The Future of Logistics: What Does 2022 Hold for the Industry?
The Future of Logistics Conference in Dubai began with a keynote address from TLME Chairman Joe Beydoun where he talked about how logistics has changed today and what it mean for us. Today, a lot of work is done remotely and even some of the conference speakers were taking part virtually, he said.
The Host of the conference Lars Jensen set the seen for the first discussion - The State of the Sector Roundtable - by stating that more freight was moved today than any other time in history despite the global supply chain being under strain. Supply chain logistics is poised for a dramatic change thanks to decarbonisation and digitalisation.
Participating in the discussion were:
Hans Ettengruber, Managing Director – Unitechnik, FZE
Kay-Wolf Ahlden, President & CEO - Mercedes-Benz Trucks / Daimler Commercial Vehicles
Bader Al Ali, Senior Commercial Manager - Etihad Cargo
Ram Menen, Rtd Aviation & Air Cargo Executive
Joe Beydoun, Speaking on behalf of Fast Logistics
Lars began the discussion by asking the panelists what does 2022 hold for us? How will we get back to normality?
Hans Ettengruber said that for one-and-a-half years it has been very quiet but now things are picking up especially in the air cargo sector and 2022 would largely be back to normal for Unitechnik as an automation services provider but for clients on the airports side, it would take up to 2024 to fully recover, especially for passenger operations.
As a truck supplier Daimler's Kay-Wolf Ahlden was of the opinion that his company is taking the learnings of the last 2 years and applying them to their operating models in 2022. One, would be the hybrid working model across the globe and making it the new normal.
Secondly, demand for logistics hardware like containers and trucks will outstrip supply so Daimler's strategy would be to help customers keep their trucks operating at the highest levels while preparing for the future of sustainable transport with electric and hydrogen powered trucks.
Bringing in the perspective from air cargo Bader Al Ali described how the virtual disappearance of bellyhold space created a severe air cargo capacity crunch and Etihad Cargo has managed to steadily recover from the same to reach a "new normal".
For 2022, Al Ali continued to see high demand for air cargo with passenger operations too seeing a good recovery. Strategic partnerships are going to play a crucial role in future air cargo and passenger operations, he added.
Joe Beydoun foresees a lot of changes coming in the near future with technology and automation playing an increasingly significant role in transport and logistics. Air cargo which earlier nobody really paid attention to, has come of age and is the reason that the supply chain survived the pandemic.
e-Commerce and digital payments have now become an essential part of day-to-day life and cargo operations, he added.
According to Ram Menen, in 2022 we are going to "continue to optimise an unoptimised supply chain." Presently, commerce and freight are out of sync and what we are seeing right now is an "accelerated evolutionary process" where frieght is playing catch-up with trade in terms of technology with digitalisation and automation.
The key take-away from the first part of the discussion was that technology is going to play and increasingly greater role in transport and logistics operations in 2022.
Read More: The Future of Logistics Conference Goes Live