers avoid accidents. Vera does this by monitoring the driver’s behavior and providing real-time feedback.
Volvo has also been working on a project called IntelliSafe Autopilot. This is a system that allows trucks to drive autonomously on highways. The truck can do things like change lanes and merge with traffic.
Both of these projects are still in development, but they show the potential of AI when it comes to trucking. With better AI, trucks can become smarter and safer, which will make them a more viable option for companies.
The logistics industry is changing rapidly, and it’s adapting to new technologies and challenges. It will be interesting to see how the industry evolves in the years to come.