16-07-2019 | | By Nnamdi Anyadike
Intelligent logistics is increasingly coming to the fore buoyed by the adoption of smart devices, big data analytics, cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT). And these factors, which enhance the tracking and management process, will be the key drivers for the growth of the global intelligent logistics market in the coming years. Key players include Deutsche Post DHL, Kuehne + Nagel, UPS, DB Group, FedEx, Nippon Express, World Courier and SF Express.
In June, Deutsche Post DHL Group, the leading logistics service provider in Germany in partnership with Alps Electric Europe, one of the largest developers and manufacturers of electromechanical devices and Sigfox, the leading IoT service provider, signed a cooperation agreement to optimise the individual processes within the supply chain of the German DHL parcel network. The solution involves the targeted use of networked sensors. DHL delivers around five million consignments throughout Germany every working day transported in roll containers.
Over the next five years, around 250,000 of these DHL roll containers will be successively equipped with intelligent trackers to provide precise information about their location and detect movement. Ludovic Le Moan, CEO and founder of Sigfox said: "This project marks an important milestone on the road to billions of networked devices in the Sigfox 0G network, so we see tremendous potential in this partnership." Sascha Kunzmann, Senior Manager at Alps Electric Europe commented: "A consistent optimisation of each aspect of the tracking devices will achieve a long service life beyond 10 years. This is at a fraction of today's costs."
Alibaba's logistics arm, Cainiao Network Technology, is banking on cutting-edge technologies for a breakthrough in logistics. Alibaba CEO Zhang Yong said the sector is moving from a purely digitally-driven function to an intelligence-driven one. Last year, around 50 billion parcels were handled in China. Of these, some 30 billion used Cainiao's E-shipping label that provides simultaneous tracking functions. Cainiao President Wan Lin told the ‘China Daily‘, his company aims to connect “100 million smart devices with partnering couriers to digitalise and accelerate the delivery process.” To achieve this, Wan Lin has pledged to create $7.25 billion in value for the country's logistics industry over the next three years.
Cargo-partner, the Austrian based logistics information provider, has announced the release of its solution for the tracking of FCL traffic. The new feature is available via the supply chain management platform SPOT and is accessible from any web browser or as a mobile app. The technology combines data from a variety of sources including shipping schedules and status information provided by carriers, vessel location data sent via AIS as well as port and terminal information. Using geo-fencing technology, the time and place a vessel enters a certain zone are recorded. Once the vessel has departed from the port of origin, the intelligent algorithm calculates the expected dates for the upcoming milestones, transhipment, arrival, unloading etc. and sends them to SPOT. Stefan Krauter, CEO of cargo-partner, explains: “With this new tracking technology, we can offer our customers’ reliable end-to-end information on their sea-freight transports...Meanwhile, our operations benefit from the automated system which replaces manual data entry and ensures maximum efficiency and speedy information exchange.”
Night Star Express GmbH Logistics, an association of seven medium-sized logistics service providers, announced in June the development of an innovative digital solution to increase the efficiency of decentralised service fleets-wraps. Since April and in partnership with a number of partners in Germany it has been testing new technology on the in-van delivery and return (IDR) platform. IDR is designed as a platform that connects service fleets with logistics companies. To document the loading and delivery of a shipment, the drivers of Night Star Express M3 use mobile devices with an integrated driver app. If a shipment is provided for the vehicle delivery of a service technician via IDR, the driver automatically receives the clearance for the door opening of the corresponding technician vehicle by scanning the shipment.
The cloud-based system solution IDR allows secure and keyless access to the vehicle. In addition, dispatchers and fleet managers have full transparency across the entire supply chain and can control online who can access their vehicles. Jens Schoneboom, Business Development, Night Star Express explained: "With the digital IDR solution created by Mercedes-Benz Vans, the added-value factor via the safe and reliable vehicle delivery by us at night will be further optimised through the new technical possibilities. Our customers are already in the test phase, which lasts until the middle of the year, and are already benefiting from an even better service."
Intelligent logistics is expected to continue to make significant inroads into the supply chain as connected devices and smart asset tracking tools improves the way companies transport goods, control inventory and manage the retail experience. Allied Market Research expects the connected logistics market to register double-digit CAGR and reach a valuation of around $28billion by 2023.