Can the Uber model transform freight?

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 Freight brokerage is ripe for disruption, write Dr. Walter Rentzsch and Dr. Wilfried Aulbur

The disruption of digital platforms in brokerage-based businesses is just one of the many ways our world is increasingly becoming digitised.

Special report: Can the Uber model transform freight?

Take the travel agency business as an example. Until the late 1990s, travel agencies dominated the market for travel bookings. The arrival of the internet enabled customers to book their vacation without going through an agency. The simplicity and cost savings of this model motivated customers to use online platforms. Penetration grew continuously despite initial adoption hurdles for some customer groups. Today most standard trips are booked online, and the number of travel agencies has declined by a third over the last decade.

The logistics industry is another brokerage-based business that is beginning to see the underpinnings of a similar disruption. Truck freight start-up funding has grown over past years. While start-ups have raised about US$180m in VC funding between 2011 and 2016, the last few years saw investment increase to US$470m. A large number of new players emerged, some of which reached unicorn status with valuations over one billion dollars, such as Convoy or Flexport. To understand where these companies play, a closer look at the US trucking market structure is necessary.

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Americas trucker shortage is about to hit consumers where it hurts

The U.S. Is Facing A Truck Driver Shortage

And autonomous trucks won’t arrive in time to fix it.

America’s trucker shortage is about to hit consumers right where it hurts: in the kitty litter.

McDonald’s Corp.’s long-time distributor Martin-Brower Co. is raising delivery fees, imperiling low menu prices, and Procter & Gamble Co., Church & Dwight Co. and Hasbro Inc. are sounding the alarm that higher freight fees could be passed on to consumers of everything from Crest toothpaste to Arm & Hammer cat litter to My Little Pony figurines. And it’s all because transport companies can’t find drivers.

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How Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are revolutionizing logistics, supply chain and transportation

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Forbes Insights research shows that 65% of senior transportation-focused executives believe logistics, supply chain and transportation processes are in the midst of a renaissance—an era of profound transformation. But of the most visible forces of change, perhaps none carries more potential for innovation and even disruption than the evolution of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and related technologies.

AI, ML and associated technologies promise to enable leaders to focus IoT and myriad other data feeds on achieving greater optimization and responsiveness across the whole of their logistics, supply chain and transportation footprint.

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Solar Powered Cargo Ship

Solar Powered Cargo Ship

Harnessing the sun in a big way

Solar-powered sails the size of a jumbo jet’s wings will be fitted to cargo ships, after a Sydney renewable energy company signed a deal with China’s biggest shipping line. The Chatswood-based Solar Sailor group has designed the sails, which can be retro-fitted to existing tankers.

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SkyCat – The Age of the New Zeppelin

SkyCat - The Age of the New Zeppelin

Not exactly a cat in either size, ability, or furriness, but the SkyCat does like to purrrrrr along

They’re not going to replace the 747, but it looks like the airships may be making a comeback.

New zeppelin technologies being put into use by companies such as SkyCat of Britain and Germany’s Zeppelin NT would bring us more robust, more dynamic airships. Airship frames made of proprietary synthetic materials, for instance, would be stronger than steel and durable enough that a leak would take hours to cause any effect. Vertical lift technologies would also enable the airships to take off and land on their own, rather than having to be tethered to docks by ropes.

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