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Looking Back: A Recap of Logistics in 2018

2018 is coming to the end, and we are taking the time to look back on the most relevant news and notable events that took place throughout the year. 2018 was a busy year and has shaped the logistics and supply chain industry in many ways.

Technology

This year has proved that AI, IoT, blockchain and digitalization will only keep expanding and changing the way logistics is done. One of the most interesting topics in supply chain management was the blockchain, causing numerous discussions on its impact on industry. In fact, since the big players have switched to blockchain-enabled supply chain management, it is safe to say blockchain will stay here for a long, long time. The primary consolidation of logistics companies that utilize the blockchain is centered in the Blockchain in Transport Alliance. The organization was started in August 2017 and quickly became the main conglomerate of progressive logistics and supply chain companies. Such industry giants like UPS, Penske, FedEx, Uber Freight and Evans are already the members of the tech community.

The same is going on with AI and the Internet of Things, and this means that technology is not the future – it is the present. Industry players like DHL actively develop and implement AI innovations into their company’s performance, from mobile apps to tracking technologies that collect and analyze data.

Ultimately, 2018 has proved that digitalization is not a replacement of humans by robots and technology, but rather a big step towards progress and increase of supply chain efficiency.

Driver Shortage and Capacity

The issues of the tight truck capacity and driver shortage have been on everyone’s mind for a long time. In 2018, economic growth and intense developments in the retail industry have put even more pressure on logistics managers. However, the dilemma is slowly unraveling itself. According to the data by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the gross of domestic product rate increased by 2.2% in the first quarter of 2018 and added in 4.2% in the second quarter. The high pressure and driver shortage caused carriers to revise drivers’ salary, and it resulted in remarkable growth. According to the American Trucking Association, the average salary for the truck driver has risen to $53,000, which is $7,000 (15%) more from the last survey in 2013. As for private fleet truckers, the pay rise reached 18%. In a nutshell, 2018 has shown that modern logistics solutions are able to deal with global problems in the industry.

ELD Mandate

In April, the grace period for carriers to switch to electronic logging devices (ELDs) has ended. As 2018 is coming to the end, we can finally make some conclusions about how the new rule influenced the trucking industry. The new technology definitely created more sustainability and visibility into data, but caused many problems among the trucking community. A survey by Cortex stated that 33% of carriers admitted difficulties with retaining drivers due to the strict hours of service policy. Nevertheless, experts believe the innovation is going to strengthen the usage of data and optimize the industry in general.

 

 

Autonomous vehicles

The talk of autonomous vehicles was very prominent in 2018. At the very start of 2018, the US Department of Transportation formed a policy to remove barriers of autonomous vehicles deployment. Now it’s safe to say one thing: autonomous vehicles will keep rolling into the industry, but they certainly won’t replace truck drivers. Self-driven trucks would rather be the start of the new age of logistics, and will organically fit and improve the existing trucking environment.

Important Events

2018 was full of many significant events. Let’s go back to our previous monthly report blogs and outtake the most important events from the logistics industry that occurred the latest year:

  • The United States and Mexico reached an agreement on key NAFTA issues including auto rules and access to the Mexican energy sector
  • Ocean shipping giants, A.P. Moller Maersk, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd, MSC and Ocean Network Express (ONE), confirmed their plan to set a global association
  • Rolls Royce collaborated with Intel for a self-driven vessels project
  • Uber announced “Powerloop” and plans on drone delivery

To sum it up, 2018 was a big year for the logistics industry, holding victories, losses, and lots of transformation. Logistics and supply chain management will continue to develop throughout 2019 to change the industry.