Blockchain, AI offer big savings in transportation and logistics: PwC survey

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Blockchain and artificial intelligence are bringing rapid change to the normally slow moving transportation and logistics industry, according to PwC in its recently released Transportation and Logistics Trends 2019 report, which is part of its annual CEO survey.

The pressure to offer new and better service is on for transportation and logistics (T&L) executives, who reported confidence in revenue growth for their organization over the next 12 months at a five-year low — with just 29% saying they were confident that revenue would grow during that time, said the report, which included 143 CEO respondents in the T&L industry.

PwC sees blockchain technology as a potential source of relief from logistics bottlenecks that occur as a result of low transparency between different organizations and the many authorizations and procedural documents that must be gathered in order for international shipping to occur. As examined in Spend Matters’ recent blockchain roundup report, several shipping companies around the globe have formed working groups or consortiums to coordinate their blockchain efforts, including the TradeLens program spearheaded by IBM and Maersk, the Global Shipping Business Network, and the Blockchain in Transportation Alliance.

Beyond international shipping, blockchain is increasingly seen as a key component in increased efficiencies within “last-mile” shipping programs for companies like UPS and Amazon.

Combined with traditional RFID tagging and increasingly common internet-of-things technologies (IoT) that allow carriers to know the location of goods in transit at all times throughout the shipping process, blockchain allows deliveries to be grouped by neighborhood or even apartment buildings, consolidating redundant deliveries by several carriers throughout the day and allowing more packages to be delivered by a single carrier.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is another…

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