What does 2019 hold in store for the freight transport and logistics sector? With many political uncertainties that will surely have an effect, such as the United States’ increasing protectionism or the unknown posed by Brexit, what we do know is that logistics are currently undergoing a profound process of transformation. This trend will continue in 2019 or may even reach a climax. Here are a few predictions.
Trade agreements with Trump’s America
While the giants China and the United States turn their backs on one another, 2019 will bear witness to two important trade agreements that will have a positive impact on international freight transport.
We are talking about the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), whose eleven members (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam) account for 13% of the world’s GDP. This agreement removes duties on nearly 95% of goods traded between the member countries.
On the other hand, the JEFTA has just come in force, an agreement between the EU and Japan, liberalising 90% of exchanges between both trade powers. This agreement covers a market with over 600 million people, whose economies account for almost one-third of the world’s GDP.
Big Data and Blockchain: the digital revolution in logistics
The technological revolution in the sector will reach one of its high points in 2019: implementation, and not just in large companies. The demand for information technology solutions in the logistical sector has grown a great deal over the past few years. Now is the time for small and medium-sized importers and exporters to use these resources in their operations to level the playing field, taking advantage of the capacities offered by Big Data and blockchain technology.
For the logistics sector, implementing Big Data entails more secure supply chains. This is especially important for small importers and exporters who, while they have no resources, can have transport companies that offer Big Data to their clients. Thus, they will have faster, more transparent and more personalised access to information on their shipments. They can adjust parameters such as the status or freight temperature and times, as well as streamline customs procedures, contracts and receipts. This Big Data also increases and improves automation, reducing human error.
Regarding blockchain technology, it can increase transparency throughout all logistical processes, guaranteeing data integrity and preserving privacy. Consequently, this saves on time, paperwork and middlemen, especially when addressing the complexity of international freight transport.
More secure payments and fewer barriers
New payment technology is coming to logistics with more secure global transactions. The generalised trend of using credit and debit cards will increase, providing greater flexibility to clients, and faster payments for logistical companies. The entry of cryptocurrency as a payment alternative will also be speeding up, whether bitcoin or other alternatives from financial entities. In any event, cryptocurrencies will make cross-border payments simpler and more private.
The logistical industry will continue to concentrate
In 2019, the logistical sector’s concentration process will continue, in the hands of just a few large operators. We will see smaller companies forming alliances to face off against the giants. This process may redound in more comprehensive services for the importer and exporter, but at the same time, a loss of options from whence to choose when moving freight. At the same time, less competition may mean higher prices for the importer/exporter.
Along with these predictions for freight transport in 2019, we must also mention that we will be noticing the initial effects of a commitment to decarbonisation of transport. 2019 will therefore be a year of transformative expectations for the logistics sector, where we will see how the entire chain of supply adapts to company trends and to technology that pushes one to the forefront of competitiveness when moving freight.