CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
July 16, 2019
Forward Thinking

Geopolitics, technological innovation top global transport industry concerns

Majority of companies surveyed say autonomous trucks will be a "viable option" within the next 10 years, IRU study shows.

Geopolitical risk and technological innovation top the list of issues concerning companies in the global transport business, according to a study from The International Road Transport Union (IRU) released today.

The IRU's Global Snapshot study, which surveyed 450 transport companies across Europe, the Gulf Cooperative Council and Asia, showed that most companies cite geopolitical uncertainty as the greatest threat to their development and say that technological innovation is vital to overcoming that and other industry challenges.

More than half of the companies IRU surveyed (57 percent) said geopolitical uncertainty is the biggest factor facing the sector, including escalating international trade wars and growing concerns about Brexit. More than half of companies also listed the risk of global recession and the challenge of keeping up with changing customer demand as the second biggest threats to transport companies (52 percent), according to the report.

Most transport companies say innovation and automation will help transform the industry by helping to boost productivity and reduce costs, according to the survey. More than three-quarters of those surveyed (76 percent) said they expect autonomous trucks to be a viable option within the next decade, and nearly a third of those (29 percent) said such vehicles will become a reality in the next five years.

The study also showed that barriers to adopting technology persist, including cost and investment, along with companies' limited understanding of the range of emerging technologies available.

"This suggests that pockets of the industry have yet to embrace new technologies and processes, and that there is still work to do to fix the digital foundations of the industry before technology-driven innovation can be optimized properly," the study's authors said in a statement announcing the results.

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