Today, there are many new applications which aim to Uberize logistics, or simply, to match under-utilized trucks with cargo moving between the start and end points.
Uberizing, or building the sharing economy for, logistics brings about many benefits. Firstly, from the shipper’s and consignee’s perspectives, Uberization brings down transportation costs. The variable costs for sending one additional piece of cargo is close to zero for a vehicle which is already making the trip. Secondly, from the transporters’ point of view, they could increase their revenue from the additional delivery and acquire new customers . Lastly, from the government’s point of view, Uberization of logistics can reduce the number of vehicles on the road and thereby reduce urban congestion. More importantly, when utilization of transportation assets increase, overall logistics costs decrease and this is key to the development of the economy.
The limitation of today’s Uberization applications is that they only work well when you are only looking for a single logistics provider from a start point to an end point. Today’s supply chain however is complex, involving multi-modal transportation, cross border transportation, and short to long range transportation assets. To truely optimize each leg of the supply chain, the entire supply chain will need to be Uberized, involving multiple logistics parties for different legs of the supply chain.
Security and transfer of custody are major concerns when multiple logistics providers are involved in a supply chain from start to end; Who should assume the responsibility when a discrepancy occurs to the cargo when it reaches the consignee? How can a logistics provider be assured that the cargo he is taking over from another logistics provider has not been tampered with?
Fortunately, security and transfer of custody smart logistics IoT devices providing cargo security are available today. These devices are able to report cargo tamper or unauthorized lock openings. With this technology, security and transfer of custody for global supply chains can be achieved, achieving true Uberization and ultimately, lowering logistics costs for the entire logistics ecosystem.
U*Lock – Smart Urban Logistics Lock from Ascent Solutions for visible and secure chain of custody
Written by Yihang Huang, Senior Business Development Manager, Ascent Solutions