The freight automation industry has projections of 26% growth in this year alone1, which makes it worth billions of dollars for freight companies. Because of this boom, many business have already implemented tech to help them stay top in their field. Many options exist in the market already – and each with its own pros and cons.
Freight automation refers to using automated processes to move freight around via exclusively non-human robotic technology, or hybrid human means. It’s a popular topic among the world’s leading logistics firms. Fortunately for freight brokers, shippers, and carrier companies many prospective solutions currently exist to make freight operations more efficient.
These elevated efficiencies come from reducing human error, which reduces freight costs for shipping, freight, and broker companies. It also allows freight companies to thrive in fields that used to be too difficult or physically impossible for them to compete in. Rural areas with no developed freight infrastructure is one such example. To fully benefit from the developments in freight automation technology, combine different methods of automation together.
There are three main freight automation options available in 2022:
1. Freight Automation Software:
A high number of freight movements are the pillars of a successful freight forwarding company, or any businesses that regularly use shipping services. These companies take into account how they can reduce their manual input by making better use of this software. Freight automation software is a major point of focus in freight solutions. Currently it is the easiest upgrade to any business or freight forwarder looking to better their supply chain efficiency. Freightnav, for example, uses an algorithmic freight automation software. This solution helps shipping firms make smarter transportation decisions and lower freight costs. This article, Four Steps to Increase Your Supply Chain Efficiency, easily breaks down solutions for business looking to implement this option.
2. Modular Freight Pods:
Freight can be moved by robotic machines in container-sized modules. This makes freight movement easy even in locations with little built infrastructure. In addition to increased freight movement, freight transportation is cheaper. By increasing the amount that freight companies can move per trip it also allows for more journeys per day. However, freight pods cannot move into and out of locations easily.
3. Freight Drones:
Freight can be transported via unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and operate from a freight base hub system. Drones are a relatively cheap freight transportation option. Freight movement is faster than with other ground options as they can fly through open airspace. However, drones can only be used for freight between freight bases. This means they cannot operate on infrastructures used by companies developing freight pods or already established ground, sea, and air freight options. Checkout this cool article by Freightwaves on the modern shipper top 10 drones. Top 10 Drones for shipping.
Which is best?
The best option in 2022 is currently freight automation software. This software has existed for some time now but now the market is seeing and more and more companies are adopting freight software options. Software, such as FreightNav’s platform, moves toward more streamlined and cost effective automations.
In order to make freight automation more widespread, shippers can either choose to adapt their business strategy to make use of these options, or avoid it until demand increases. The latter will decrease shippers’ and freight brokers’ competitive edge, as those that are willing to adapt earlier will be more successful in the long run.
It is hard to predict whether businesses that choose to avoid freight automation until it becomes more widely used will be able to compete with forwarders that take advantage of new emerging freight automation options. The best freight forwarding businesses will likely be those that utilize freight automation software to stay ahead of the curve.