4 cutting-edge tech breakthroughs changing the logistics game

    1. 100kg-capacity drone FB3 transforms the future of cargo transportation
    2. Port Intel solution reshapes how global shipping challenges are handled
    3. BinPACKER algorithm helps optimise capacity usage
    4. Smart containers are redefining global logistics

In an era where last-mile delivery, environmental sustainability, and robust supply chain resilience are becoming increasingly pivotal, merely keeping pace is no longer sufficient. A collaborative approach, coupled with forward-thinking strategies, is the need of the hour. How can logistics providers transition from surviving to thriving? It hinges on three core factors: embracing emerging technologies, leveraging the power of data analytics, and placing sustainability at the heart of operations. By intertwining these elements, logistics providers can spearhead a new era of efficiency, transparency, and customer-centricity. In this article, we’ll introduce you to four groundbreaking tech developments poised to redefine the logistics and supply chain sector. From the game-changing potential of the FlyingBasket heavy cargo drone and advanced port intelligence solutions to a revolutionary load planning algorithm and an innovative smart container service, these technologies are not just futuristic concepts; they’re blueprints for a smarter, more efficient, and more sustainable logistics landscape.

“The FB3’s commercial availability represents a significant leap forward in cargo transportation possibilities. We are excited about the potential it holds for various industries”.

Moritz Moroder, CEO of FlyingBasket

1. 100kg-capacity drone FB3 transforms the future of cargo transportation

Gone are the days when drones were just fancy toys or surveillance tools. Today, they are changing the very fabric of industries, from entertainment to the world of logistics. Imagine a drone that can carry a whopping 100 kilograms of cargo! That’s the promise of FlyingBasket’s FB3. This isn’t just a heavyweight champion in the drone world; it’s a game-changer for sectors that need to transport heavy equipment to hard-to-reach places. From wind turbine sites nestled amidst forests to the bustling construction zones of urban landscapes, the FB3 has been tested in various surroundings and under all kinds of circumstances — and proven to deliver. And with the ability to journey over 10 kilometres, even skyscrapers aren’t off-limits for this aerial powerhouse. What makes this Italian startup’s creation even more impressive is its commitment to safety. Working hand-in-hand with European regulatory authorities, the FB3 meets the highest safety standards. So, whether it’s lifting heavy machinery to a mountaintop or delivering essentials in urban settings, you can trust the FB3 to get the job done safely and efficiently. The launch of the FB3 isn’t just about a new drone in the market. It’s about reimagining how industries operate. It’s about reaching the unreachable and doing so with unmatched efficiency. Moritz Moroder, CEO of FlyingBasket, says: “The FB3’s commercial availability is another milestone in the roadmap of FlyingBasket, who continuously commit to innovation, safety, and excellence within the drone industry. It represents a significant leap forward in cargo transportation possibilities. We are excited about the potential it holds for various industries”.

2. Port Intel solution reshapes how global shipping challenges are handled

Imagine the nerve-wracking experience of managing a shipment across the globe, and just as it’s about to reach its final port, an unforeseen delay occurs. From the recent blockage in the Suez Canal to ongoing port logjams, it’s clear that the world of international shipping is in need of a breakthrough. At the heart of many shipping woes is a simple yet major issue: the inability to see what’s happening in real time at the world’s ports. Congested ports have been the silent culprits behind many shipment delays, frustrating both companies and customers. Enter project44’s Port Intel, a pioneering solution that promises to reshape how global shipping challenges are handled. This first-of-its-kind platform addresses this challenge head-on by providing a real-time view of congestion and container flow at ports globally. The insights offered by this platform aren’t just numbers and stats; they’re crucial data points that help businesses predict, plan, and execute their shipping strategies more effectively.

With the aid of proprietary data and analytics, Port Intel offers an unparalleled view of vessel movements, container dwell times, and even congestion analytics. This means businesses can now get a visual snapshot of port traffic and even receive specific data, making it easier than ever to sidestep potential shipping hiccups. The level of detail is simply astounding — imagine being able to pinpoint the location of berths across the globe to within 20 metres! But the benefits of Port Intel don’t stop at shipping companies and logistics providers. Global consultancy firms, banks, and tech giants are also leveraging this powerful tool to get a clearer view of market dynamics. And it isn’t just offering a solution either; it’s ushering in a new era of shipping intelligence. As our world continues to face unpredictable challenges, having tools like Port Intel could make the journey a lot smoother for everyone involved. JR Ferry, director of transportation and logistics at ATEC Systems, says: “With our customers and partners always bracing for the next supply chain disruption, having port intelligence is a massive edge. It’s the type of data solution that our team will use daily. We’re thrilled to see improvements across an ocean visibility suite that was already best-in-class. Project44 continues to deliver more supply chain visibility where it counts most”.

“All you have to do is enter package characteristics, such as the weight, size, or maximum load on top of the different packages you want to ship. BinPACKER will then provide an efficient solution to stack all the different pieces”.

