Freight Trends 2020 – 7 Main Disruptors to the Transportation Industry

2020 is just around the corner. So, it seems timely to think about what 2020 and the coming decade will bring us. If you work in the Freight Industry, we’ve compiled a few key freight trend topics on what the near future will bring.


Industry 4.0 is well on its way. If you don’t start to explore how this will impact your business, you will be quickly left behind. Digitilisation will lead to better connectivity between customer and supply chain via real time information on production, logistics and monitoring.

1. 5G, IOT, (Internet of Things)

5G will start to roll out next year, and theoretically will deliver 1 – 10 Gbps. This will both enhance and compete with the NBN network. IoT infrastructure and 5G capabilities go hand in hand. However, it seems, (according to a recent AIG Group Report), that only some big businesses see the value of IoT & RFID; smaller businesses do not see the value.

Of the businesses that do see value, they belong to the warehouse and transport industries. Those in the food industries also find value in tracking and monitoring their goods for safety reasons.

This growing capability and coverage will enable the move to edge computing which improves real time analytics and ‘on the spot’ decision-making by mobile devices.

2. Artificial Intelligence – AI-as-a-Service

While the big companies such as Google, and Microsoft can afford to invest greatly in this area, regular businesses cannot. And yet they can still start to enjoy the benefits of this development through AI-as-a-Service platforms.

These platforms will become more niche to a business’s services and customer needs, enabling a business to import their data and run it though the systems’ algorithms. Tapping into this digital technology will enhance an organisation’s ability to run predictive analytics; to streamline their processes and better serve their customers.

3. Fresh Deliveries

With online grocery and pharmaceutical shopping capabilities increasing year after year there is a corresponding increase in services to cater for these shipments such as refrigerated, dry, frozen. Complimenting this is the increase in freight companies catering for the growing demand in these two industries, and this reinforces and supports the drive toward IoT technologies for tracking and ensuring shipments stay at the right temperature for health and safety reasons.

4. Electric Autonomous Vehicles and Robotics

Electronic Autonomous Vehicles: some say will transform our streets and cities during the next decade. Some say autonomous trucking will take longer to overcome regulator barriers. Steps toward this change are here now with automatic parking, lane alerts and we will see incremental improvements throughout the coming decade.

Will this lead to a Transport as-a-Service platform with autonomous Uber-style rental of trucks by shippers? Will this bi-pass the carrier companies? Will it be Volkswagon and Telsa, for example, who run these future businesses? How far away this future is, is hard to pinpoint with varying opinions of experts, but it is worth pondering.

Fed Ex’s Roxo may well take the place of the delivery guy, probably not in 2020, but not too far away. This won’t affect services such as linehaul and airfreight but, will affect last mile delivery.

Drones as well will have more of an impact in remote, difficult to reach areas, and in the first and last miles of delivery.

5. Blockchain

Blockchain may be slow to get started but it will gain traction over time. Blockchain in the supply chain industry will enable simultaneous and secure electronic Manifests & Bills of Lading to all: shipper, carrier, forwarder, receiver, regulator, and this can include information such as Dangerous Goods. It can inform of a failure, or impediment in the consignment’s journey and enable the shipper to quickly and proactively find workarounds.

6. Green Logistics and Sustainability

Governments and Businesses around the globe are increasing their efforts to introduce process improvements for reducing their impact on the planet with regard to sustainability and carbon emissions. Customers are starting to incorporate these factors as part of their decision-making processes when reviewing potential partners in freight and logistics.

This reinforces the push toward electronic vehicles, and any analytics that can assist with finding and implementing efficiency gains to a shipper’s freight orders.

7. Retail: Online vs. Bricks and Mortar

Yes, many large chain stores are struggling, some are closing down but, whilst we’re increasing our online shopping, delivering to house, office, post office or parcel locker, there is still a place for bricks and mortar. Beyond the impact of click and collect to stem the tide, shops are starting to incorporate system smarts for observing clients in their store to know what products and services are still compelling them to get in their cars and drive to the store rather than click or hit a button to purchase.

Coupled with this are smart mirror and other MR technologies to personalize and enhance the in-store experience, providing a virtual stylist for trying on clothes and the ability to try make-up and hair styles and colour before purchase and regret.

However, online purchasing and logistics is still going to be a common thread in 2020 and beyond, with B2B purchases starting to catch up to the B2C market. The developments in AI are assisting with the trend towards more eCommerce wholesale orders.


This list is not to be considered comprehensive but it rather a quick glance analysis compiled for your interest on the future trends of the next decade. Taken as such, we hope you found it both interesting and informative.

What this list can tell you is that the world is rapidly adjusting to changing needs and capabilities and those who belong in some way to the broader supply chain industry will be at the forefront of those changes. So, the need to stay on top of these disruptive trends is compelling.

At Freight Controller we aim to be a pioneer in the area of industrial digitilisation and we are constantly developing our back office systems, such as Carrier Check, our TMS systems, automation / robotics capabilities with warehouse processes, and our analytical capabilities to assist our customers with staying ahead of the curve.

Contact us if you would like a meeting with one of our consultants to explore how our solutions might assist you with keeping up with the latest transport software and data systems capabilities in more detail.

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