Transportation, Logistics Industry Slow to Adopt AI, Sustainability Goals

Large ship carrying freight

(Credit: Unsplash)

by | Feb 8, 2024

A recent survey of transportation and logistics professionals in the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany conducted by HERE Technologies shows many companies have yet to adopt basic data analytics and AI software, potentially limiting their ability to set climate targets or achieve sustainability progress.

Based on responses from transportation and logistics organization professionals, 50% of companies use basic data analytics in their operations, while 25% use artificial intelligence capabilities. Respondents indicated a desire to improve on technology implementation, especially in terms of route planning and tracking, but most consider cost to be a major barrier to doing so. Other barriers include disruption to existing services and lack of internal expertise.

Companies Express Slow Progress in Supply Chain Visibility

The survey also explored whether companies are prioritizing sustainable practices, finding that 33% are completely without sustainability goals or any plans to develop them, and 27% explained that their company’s sustainability goals were still under development. Sustainability was also ranked as the least important consideration in terms of end-to-end logistics and supply chain management.

About three out of four of those surveyed believed that their company has made some progress towards supply chain visibility, but less than one and four admit to making “significant” progress.

“On one hand, this study shows the progress being made by companies towards increasing their supply chain visibility,” said Remco Timmer, vice president of product management at HERE Technologies. “On the other hand, it’s clear the industry currently lacks the contextual data, AI capabilities, and tools needed to optimize fleet deployments, routing, and appropriate mode switching.”

Companies also reported maritime shipping as the most difficult to track along the supply chain, while truck operations maintain the most real-time visibility.

Technology’s Potential to Improve Sustainability Practices

Supply chain visibility, while difficult to achieve, may be greatly improved with data management and AI services. Several data analytics and AI-based systems have been found to improve supply chain efficiency and identify where changes may be made to make for more sustainable supply chains.

A recent study by Gecko Robotics and Rho Impact found that using AI and robotics may significantly reduce emissions in maritime transport and other heavy industries known for their high emissions–enough to reduce U.S. emissions by 18%. A joint white paper from Hanshow, Microsoft, Intel, and E Ink also indicates that companies may benefit from the growth of green digitization as they work to meet sustainability goals.

“We’re seeing increased demand for location data and services that enable logistics companies to overcome disruptions in real-time while reducing emissions and improving employee safety in the process,” said Timmer.

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