5 technologies that improve freight supply chain


The freight supply chain is one of the crucial elements of shipping products. It’s a complex process for many ecommerce businesses, and it covers domestic shipping, along with air, land or sea transportation. There are many types of shipping, from priority mail to international or overnight, but freight is used for the transit of large quantities of goods. Usually, a package is considered freight if it weighs more than 70 kg or is larger than 80 x 80 x 80 cm.

Freight shipping is among the most important forms of transportation, but getting everything to the right place and registering all products may be a tedious process. So, in this article, we’ll discuss some of the latest technologies in the transportation industry that can improve any business.

Sustainable aviation fuel

Although air freight is not that used compared to other transportation options, since it’s quite expensive, businesses have started to use it more frequently due to the shortage of shipping capacity from the beginning of the year. But such situations can happen more often than we think, which is why sustainable aviation fuel would be necessary to cover costs and decrease the 

carbon dioxide released into our atmosphere.

SAF (sustainable aviation fuel) is produced from sustainable feedstocks (cooking oil, non-palm waste oils, solid waste from homes and food scraps). This solution can reduce up to 80% of carbon emissions compared to traditional fuel. To ensure safety, SAF and conventional fuel can be combined, and the final product does not require any special conditions for it to be efficient.

Why is still cargo air transport viable despite the high costs? Because it’s the best solution for carrying:

  • Intercontinental urgent mail;
  • Spare parts for land vehicles;
  • Pharmaceutical products
  • Live animals
  • Machinery and accessories for medical use
  • Artworks

Cloud-based management system

Transportation also needs to be monitored because otherwise, businesses wouldn’t know what happened to their packages, what’s the waste percentage and much more. Therefore, a cloud-based management system would be essential to keep up with details regarding shipments and such. For example, a TMS (transportation management system) can:

  • Automate manual processes to ensure a streamlined workflow;
  • Scale the business more efficient;
  • Offer insight on data analytics;
  • Be easily integrated with companies’ systems;
  • Cut costs since there’s no need for specialized hardware anymore;

All businesses need such software for scalability because this element allows them to grow and generate resources. When a company grows, there might be a lack of resources that can slow down the company’s streamlining if it’s not managed correctly. Scalability provides an efficiency boost in almost any situation.

Track-inspection drones

The manual inspection processes are no longer adequate in the world of technology. So, a better solution is to use drones for monitoring transits wherever they are. Such devices use sensors and cameras that capture and record videos, take photographs and use light detection to transmit relevant data to the remote operator in real time.

A drone is not only efficient for tracking freight but also inspect bridges or damaged routes that can affect the vehicle’s objective of arriving at the destination. Therefore, the operator or manager can devise a quick plan for an alternative way, which reduces the time and costs of such an occurrence. This could apply to many types of shipping modes, from LTL freight services, FT, PT, intermodal and expedited.  

LTL transportation is one of the best solutions for businesses because:

  • It reduces warehouse costs;
  • It saves cost by using all cargo space;
  • It has a low environmental impact;
  • It can achieve quicker delivery time;
  • It can improve security;
  • It allows companies to access the newest shipping technology;
  • It offers customers a variety of delivery services;
  • it can provide better shipping rates;

Digital freight matching

Another simple-to-use technology is digital freight matching or on-demand tracking. It requires you to deploy web-based or mobile-based software technology to match the available loads with the carrier’s capacity. In other words, delivery happens when the customer demands it, and the best example of such technology is food delivery. Still, when talking about freight, things are pretty different.

In this case, the customer can choose the delivery date and indicate the place preferred on it. Such a solution can increase customer retention and provide new business opportunities. Moreover, some platforms offer predictive analytics, and they can also automate some tedious paperwork processes to save time from manual tasks.  

When looking for a freight matcher, you need to consider the following:

  • The ease of logistics. The person in charge should be able to understand how to operate in cases of closed facilities and unforeseen circumstances;
  • A user-friendly interface that can allow anyone to get instant quotes, track freight and manage paperwork with no hassle;
  • Allow for a carrier network that can show many available drivers in the immediate close area;
  • AI matching capabilities that can provide value in optimizing carrier networks, planning routes and monitoring deliveries;

Battery-powered trains

Train shipment is one of the cheapest solutions for businesses that need to transport bigger packages. However, the rail industry still needs some development in transportation, such as battery-powered trains that will reduce carbon emissions and save 50% of the battery energy compared to diesel vehicles.  

This has already been tested in the Netherlands, where modified diesel-electric multiple units were able to run on battery power without using the diesel motor. Although this project is only the beginning of testing, battery trains would be the perfect solution for places that don’t need to have electrified lines or low-speed branch lines.

Another example is the Mireo Plus B train in Denmark, which is the first to supply battery-powered technology that can operate with or without overhead lines. In the future, we can have more of these trains that don’t affect the environment and can even transport packages faster and safer.

Final thoughts

The transportation industry has yet to develop, but some of these technological advances can help freight be more accurate in its tasks and help the customer receive packages and loads wherever needed.

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