Servicing the road feeder sector

Singapore freight forwarders – Star Concord
10-Jun-2024

Over the past ten years, the air cargo sector has seen a significant shift in priorities as a result of changes in global trade dynamics, technological advances and ongoing environmental standards.

Environmental concerns have become a priority. The industry is increasingly focusing on reducing carbon emissions. Airlines are renewing their fleets with more fuel-efficient aircraft and ground facilities are increasingly investing in renewable energy sources such as solar panels or electric industrial vehicles.

The adoption of new technologies has accelerated, with a focus on improving operational efficiency and customer service. This includes the use of modern tracking systems and automated sorting and handling systems.

With the rise of e-commerce, the demand for faster delivery times has increased. This has led to a focus on improving speed and reliability in logistics processes, including investments in direct routes and improved facilities that can efficiently handle large volumes of cargo. The industry has become more customer-centric, offering increasingly tailored services and flexibility in shipping options. This includes improved tracking capabilities, real-time updates and higher demands for a one-stop service. These shifts indicate a broader change within the air cargo industry, adapting to both the immediate challenges and the long-term trends shaping global trade.

On the other hand, there is a shift towards increasing bureaucracy. Stricter regulations, safety requirements and compliance requirements have made processes more complicated and time-consuming. This development can lead to a weakening of previously efficient and simple processes, affecting the performance of the industry.

“As a provider of Road Feeder Services (RFS), we are usually either at the beginning or at the end of the transport chain. We see a trend among many customers, including freight forwarders, agents and also airlines, to use a single service provider for as many stages of the supply chain as possible,” Alexander Leirich, Key Account Manger, Euroasia Cargo, stated.

This simplifies communication as you can rely on one partner instead of several people. It is far more transparent.

“Transporters are usually well connected as they work with many different players in the supply chain and offer a wide range of services. It is therefore not unusual for a trucking company to provide solutions in the field of air, sea and rail transport. However, in our view, you should focus on your core business and act as a reliable partner within your own focus in the supply chain.”

Reshaping the sector

Technology has fundamentally changed the air cargo sector and contributed significantly to its increased efficiency and modernisation. Modern warehousing systems use robotics and automation to increase efficiency in loading, unloading and storing cargo.

These technologies enable faster handling and reduce human errors. GPS tracking and RFID technology allow carriers and customers to track shipments in real time. This transparency improves customer satisfaction and allows your company to manage its logistics processes more effectively.

Advanced software solutions use algorithms to analyse and optimise flight routes and schedules, resulting in both reduced fuel consumption and faster delivery times. Artificial intelligence, still in its early stages, can already collect large amounts of data and make predictions that help optimise inventory levels and plan demand and supply precisely. How quickly and to what extent artificial intelligence can be integrated into daily work routines in the field of customer service or as a co-pilot is eagerly awaited.

“Digitalisation in the logistics industry is making significant progress, but still faces numerous innovation hurdles,” Leirich laid out.

“Despite the availability of advanced technologies, integrating these technologies into existing systems remains a challenge. Older infrastructures often need to be adapted or replaced by more modern systems, which can be both time-consuming and costly.

“Another problem is that legal regulations often do not keep up with the speed of technological development. Although business and trade are globalised, each economic area has its own guidelines and rules. For example, the European Economic Area with its 27 member states and a unified customs system shows clear differences in the way goods are handled in practice. The same applies to the secure transport chain; many guidelines are generalised, but there are significant differences at the national level.

“In many companies and institutions, there is also a natural resistance to change, especially when it comes to introducing new ways of working and technologies. This resistance can significantly slow down the digitalisation process.

“Last but not least, as digital processes increase, the risk of data breaches and cyber-attacks also increases. Ensuring the security and protection of sensitive information remains an ongoing challenge that requires continued attention and investment in cybersecurity measures.”

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Author: Edward Hardy