I don’t have any New Year’s Resolutions.
The reason? Well, it’s not because of any level of cynicism, or a lack of motivation, or indeed any lack of imagination. Neither were these the reasons for my friends, colleagues and relatives who’ve similarly neglected their annual ‘do better’ list.
It seems that many people who haven’t charged into the New Year wearing their list of good intentions like a sash have the same reasoning. By the time we have crammed a month’s worth of work into just over two weeks before Christmas, drunk our own weight in mulled wine (responsibly), eaten enough cheese to put a brown bear through a hard winter, and travelled up and down the country to see family, we are just exhausted. I certainly wasn’t thinking about change, or improvement, or how to create the perfect capsule wardrobe. I was content, desperately tired, and – to be brutally honest – I was also already keeping one eye trained on the news in preparation for heading back to work.
Logistics don’t stop trucking. Not even for Santa. When it comes to fast-paced news, everybody waits like a pack of rabid dogs for any hint of news on the upcoming March Brexit deadline, services breakdown or political comment. By the time the New Year rolled around, I was shattered by the constant state of hyper-vigilance. It certainly didn’t help that there was – I hate to say it – such a swathe of negativity: some headlines from one 24 hour period included ‘More ferries are not a Brexit silver bullet’, ‘Short-sighted vision threatens UK economic growth’, ‘Picture of autonomous trucking “too rosy”’, and ‘UK preps emergency supply chain as Brexit nears cliff-edge scenario’.*
So, instead of a list of 10 resolutions, here’s my list of the Top 10 Freight Industry Winswe can expect this year.
- Time to ‘Go Big’ – Monumental Sector Growth
These are incredible times for those working in e-commerce, industrial technologies and the consumer goods sector. Economic performance in these areas is expected to excel, and predictions suggest it will keep on growing into 2019, despite the trade wars which dominated 2018 headlines.
- Going Green – Electric Trucks
…particularly when it comes to Last-Mile logistics, as I wrote for FORWARDER magazine towards the end of last year on my return from Freight in the City. Carriers are investing more widely in green technology, according to the latest market reports, including a year-on-year increase of more than 100,000 units of Class 8 trucks. Good start for those 2020 emissions tariffs which all seem to be ticking down to zero this year.
- Closing the Distance – Freight Miles are Dropping
By an average of 300 miles per load since 2005, to be exact. Less pollution, more streamlined services and increased efficiency. Result.
- Matchmaking – Artificial Intelligence and Logistics
AI and logistics go together like long-haul road trips and true crime podcasts. According to research conducted by Forbes Insights in association with Penske, 65% of senior transportation-focused executives believe that logistics, supply chain and transportation processes are in an era of profound change. Predictive and preventative analytics are the key to unlocking full efficiency, and changing models of working toward a proactive model.
- Building Blocks of Security – Blockchain
Buzzword, be gone! We are finally seeing some traction when it comes to blockchain creating tangible . Not got the budget for a blockchain project? No fear! You can read more about how even the smallest companies can begin securing the supply chain, here.
- Driving Innovation – New Technology, New Invention, New Opportunities
Road-repairing robots, Level 5 self-driving vehicles – fully autonomous, to you and me – and package delivery drones. Technology is evolving at an incredible pace. Expect to see this list grow after the world’s largest electronics show, CES, culminates later this week.
- Stronger Together – Diversity is Increasing
More women are working in logistics, studying logistics, and have sector-specific qualifications than ever before. Along with this, cultural diversity, educational diversity and disability representation are also on the rise – although not as significantly. 2019 should be the year to push even harder.
- Getting Seabourne – Ramsgate Port Reopening
Drudging has begun in the harbour waters of Ramsgate, Kent, paid for by Seaborne Freight: the company awarded a £13.8 million contract by the government to operate a freight transport service from the UK harbour to Ostend, Belgium. The plan will be to divert over 3000 lorries away from Dover each day to the port, which will also handle an estimated 24 vessels daily. After the port had been all but abandoned, this should be a great boost to the local economy.
- Industry Keeps on Trucking – Surge in Hiring and Employment
Increased wages for truck drivers, enhanced apprentice schemes, and better staff training means that the shortage of drivers is decreasing. Of course, there’s still a long way to go, but with warehousing and storage companies also adding an estimated 52,000 jobs in the US over 2018, and couriers up by almost 65,000, it’s all a step in the right direction.
- Flying High– Air Freight Accelerates
Global air freight volumes increased 9.1% in 2017, and Boeing have projected that the rise in international e-commerce will increase the number of freighter aircraft in our skies by almost 2500 in the next 20 years. Those with the upper hand in this expanding space are those airports – present or prospective – close to population hubs, and consequently a predictable, sustainable supply of labour, or those looking to take advantage of barren land within easy commuting distance from airports, to build logistics and storage hubs.
I feel better already.
It’s not that I’m intending to bury my head in the sand any time soon when it comes to a little bit of bad news – my job doesn’t allow for that – but it’s heartening to reflect on some of this core industry’s successes of 2018, as we lead the charge into a new year.
Anything I’ve missed? How are you keeping morale high in your business? Let me know in the comments.
Sarah is the Senior Editor of FORWARDER magazine, bringing you the latest news from the logistics & freight supply chain. We are the most representative voice of the industry, delivering a balance of corporate vs. the insider’s viewpoint on topical issues.
She was previously Staff Writer & Sub-Editor for Crunchwear, a consumer tech magazine, and remains a dedicated Tech Geek. Her personal interests are Future Mobility, Smart Cities and IoT, but in this role she most enjoys talking to people who’ve been working in the trade all of their lives.
*Headlines amended to redact company names.
Sarah O’Connell Senior Editor
*Headlines amended to redact company names.