Emerging Technologies That Will Shape Logistics Management in 2024

Logistics is a significant part of supply chain management. It plays a key role in ensuring all goods, people, and supplies arrive at their destinations, so it’s no surprise that the logistics management services market is set to continuously grow with an estimated CAGR of 8.50% from 2023 to 2030. More reasons for the industry’s expansion are the increasing demand for goods and services, globalization, and—most importantly—developments in logistics technology.

These technological advancements allow logistics professionals to do their duties, as these tend to be complex. Consider the responsibilities of a logistics coordinator, which involves overseeing a company’s supply chain from preparation to delivery. Their responsibilities include streamlining warehouse operations, optimizing logistics processes, and managing material acquisition. Meanwhile, a demand planner forecasts supply and demand for companies. They use sales data to determine future demand for certain products and assist in improving logistics process efficiency.

Given these detailed yet crucial duties, logistics professionals need all the help they can get. Luckily, they don’t need to look further, as these emerging technologies are set to shape logistics as soon as next year:

Quantum computing

Optimizing logistics operations is no easy task. It takes time and effort to determine the best delivery routes, packing systems, and storage solutions to ensure efficient operations. Thankfully, logistics professionals can start relying on quantum computing. This uses quantum mechanics to solve problems that are too complex for ordinary computers. Using this, logistics personnel can find faster solutions to supply chain problems.

Unisys Logistics Optimization, a quantum-powered solution, utilizes pre-trained models to generate answers to complex queries in a few seconds. For example, a logistics staff can ask for the most optimal packing, storing, and routing for air cargo carriers, securing smoother and faster operations.

Digital freight marketplaces

A digital freight marketplace is a network where shippers and carriers can connect and arrange transportation. Here, shippers find carriers more promptly, and carriers find more business opportunities in turn. In the past, these shippers and carriers connected through networking and referrals. With digital freight marketplaces, logistics experts like freight brokers can now more easily fulfill their responsibilities. These professionals act as middlemen between shippers and carriers, and specialize in various types of freight.

With digital freight marketplaces, brokers can work more efficiently by providing them with a platform where they can document inspections, administer payments, and manage documents. Alibaba Logistics is one of the most popular digital freight marketplaces today that offers services on an international scale, connecting freight brokers, carriers, and shippers from various countries.

Autonomous vehicles

Autonomous vehicles operate without human intervention. Staff would only need to load packages before such vehicles drive themselves to a specific destination. These can reduce costs and improve efficiency by reducing the need to wait for a driver before taking supplies to a destination. Deliveries can be made anytime—and with these vehicles taking optimized routes, packages can be delivered faster, too.

FedEx began testing autonomous delivery vehicles in October 2021 in Beijing to deliver small packages. In May 2022, it expanded its use of self-driving trucks in Texas. With the company’s influence in the industry, it’s sure to popularize the use of autonomous vehicles for more deliveries.

Last-mile drones

Last-mile delivery often encounters this problem: a package will be out for delivery, yet customers don’t receive it within the day. This leads to unhappy customers and frustrated logistics professionals, as this is the last leg of the transportation journey. Such problems occur because of the long distance or traffic congestion on the way to the customer.

So, engineers invented last-mile drones that carry packages directly to their final destinations. Not only will these result in quicker deliveries, but they have found that drones use less energy compared to other transportation modes, like vans. UPS began experimenting with delivery drones in 2020 to deliver medical supplies to people in need, and in September 2023, they were given clearance by the FAA to fly longer distances for deliveries.

Technological developments in logistics management will lead to more optimized and efficient operations. As we enter 2024, you can look forward to these technologies to improve a company’s logistics capabilities.

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