IoT in logistics: Internet of Things is already a reality in the sector

  • 20/06/2024
  • 16 minutes

IoT in logistics is playing an increasingly important role in enabling companies to monitor their assets in real time, improving efficiency and reducing costs.

The use of IoT in logistics makes it possible to identify patterns and trends that can be used to optimize logistics operations. If you are interested in the topic, read on and check out the details!

What is IoT in logistics?

IoT in logistics is the application of Internet of Things technologies in logistics processes, including transportation, storage, and distribution of products.

Technology enables physical objects to be connected to the internet and communicate with company systems and each other, allowing businesses to control their assets in real time.

Specifically in the maritime transportation sector, these devices and sensors can be present in containers, ships, cargo handling equipment, land transport vehicles, and other elements of the logistics chain.

With the increase in e-commerce and  international trade, optimizing logistics has gained even more relevance as a crucial element for the buying and selling of goods, directly impacting customer satisfaction and the financial results of the organization.

What are the effects of IoT on logistics?

Now that you know what IoT is in logistics, the time has come to know its effects in the area.

Real-time asset monitoring

IoT allows companies to monitor their assets in real time, including ships, containers, etc. The sensors placed on these assets collect data such as location, temperature, humidity, and other relevant factors, allowing companies to monitor the status and whereabouts of their assets in real time. This helps minimize the risk of loss, theft, or damage.

Process optimization

IoT enables companies to optimize their logistical processes, increasing efficiency and reducing costs. In practice, sensors can identify assets that are idle or malfunctioning, allowing organizations to take corrective actions to increase system efficiency. 

Prediction and prevention of problems

IoT can help companies predict and avoid problems, such as product loss due to inadequate storage or   transportation conditions

Sensors monitoring the temperature and humidity of a container, for example, can alert companies when conditions are approaching a dangerous limit, allowing corrective measures to be taken before product damage occurs.

Improved safety

IoT can help improve the security of assets and employees involved in logistics. Once again, sensors can be used, this time to monitor the weight load in containers, ensuring that weight limits are respected and reducing the risk of accidents.

Increased transparency

IoT can help increase transparency in logistical operations, allowing companies to provide more accurate information to customers about the location and status of their products. This can improve customer experience and increase brand trust.

What logistics processes are improved with IoT?

IoT is improving various logistical processes, enabling organizations to manage their operations more efficiently and effectively. Check out some of them:

Stock management

IoT can help companies manage their inventory more efficiently, ensuring that products are stored under ideal conditions. 

Thus, companies have the opportunity to take the necessary measures to ensure that products are stored correctly and that quality is maintained throughout the product lifecycle.

Route and delivery planning

IoT allows companies to plan routes and deliveries more efficiently. Sensors can be used to monitor traffic, weather conditions, and other factors that affect delivery time. 

This allows organizations to adjust delivery times in real time, reducing wait time and increasing efficiency.

Data analysis

IoT enables companies to collect and analyze large volumes of data, which can help identify patterns and trends that can be used to optimize logistical operations.

Cost reduction

IoT can assist organizations in reducing operational costs by optimizing logistical processes and managing assets more efficiently.

What is the relationship between IoT and Smart Ports?

Smart ports are ports that use digital and automated technologies to enhance the efficiency, safety, sustainability, and competitiveness of port operations.

In a smart port, port operations are integrated and optimized through the use of digital technologies, enabling more efficient and integrated management of the entire logistics chain, from ship arrival to cargo delivery.

Smart ports will necessarily utilize communication and connectivity technologies to enhance collaboration among different sectors involved in port operations, including carriers, port authorities, and logistics companies. 

How do smart ports contribute to maritime transport and global trade?

With maritime transport being responsible for a significant portion of global trade, the maritime transportation industry plays a crucial role in the global economy.

In this context, the digitization of ports is a growing reality. Smart ports are automated and utilize advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, and blockchain to enhance the efficiency and agility of port operations.

With these innovations, it is possible to improve data management and monitoring, optimize cargo flow, reduce costs, and enable faster customs clearance.

The implementation of smart ports requires a careful strategy that considers the specificities of each type of cargo and seeks the most suitable tools to address the key challenges faced by traditional systems.

Workforce qualification is an important aspect in the modernization of ports, ensuring that professionals are capable of interacting with new technologies.

Internationally, some of the leading ports making significant strides towards becoming smart ports include Rotterdam, Hamburg, Singapore, Shanghai, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Shenzhen.

Meanwhile, in Shanghai, one of the global leaders in port automation technology, the port boasts cutting-edge logistics with advanced and automated infrastructure for railway, river, and maritime transport, handling millions of containers annually.

In Brazil, the movement towards implementing so-called Ports 4.0 is gaining momentum, with port authorities seeking automated and connected systems to enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of Brazilian ports.

For example, the Port of Santos has been notable in its automation efforts, with various investments in technology yielding significant improvements in operational efficiency.

In 2017, for instance, with the investment in acquiring semi-automatic meters, the port increased the number of inspected trucks by 8 times, enabling the collection of samples from approximately 250 vehicles in a day.

With the implementation of intelligent systems, ports will become more efficient and competitive, offering time and cost savings for companies utilizing these services.

What are its benefits?

IoT is transforming logistics, enabling companies to manage their operations more efficiently and effectively. Technology is helping to reduce costs, increase efficiency, improve safety, and increase transparency of logistics operations. 

As IoT continues to develop, we can expect to see further changes in logistics, with new opportunities for efficiency and productivity continually emerging.

However, it is important to highlight that the implementation of IoT in logistics requires significant investments in technology and infrastructure. The creation of a smart port, for example, undoubtedly requires investments.

Furthermore, companies need to ensure they have the necessary resources to implement and maintain IoT solutions, as well as ensure the security of data collected and transmitted over the internet.

The adoption of IoT in logistics also requires a shift in corporate culture, with companies needing to embrace a more data-driven and collaborative approach.

Regarding customer satisfaction, with technology, it’s possible to offer more precise and reliable delivery services, as well as allow customers to track their orders in real time. 

Transparency and reliability in product delivery are crucial for consumer satisfaction and brand loyalty, and IoT in logistics can help improve these aspects.

What are the future trends of IoT in logistics?

One trend is the use of drones and autonomous robots for product delivery. IoT can help make this technology viable by enabling companies to monitor and control this equipment in real time, enabling faster and more efficient deliveries.

In this sense, the use of drones equipped with IoT sensors can help monitor port traffic, improve security and inspect areas that are difficult to access.

Another area that can benefit from IoT in logistics is demand forecasting. Connected devices can be used to collect real-time consumption data, allowing companies to anticipate demand and optimize production and inventory according to market needs.

The use of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets enables port teams to access real-time data, enhancing efficiency and communication among various sectors involved in naval logistics.

IoT also enables greater integration, making it possible to create a collaborative environment among different logistics systems such as vessels, ports, and land transporters, further optimizing the entire supply chain.

When IoT is combined with Artificial Intelligence technologies, it can enable more precise and advanced analysis of collected data, providing valuable insights for decision-making.

Finally, IoT in logistics can also be used to improve the sustainability of operations, as sensors can monitor consumption, allowing organizations to identify areas of waste and implement measures to reduce the consumption of natural resources.

In general, we can say that IoT in logistics has the potential to completely transform the industry, offering new opportunities for efficiency and innovation.

As technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more changes in logistics and supply chain management overall, providing new opportunities for growth and efficiency for companies that adopt technology.

Now that you know what IoT is in logistics, you must have realized that this is a trend that should be adopted by more and more organizations, right? Feel free to also read about the impacts of Industry 4.0 on maritime agency