Ever since their inception logistics and shipping companies have been extremely hesitant in adopting new technologies and jumping in the hi-tech bandwagon. But all that is now changing for the better. In fact, we predict the near future of shipping to be a complete makeover involving 3D printing, self-driven cars and such.
The most promising disruptive technology is the Hyperloop, which uses vacuum tubes to push capsules of cargo or passengers between locations at very high speeds. We’re talking about speeds exceeding 550 mph which can reduce travel speeds by a huge margin. Elon Musk’s Tesla is at the helm of the Hyperloop technology and is looking into it very seriously. Hyperloop can transport shipping containers, simultaneously avoiding overbooked ships, closed ports, and bad weather. Very importantly, Hyperloop is built isolated from traffic. So there is very little chance of traffic related accidents. What’s more? It also takes several freight carrying vehicles off our roads, hence easing traffic congestion. Imagine our roads free of 18 wheeled container vehicles!
Amazon has successfully tested drones for delivery. If this picks up momentum, last mile deliveries could be handled by drones. Experts predict that drone deliveries could become mainstream in less than five years. Of course, it is still bound to be restricted to a few top players in the industry because of the costs involved. Drones can deliver products to customers from warehouses and eliminate possibilities of human error. They reduce road traffic and delivery time. In case of medical emergencies or urgent shipping needs, drones sound like the go to option.
Additive technology involves a printer and reading a digital blueprint while methodically dropping building material according to a set of instructions and creating a final product that’s built up tiny layer by tiny layer. This can reduce pollution and production waste. You can print on demand and thereby eliminate the need to have the finished product stacked on shelves in warehouses, waiting for an order. You can afford to make the product whenever you need it. The supply chain comes down to its simplest parts, adding new efficiencies to the system. Business predictions on supply and demand can be mapped accurately and this technology can actually take us to near zero wastage. Warehouses with excess inventory will become a thing of the past.
It’s no news that players in the industry are testing driverless cars. If driverless cars are going to be a viable option, it can pave the way to easier deliveries and much less human error. Time and effort would reduce considerably. But this technology is nascent at best and we’ll have to wait and watch to see how it progresses.