BY Michael Kidd

Shipping Innovations

A New Shipping Year

The New Year is a time for remembering what came before. It is also a time for looking at what is coming in the future. The shipping industry has a very strong case for being the industry most impacted by innovation throughout history. Virtually every social and technological shift has impacted how people transport goods from one place to another. What changes should members of the shipping industry prepare for in the near future?

Unionization

Sometimes, what is old is new. Opinions on unions may vary between business owners, clients, customers, and even yourself from day to day. However, there is no denying that we are in a moment of fairly dramatic labor organization. Even if your employees do not unionize, you’re likely to be shipping to and from a growing number of unionized workplaces. Be prepared for a shift in the dynamic between yourself and your clients. There may even be changes to the policies that you have come to rely on. Be flexible, and be sure to know who to communicate your business’s needs to so you can ensure maximum efficiency.

Self-Driving Vehicles

There has been a lot of buzz in technological circles about the invention of self-driving vehicles. Considering the inherent risk associated with driving, it is no wonder why this technology is being developed. A semi-truck driver who won’t get tired will obey all traffic and safety laws, and will always behave predictably would undoubtedly make highways safer. However, this technology is still in its early stages. Unlike other innovations on this list, self-driving vehicles should be invested in with caution. Current infrastructure concerns on many US roads and bridges make self-driving vehicles highly impractical in more rural areas. It is also difficult to program self-driving vehicles to safely and responsibly handle irresponsible drivers. An experienced driver is more likely to recognize which other motorists are liable to drive aggressively than current self-driving technology.

Trains

In addition to changes to roads and highways, the shipping industry should expect a push towards the increased utilization of trains in the future. Modern bullet train technology allows trains to transport goods and people long distances at speeds that compare to, and in some circumstances surpass, any vehicle. Modern trains can also run on renewable energy, which is likely to make it more appealing to investors as environmental concerns increase and oil reserves decrease. Current infrastructure limitations mean that these changes currently remain on the horizon, however they are also something every operator in the shipping industry should be preparing to make a central component of their plans in the future. Unlike self-driving vehicles, train technology should be invested into as soon as it is viable to do so. The shipping companies that are best prepared to handle this transition will likely outperform the competition in the coming decades.

Eyes On The Horizon

Many of these changes are still a ways away. They will not require immediate changes to your business. However, good business practices factor in long-term goals as well as immediate concerns. Be aware of what the future holds and learn how Shipping Pilot can help you move your shipping operations into the future.

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