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Beyond 2022 – What does the future of logistics look like?

The logistics industry is going through a period of rapid change. These changes are the result of several factors, perhaps most importantly a succession of rapid advances in technology and the need to adapt to a number of global challenges.

As the demands on the logistics industry continue to increase, rapid adaptations will be required in order to rise to the demands of the market.

Here, we speak to the Joloda Hydraroll team to take a look at what the future of logistics is likely to involve, exploring issues such as sustainability and the adoption of robotic solutions.

Robotics

One of the most significant factors starting to impact the way the logistics industry operates is robotics. There are multiple areas that robots can assist in the overall logistics process, especially in warehouses, with picking and packing items for transportation.

Robots can handle heavy loads far more safely than humans, and while it’s likely that they’ll start off being used in combination with people (as they already are in a number of scenarios,) eventually, it’s likely that robots will be able to operate alone in a number of environments.

As technologies continue to advance, robots won’t just be heavy-lifting tools. Combined with AI, they’ll be able to calculate how to carry out tasks with maximum efficiency, leading to more efficient warehouses with increasingly rapid pick-and-packing processes.

Sustainability

Increasingly, a focus is being placed on the importance of sustainability. This trend is only set to grow, as governments continue to incentivise through carbon taxes, and consumers use their power to affect change.

Logistics and transportation account for over 5% of global CO2 emissions, showing the potential impact that increases in sustainability in the industry can have.

There are multiple effective solutions being adopted to help rise to this challenge. These include the use of electric vehicles for last-mile stages of the delivery process, bio-LNG fuel use for transport over longer distances, and vehicles which can use compressed natural gas (CNG).

As research continues to bring more solutions to the table and infrastructure catches up with the latest technologies, sustainability will become an achievable target to meet.

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is likely to play an increasingly important role in all aspects of the logistics process. While logistics is often thought of as driving trucks and picking items from warehouses, the unseen part of the process – managing supply chains, achieving optimal efficiency when planning routes and predicting demand – involve sifting through often incredibly complex data.

AI can be instrumental in sifting through this data, spotting patterns and predicting events with increased reliability compared to people.

In the near future, it’s likely that AI will be able to take care of these data-heavy tasks, freeing up the human workforce to take care of the aspects that robots struggle with, such as building client relationships.

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