Are Innovations in Freight Forwarding Reshaping the Transportation Industry?

Will Advancements in Freight Forwarding Streamline the Future of Business?

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Import and export are the heart of world trade. Freight forwarding, whether national or international, plays an important role in the transportation industry.

Transferring goods from one location to another can be time-consuming and costly. The process might be complex and challenging, but if approached appropriately, it can happen effortlessly and leave lasting effects on the overall business.

Many businesses use third-party logistics companies to do the heavy lifting. This is where freight forwarding comes into the picture.

Let’s explore freight forwarding and innovations in the technology that are making it popular in the transport industry.

Freight Forwarding: What Exactly is it?

Freight forwarding is the coordination and transportation of commodities from one location to another using single or multiple carriers.

The Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA) was established in 1948 to recognize the importance of freight forwarding in global trade. CIFFA acknowledged that product forwarding, whether by road, sea, rail, or air, required coordination, regulation, and agreed-upon best practices to assure that commodities flow across borders, overseas, and across the world in a timely and seamless manner.

Freight forwarding principles are based on the efficient and cost-effective movement of commodities that are well-maintained throughout their journey. To do so, freight forwarders become specialists in handling the logistics required to ensure on-time delivery.

Having the correct instruments at your disposal is essential for successful trade and transportation in international marketplaces. Freight forwarders handle the risks and rewards of transportation both nationally and globally by negotiating tariffs and customs rules and being fluent in the needs of shipping by land, sea, rail, and air.

6 Major Innovative Advancements that Are Making Freight Forwarding Popular

Recent advancements in freight forwarding are reshaping the transportation industry. Here are the major innovations that have increased the demand for freight forwarding across all routes:

●      Advanced GPS for High Accuracy

There was a time when you could print out directions from your computer before beginning your shipping journey. However, with the rise of technology and advancements, practically everyone uses GPS now, whether built into their automobiles or on their smartphones.

The accuracy of these gadgets has rapidly advanced because they are not only helping drivers navigate but are also enhancing the logistics supply chain. GPS precision and accuracy promote productivity and customer satisfaction by allowing them to track truck whereabouts and improve hauls by getting updated traffic data.

●      Smart Ships

Why should ships lag behind in a world where we have smart electronics like smartphones, smart homes, and even smart cities? Ships will soon develop smarter and more automated.

By boosting production, efficiency, and cargo capacity, automated ships will bring technical value to the logistics and transportation industries. These ships will revolutionize the maritime sector since they can be managed remotely, and the concern of crew members being lost at sea will be eliminated.

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and the Flemish government of Dutch are working together to facilitate cross-border experiments of smart shipping on Dutch inland waterways and territorial waters. These smart ships employed in shipping can make the maritime industry more competitive and, therefore, more appealing.

●      Augmented Reality (AR)

AR is a digital technology that allows individuals to improve their physical-world environment with computer-generated information such as images, text, and sounds.

Warehouse picking is one of the most manual and time-consuming activities in the logistics supply chain, but AR technology is making a significant impact in warehouses.

AR businesses have created software for smartphones such as smart glasses that assist warehouse workers in finding the correct packages during loading, informing workers of wrongly placed parcels based on size, weight, or destination, counting stock, and learning specialized duties.

●      Carbon-neutral Container Ships

Currently, bunker fuel, a byproduct of oil processing, is used in most commercial vessels. Carriers have been building new ships that use clean fuel in order to reduce the high CO2 emissions produced by bunker fuel.

To that effect, shipping company Maersk has announced the construction of a carbon-neutral vessel. The vessel will run on carbon-neutral e-methanol.

The use of carbon-neutral vessels will significantly reduce carbon emissions in the logistics industry while also making shipping greener.

●      RFID Technology in Tracking Goods

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology has been in use for several years and is a popular labor-saving approach since it allows businesses to track their inventory. While similar to barcodes, RFID tags involve a comparatively faster transfer of signals or delivery information.

In order to leverage the full potential of this technology, manufacturers are expanding its scope of application to cover more grounds. For instance, recently, ultra-high frequency (UHF) RFID has been making ripples as it helps carry out readings with portable hand-held readers over greater distances than previous equipment.

●      Warehouse Robotics

Warehouse robotics refers to an automated robotic system that moves materials and optimizes warehouse activities. There are numerous types of robots, such as AGVs that carry materials within warehouses, AS/RS that autonomously manage inventory and store or retrieve things on demand, and Cobots that collaborate with people to automate repetitive activities such as inspection or picking.

These warehouse robot advancements are taking over more and more duties from humans, reducing warehousing costs and resulting in lower consumer costs.

Warehouse robotics is also improving warehouse labor conditions: they minimize physical strain on workers, making warehouses safer and more sustainable.

Likewise, MAX AGVs are a type of AGV designed to suit business needs with a standalone Windows Management System, which allows clients to edit the embedded AGV System.

As robotics plays an essential role in freight forwarding and warehouse processes, leading players such as Kiva Systems (Amazon Robotics) have taken the initiative to serve as feeders for Mass Robotics‘ and many successful robotics start-up companies in the greater Boston area and, of course, globally.

With warehouse robotics getting more advanced, it won’t be long before robots undertake the majority of warehouse jobs.

Step Into the Future of Freight Forwarding

The future of freight forwarding is increasingly becoming more digital and automated. Many companies in the industry are moving towards automation and utilizing software and technologies to streamline processes and increase efficiency.

Additionally, the global freight forwarding market size is expected to continue growing in the coming years. However, there are concerns about the proper delivery of goods. To overcome this challenge, companies such as Flexport, Zipline, Controlant, and Saltbox are turning to reliable technologies.

Even though the use of freight forwarding in the supply chain industry is not free from roadblocks, companies and professionals in the field are emphasizing technological developments and staying afoot with market trends to keep up with the changing landscape.

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