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Coronavirus drives logistics sector towards greater use of technology

THE coronavirus pandemic has prompted the logistics sector to invest more heavily in the use of technology, with 67 per cent of shipping and freight professionals saying they plan to spend more on technology following the crisis

05 May 2020 - 19:00

THE coronavirus pandemic has prompted the logistics sector to invest more heavily in the use of technology, with 67 per cent of shipping and freight professionals saying they plan to spend more on technology following the crisis.

According to a survey conducted by Shipping and Freight Resource and sponsored by Ocean Insights, one-third of respondents said investing in staff would be the first step to recovery, while a quarter opted for investing in assets, reported UK's The Loadstar.



The pandemic has heightened the need for technology, said respondents, especially in the area of supply chain visibility and the need for real-time information.



'Logistics still needs to undergo a technological transformation (long queues at the European borders this month highlighted again the lack of visibility during transport and lack of reliable ETA),' noted one.



Others suggested that, while they already operate online, they needed to enhance their IT capabilities and reduce manual processes.



Most companies seem fairly confident in their ability to recover from the pandemic crisis, with only two per cent believing they won't. However, the recovery is unlikely to be quick: 43 per cent expect a slow recovery, 38 per cent moderate and 19 per cent expect a fast recovery, while three per cent remain unsure.



The survey compilers noted: 'While the new normal is something that we will all have to get used to, it is refreshing to see that the industry is not down and out, but accepting the hit it has taken and ready to take the required actions to bounce back stronger and more secure than ever.'



And the industry has taken a hit. Just under 60 per cent said their operations were significantly affected, while 25 per cent were moderately affected. One per cent said they were unaffected.



Most, 70 per cent, have experienced volume decline, while 61 per cent complained of transit delays. Half saw delays from the port to customers, while 40 per cent cited lack of capacity as a problem.



Late or non-payments, cancelled credit lines, volatility and increased costs were also noted.



One-third, however, have experienced a partial supply chain shutdown with significant delays, while the same amount pointed to 'glitches' that had caused a few days' worth of delays. But 14 per cent said the supply chain had adapted without issue. Only nine per cent reported a complete supply chain shutdown.



Looking ahead, 42 per cent of those surveyed said they would change their strategy based on the experience of the Covid-19 crisis. One-third said they might change strategy, but the same number said they would not.



The survey noted: 'Global supply chains and shipping as we know them will be different. Sharing information and understanding best practices will enable the industry to come together and combat this as a whole. If there was ever a time for collective efforts, it is now.'



Some 300 shipping and freight professionals across the world took part in the shipping survey, 96 per cent of which were from carriers, logistics providers, freight forwarders/NVOs, consultants and shippers/BCOs.


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