Logistics of the Future: Best Artificial Intelligence Logistics Startups

Best AI Logistics Startups

This article about the best artificial intelligence logistics startups is part of the “Logistics of the Future” series looking at the top logistics startups today.

We are officially living in the age of Artificial Intelligence. It’s everywhere we look, from AI-powered personal assistants to predictive analytics to making medical diagnoses, Artificial Intelligence is making incredible advances across all industries. Finance, healthcare, education, transportation — and now, in logistics and the supply chain. In fact, a recent report on the state of Artificial Intelligence for enterprises found that supply chain and operations are some of the top areas where businesses are driving revenue from AI investment.

Why is AI making such a big difference in the logistics and supply chain, particularly? The answer most likely stems from the fact that typically, the logistics industry has lagged a bit behind when it comes to implementing new technologies — in fact, one survey reported that 85% of shippers and consignees agreed that the industry is either “slow to change” or “far behind the curve.” But those that do adopt new tech such as AI, predictive analytics, blockchain solutions, RFID tagging and Internet of Things devices are ultimately able to see high ROI and improved efficiency for their businesses.

From last-mile delivery robots, to warehouse automated picking systems and predictive optimization software, Artificial Intelligence is already making a huge difference in the logistics industry in a variety of ways that benefit everyone — carriers, shippers, suppliers, consumers — even the environment is benefitting from AI solutions in the supply chain. With dozens of incredible artificial intelligence logistics startups already out there using new tech to make real change in the industry, we’ve chosen a diverse set to highlight:

Logistics of the Future: Best IoT Logistics Startups

Best IoT Logistics Startups

This article about the best IoT logistics startups is part of the “Logistics of the Future” series looking at the top logistics startups today.

Everything is connected. In fact, there are currently over 26 billion connected devices in the world today, and that number is only expected to skyrocket further to 75 billion by 2025. So what do all of these connected devices mean for the world of logistics? Quite a lot, actually. By using connected devices, logistics companies can offer better location tracking, improved environment sensing, transparent fleet management, and eco-friendly shipping, to name a few. In fact, Cisco and DHL estimated that IoT technologies could create $1.9 trillion in economic value for the global supply chain and logistics sector. 

Why has IoT made such a big impact on the logistics industry in such a short time? One big reason comes from the increasing popularity of third-party logistics companies in recent years, which offer an easier way to maintain the entire supply chain. To manage logistics from the outside, these third-party companies are using asset tracking through connected devices to make the process smooth and seamless. Tagged parcels and containers allow warehouses to track inventory, vehicles, and equipment through cloud services. Fleet management also becomes easier through real-time monitoring of vehicle and driver performance, using collected data to improve operations. This includes increasing fuel efficiency, implementing preventative maintenance and making operations proactive instead of reactive.

IoT sensor technology is also vital for the logistics companies of today: with sensors allowing full visibility inside shipments while they’re in motion, helping to ensure they reach their destination in the customer’s anticipated condition. The Internet of Things contains a multitude of possibilities which logistics tech startups are now taking advantage of: In 2018, 60% of global manufacturers used analytics data recorded from connected devices to review their processes and identify optimization possibilities. And according to General Electric, the implementation of these IoT devices will add $10 to $15 trillion to worldwide gross domestic product growth by 2030 – the equivalent of China’s entire current economy.

Companies from around the globe are discovering more exciting ways to exploit the Internet of Things for additional efficiency and productivity. Here are some of the most exciting IoT logistics startups in the game today:

Logistics of the Future: Best Rail Cargo Startups

Logistics of the Future: Best Rail Cargo Startups

This article about the best rail cargo startups is part of the “Logistics of the Future” series looking at the top logistics startups today.

Since its advent in the early 17th century, the rail industry has continued gaining steam around the world – especially when it comes to moving cargo. More than 400 billion tonne-kilometers of rail cargo was moved in the European Union in 2017 alone, and that movement won’t slow down anytime soon: The global market volume for railway technology is expected to reach an average annual value of €185 billion between 2019 and 2021. But even though the industry continues to boom, rail cargo is surprisingly still stuck far behind its peers in road freight, maritime shipping, and air cargo when it comes to autonomy and digitalization. With the ability to move one-tonne over 500 miles using just one gallon of diesel fuel, rail is one of the most environmentally friendly means of transport for both passengers and goods – so why isn’t it capitalizing on that potential with new tech?