Dr. Holger Köhler, director business consulting data analytics at DB Schenker

3. BinPACKER algorithm helps optimise capacity usage

To make supply chains more efficient, responsive, and intelligent in real time, DB Schenker, a division of German rail operator Deutsche Bahn that focuses on logistics,  is spearheading a transformation in logistics by seamlessly blending cloud-based services with real-world logistics solutions. How is the company doing this? Enter the BinPACKER algorithm. Imagine trying to fit different-sized items into a backpack, ensuring you use every inch of space. That’s a daily challenge in the logistics industry — fitting varying items into trucks, containers, or warehouse pallets. The BinPACKER algorithm acts like an advanced puzzle solver, determining the smartest way to stack different objects for maximum space usage. Not only does it provide the best loading solution, but it also offers a 3D visual of the arrangement and allows for adjustments by simply dragging and dropping individual packages. But it’s not just about stacking items. Through quicker, more transparent pricing structures, customers also stand to gain. Need to know how much truck space you’ll need for a shipment? Or perhaps a quote for a particular load? BinPACKER can handle that too.

The implication is clear: innovations like these not only streamline processes within DB Schenker but also provide tangible benefits to its clientele. DB Schenker staff are already using the first version of the algorithm, fine-tuned in collaboration with experts from various Schenker locations. In tests, BinPACKER has shown it can improve container space usage by up to 10 per cent, which translates to significant cost savings and an important step towards environmental conservation. In a world increasingly conscious of sustainable practices, DB Schenker’s BinPACKER is not just an operational tool, but a nod to a greener future. Dr. Holger Köhler, director business consulting data analytics, explains: “BinPACKER is a great example out of many where DB Schenker is driving innovation; not only at DB Schenker but also for our customers. All you have to do is enter package characteristics, such as the weight, size, or maximum load on top of the different packages you want to ship. BinPACKER will then provide an efficient solution to stack all the different pieces”.

4. Smart containers are redefining global logistics

In the past half-century, container shipping has reshaped global trade. With over 50 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) crisscrossing the globe, the industry faces the Herculean task of tracking these vast fleets. Enter smart containers — a game-changer that promises to reshape the supply chain world. Smart containers are armed with sensors and communication devices, constantly gathering and relaying information. Whether it’s the container’s location, its internal condition, or the status of its contents, these boxes are always ‘online’. From monitoring temperature and humidity fluctuations to detecting vibrations, they’re perfect for transporting delicate items, including electronics, fresh produce, or pharmaceuticals. This real-time data communication lets logistics and SCM stakeholders from all corners of the world get instant updates and enables on-the-fly decision making, optimising planning, and driving efficiency to new heights.

Companies are recognising the potential of this technology, and Singapore-based container line Ocean Network Express (ONE) has announced a partnership with Sony Network Communications Europe to develop and integrate such a smart container solution across its global fleet. This collaboration brings together ONE’s extensive cargo shipping experience with Sony’s expertise in developing and innovating world-class sensing and connectivity technologies, aiming to offer deeper insights into its container operations. Live updates mean their clients get unprecedented visibility into shipments, promoting clearer communication with all involved parties. Hiroki Tsujii, ONE’s managing director of the product & network division, said: “Now, together with Sony, we are excited to create the future of container shipping. This is a future where we have access to the insights we need to offer our customers a higher quality of service to forge a new standard of process excellence”.

Smart containers not only excel in terms of tracking but can also play an important role in increasing safety in logistical operations. Traxens, for instance, a pioneer in smart-container services, recently launched the Traxens-Box 3. Tailored to green methanol-powered vessels and aligned with stringent safety standards, this Internet of Things (IoT) device ensures explosion safety on ships. Moreover, its enhanced door-opening detection has proven invaluable in preventing theft and ensuring timely interventions. By integrating state-of-the-art IoT technology and data science, Traxens is tapping into the potential of real-time data. Collaborations with leading shipping lines and insurance firms allow them to optimise the global logistics supply chain. In essence, smart containers are set to propel the shipping industry into a new digital era. Not only will they simplify operations, but the analysis of vast data sets will provide insights for future planning. As information flows seamlessly, trust and reliability will grow within the supply chain, leading to remarkable improvements in efficiency, safety, and client satisfaction.

In closing

The logistics industry stands at an exhilarating crossroads. The four technological innovations described in this article are emblematic of the seismic shifts occurring within the sector. As we journey into the heart of the 21st century, it’s clear that the next frontier in logistics won’t just be about moving goods from point A to B, but about harnessing technology to do so with unprecedented efficiency, transparency, and sustainability. The capabilities of the FB3 drone underscore the boundless possibilities in last-mile deliveries, while the Port Intel solution embodies the marriage of data and maritime operations. With the BinPACKER algorithm, the age-old challenge of optimal space usage gets a futuristic solution. Yet, it’s the rise of the smart container that truly epitomises the transformative potential of digital innovation — offering a myriad of data-driven insights, optimising the vast expanse of global supply chains. For industry stakeholders, it’s time to not just acknowledge these changes but actively integrate them. The future of the logistics sector promises a landscape that’s smarter, greener, and meticulously interconnected, ensuring a brighter tomorrow for all stakeholders.


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