Those who have experience in the freight and shipping industries have likely seen the sector transform significantly during the past few years. Watching some of the automated processes, people might feel like the future has already arrived. Technological advancements have left no sector untouched. New technology impacts the day to day operations of the freight and shipping industries, including labor and costs. It is important for those in the industry to understand how these changes are going to impact the industry moving forward. Those who are able to adapt to these changing conditions will be in a position to effectively compete in a new landscape.
An Increase in Technology and Automation
One of the biggest impacts that technology is already having in the shipping industry is an increase in automation. Shipping and port industries are working on ways to increase the efficiency of their deliveries not only locally but across the world. More technology is going to be employed at these port terminals in the years to come. The goal is to increase the amount of information technology used to automate more tasks, increasing throughput speeds and improving efficiency.
Right now, containers are stacked on top of each other at various ports. It is time-consuming to access containers that come to rest at the bottom of the pile. New technology is being designed that will place these containers on scaffolds, making them more accessible and easier to retrieve. This serves to increase efficiency and improve throughput.
Changes in Labor Costs
Traditionally, many companies in this industry have set up shop in Asia. In this part of the world, the cost of labor is far lower. As a result, overhead costs are reduced and the container shipping industry has grown by leaps and bounds. Suppliers have had to ship goods over large distances, which is good for the shipping industry.
Advances in technology are impacting labor costs as well. Advances in the fields of robotics mean that companies are able to produce their goods using automation technology. This is going to make the cost of labor a minor issue compared to where it currently stands. This means that trade patterns are going to be altered, which is going to impact the shipping industry.
If less trade is taking place across continents, there is going to be a rise in regional traffic. This means that the industry is not going to focus on trips that span multiple oceans but will instead travel locally. As a result, there is going to be an emphasis placed on vessels that are fast when it comes to loading and unloading. This will shift the emphasis away from trips that span thousands of miles.
Looking to the Future
These are only a few of the many ways that technology is going to impact the shipping industry in the future. It will be important for freight and shipping companies to plan for these changes so that they can be positioned well moving forward.