Logistics of the Future: Best Supply Chain Visibility Startups

Best Supply Chain Visibility Startups

This article about the best supply chain visibility startups is part of the “Logistics of the Future” series looking at the top logistics startups today.

The logistics world of today is multi-tiered, multi-faceted, multi-supplier and collaborative. Components, parts, and elements can be spread over many thousands of kilometers, and at times it can be difficult to simply track where everything is. More than frustrating, this fragmentation leads to major inefficiencies in the logistics sector. Less than one-third of respondents in a logistics survey viewed their collaborative process as effective, and while 84% of respondents from the same survey reported that although they have implemented real-time data sharing into their supply chains, only 13% have done so effectively. Only a quarter of supply chains currently have an autonomous supply chain in place, according to a recent Supply Chain Reinvention Survey.

This is where today’s new options for increased supply chain visibility come in. As more companies around the world have begun outsourcing parts of their supply chains, visibility has become more crucial than ever, as a growing number of companies around the world outsource parts of their supply chains and lose control over what used to be part of their own operations.

New supply chain visibility technology promotes quick response to change by allowing privileged users to take action and reshape demand or redirect supply, and fully integrated supply chains see 20% more efficiency than those without integration. The value of autonomous and integrated supply chains speaks for itself: 90% of the Supply Chain Reinvention survey respondents with autonomous supply chains reported that their market share increased somewhat or significantly in the past year, and 97% reported their customer satisfaction somewhat or significantly increased, compared to just 8% of those without autonomous supply chains. According to Diversified Industrials Global Sector Chair Jeff Dobbs, improved supply chain visibility can significantly assist logistic operations. “Obtaining real-time visibility across all tiers in the supply chain can significantly increase speed to market, reduce capital expenditures and manage risk,” he said. “Moving toward a demand-driven supply chain is probably the single most important step a global manufacturer can take today.” And the industry agrees: Most surveys on supply chain challenges consistently rank visibility near the top as one of the most necessary components.

But despite the recognized need for integrated and transparent supply chains, a 2017 report found that nearly two-thirds (63%) of companies do not use any technology to monitor their supply chain performance. However, plenty of great supply chain visibility startups have recently been created to address this exact need and offer more efficiency to the logistics industry. Let’s take a look at some of these tech startups from around the world who are developing smart solutions to make the supply chain more transparent, digital, and cost-effective :

Logistics of the Future: Best Trucking Startups

Best Trucking Startups

This article about the best trucking startups is part of the “Logistics of the Future” series looking at the top logistics startups today.

Cargo trucks have been a common sight on roads around the globe for decades. But while logistics technology has advanced drastically over the years, the trucking sector remained largely untouched until very recently. Due to its dependence on manual drivers and operations, the industry has struggled to overcome major inefficiencies: Excessive paperwork, long waits at distribution centers, running empty trucks, to name a few.

Logistics of the Future: Best Air Cargo Startups

Best Air Cargo Startups

This article about the best air cargo startups is part of the “Logistics of the Future” series looking at the logistics startups today.

Air cargo: Don’t think of it as the “little brother” to passenger planes. While the industry may be in the shadow of passenger airlines or maritime logistics, the rapid rise of e-commerce has seen air cargo grow in size and importance over the past few years. The industry accounts for an average of 51.2 million tonnes being moved every year, and that number is only increasing.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), air cargo demand grew by 3.5 percent in 2018 as measured by freight-tonne kilometers, and the IATA’s latest Business Confidence Survey said airlines expect freight volumes to continue increasing in 2019. Demand is such that Boeing is increasing the production of the Boeing 767 Freighter to three airplanes per month in 2020 – their third rate-hike on the model, which represents a doubling of production since 2016. Not only are traditional air cargo methods increasing, but NASA is also estimating that there will be 2.6 million commercial drones in the skies by 2020.

