Logistics innovation: 4 trends to keep your eye on in the coming years

  • 31/10/2023
  • 11 minutes

Ports are essential to the Brazilian economy as they help transport tons of goods. Therefore, the maritime modal has a primary role in supply chain management. But for the process to run smoothly and flawlessly, it is worth counting on some trends in logistics innovation.

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In this sense, it is good to emphasize the need to have new technologies to reduce expenses, improve logistics operations and build customer loyalty. Thus, it is possible to reduce movement, avoid waste and improve the management of activities. Get to know the main innovative trends in the area now!

4 trends in logistics innovation and the impacts on port operations

Logistic innovations are revolutionizing the market and can positively impact even the operations of the port and maritime sector — after all, they are great allies when carrying out various activities.

Therefore, the company that wants to stand out and enhance results must be aware of the new tools and solutions available. In addition, it is essential to know their applications and how they can be used on a daily basis. Check out the main ones!

1. Ship techs with integrated solutions

Companies that work with technological solutions aimed at the maritime and port sector are known as ship techs. The tendency is for them to enhance results and stand out even more in the market, given that they offer increasingly integrated services.

And integrated solutions bring greater growth potential to maritime logistics. To give you an idea, the Maritime Startup Mapping, carried out by Wilson Sons, shows that by 2030 the global ship tech market is expected to be worth about US$278 billion.

This represents an annual growth rate of 8.4%. The  unprecedented global study also observed the performance and projects of startups and innovation hubs focused on developing solutions for the sector. One of the biggest moves is the acquisition of technology in startups or other small companies.

Some cases of ongoing integration already show good results. A partnership worth mentioning is between Wärtsilä and Canadian startup Portlink. They worked together on projects, such as:

  • – Development of the Port Management Information System (PMIS) for Tanger Med, Africa’s largest port;
  • – Modernization of the Callao Port Authority in Peru;
  • – Creation of the first Smart Port solution for the Port of Açu.

2. Data collaboration and sharing

As we have seen, several organizations already carry out projects together with other players. However, the reality is not the same in the maritime sector. But this culture tends to change with the need for collaboration and data sharing to achieve more efficiency and productivity.

In this new scenario, there are examples of success. In December 2021, Santos Port Authority (SPA), Wilson Sons and DockTech signed a technical cooperation agreement. The objective was the improvement and use of unprecedented technology for real-time monitoring of the operational depth of the navigation channel and access to the berths at the Port of Santos.

The advantages of collaborating and sharing data for joint growth are significant for the industry. See what is achieved in this regard:

  • – Logistical gains through the integration of the different links in the chain present in the region;
  • – Regulatory advances driven through subsidies;
  • – Innovative solutions to technological challenges too large to be solved by one player alone;
  • – Development of startups and entrepreneurs around the largest companies in the area.

3. Regulatory changes focusing on decarbonization

In addition to the social need, there are environmental regulations that require the reduction of gases capable of potentiating the greenhouse effect. Therefore, many organizations in the maritime and port sector are adopting more sustainable and cleaner operations, seeking to ensure the reduction of carbon emissions during their operations.

In 2020, for example, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) published a rule that required the reduction of the maximum sulfur content in ship fuel oil from 3.50% to 0.50%.

The United Nations also moves to sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems from pollution, as well as address the impacts of ocean acidification.

This is one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and its relevance calls for new ways of operating, including in the logistics part of the sector. According to a study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the shipping industry needs to invest about $2.4 trillion to zero its carbon emissions by 2050.

4. Remote or autonomous operation of ships and ports

It is noticeable that automation is interfering positively in maritime operations, since it generates more opportunities, reduces the chances of errors, reduces environmental damage and ensures greater efficiency with innovative logistics. Some  research shows, for example, that 70% of maritime accidents occur due to human error.

Going beyond drones and vehicles with this characteristic, remote or autonomous vessels are already part of this:

  • – Along the Gulf Coast of the United States, you find remote-controlled rental companies pushed by oil barges;
  • – In Norway, an electric ship transports fertilizers through the fjords with a reduced crew;
  • – A Japanese freight company sent an unmanned 313-foot vessel on a 236 mile coastal trip;
  • – An autonomous Sea Machines vessel has completed a 1,000 nautical mile journey without any mishaps.

But while most operations are not yet autonomous, several advances are already being made, such as:

  • – Autonomous control at specific points of the operation, which releases the crew for other activities;
  • – Autonomous or remote control to intervene in navigation in risky situations or other needs;
  • – Generation of path deviation alerts, identification of fatigue or presence of risks in the operations.

What was seen as something distant is already a reality in several ports around the world. And shipping agencies aiming for promising and more efficient results need to be aware of new technologies and trends in logistics innovation for the sector, such as those we presented in this article. Did you like what you read so far? So, take the opportunity to download the Mapping of Maritime and Port Startups and get to know the cases for each of these trends. Enjoy the reading!