Air cargo is innovating and moving ahead rapidly, but it should be noted that it is still by far the most expensive method of shipping: Air cargo accounts for just 1 percent of global shipping by volume but 35 percent of it by cost. Startups in this space are always devising new ways to combat such costs and boost efficiency for the benefit of both the consumer and the logistics/transport company.

Logistics of the Future: Best Maritime Logistics Startups

Logistics of the Future: Best Maritime Logistics Startups

This article about the best maritime logistics startups is part of the “Logistics of the Future” series looking at the top logistics startups today.

Maritime shipping: it’s the quiet achiever of transport. After the revolutionary introduction of containerization by Malcolm McLean back in 1956, the industry was completely transformed. While it once took up to two whole weeks just to load and unload containers off a ship, piece by piece, the implementation of containerization not only has saved a huge amount of time when loading and unloading shipments, but it has also had an incredible impact on our global access to affordable goods: consumers may be surprised to learn that roughly 90 percent of everything we buy arrives by ship. As the quantity of goods carried by containers has risen from around 102 million metric tons in 1980 to about 1.83 billion metric tons in 2017, our current state of intercontinental trade, the bulk transport of raw materials, and the imports/exports of affordable food and manufactured goods would simply not be possible without maritime shipping.

However, the industry is at a pivotal moment of change: Seeking economies of scale and lower unit costs, carriers are deploying bigger and bigger ships, already with capacities of over 21,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units). In addition, 2018 trade tensions between the U.S. and China, the world’s two largest economies, and the Global Sulphur Cap regulation by IMO set to go into effect in 2020 have also sent the maritime industry into a frenzy as they look for ways to cut costs during this uncertain period.

To address these issues, maritime logistics startups are using innovative tools like digital platforms, predictive analytics, fuel efficiency solutions, and others to help companies optimize their operations and cut costs during this crucial time, ensuring that more goods are received in a more efficient way.

Logistics of the Future: Best Warehousing Startups

Logistics of the Future: Best Warehousing Startups
This article about the best warehousing startups is part of the “Logistics of the Future” series looking at the top logistics startups today.

Robots, automation, computation, wearables: warehouses are no longer big storage spaces. Technology has invaded the warehouse to significantly improve efficiency and speed, and it was only a matter of time. Think about it: online spending is up 15.9 percent year-on-year. That is many more orders and fulfilments, and gigantic operations such as Amazon or DHL would simply not be possible without smart, tech-based techniques.

Warehousing is the act of storing goods that will be sold or distributed later, and several major elements of this important supply chain step can be disrupted by technology. The first obviously, is robotics. Along with humans, it is also robots roaming around distribution and fulfillment centers. Including automated conveyors and equipment that assists staff with faster fulfillment processes, robotics is fundamentally changing the way warehouses operate. The second big element is how the warehouse space is distributed – it should be easy for everyone to access it and this is where on-demand warehousing comes into play.

However, there are many more ways technology can improve the operations in warehouses. Machine vision, wearables, and smart platforms can enhance the work experience while also bringing safety and helping employees to take more proactive and data-driven actions.

The following are some of the best and brightest warehousing startups that are focusing on efficiency, technology, and automation:

Logistics of the Future: Best Last-Mile Delivery Startups

last-mile delivery startups
This article about the best last-mile delivery startups is part of the “Logistics of the Future” series looking at the top logistics startups today.

It is the last step in the supply chain but likely the most important: last-mile delivery. Delivery from the transport hub to the shipment’s final destination has become one of the major focus points for logistics companies as more and more people head online to buy their goods. In fact, e-commerce is expected to hit $1.35 billion in sales by 2018, an increase of 28.8 percent from 2013. Quick delivery direct to door is no longer something that is “nice to have”, it is a customer expectation from the online shopping. But meeting such expectations has become an expensive operation with last-mile delivery comprising more than 50 percent of total shipping costs. People want their goods and they want them now.

Thankfully, there are many logistics companies worldwide who are working to streamline this process using the latest tech and methodology. Forget about the postman coming to your door, these last-mile delivery startups are rethinking the last step in the supply chain to include drones, electric vehicles, robots, driverless cars and more. Smart solutions are the way forward.

Here are some of the best last-mile delivery startups who are working to change the way how you receive your shipments to the door: