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Trillions Of Dollars To Be Made, Or Lost, Transporting Cargo

Originally published on the ECOreport

The global ratio of trade to GDP rose from 39% to 59% over the past quarter century. Much of that money is wasted through antiquated methods of moving and storing goods, but a new paper from Lux Research explains how there are trillions of dollars to be made, or lost, transporting cargo.

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Trillions Of Dollars To Be Made, Or Lost, Transporting Cargo

A California company called Matternet is already using drones for speedy delivery of medical supplies and specimens. They carry packages weighing up to one kilogram (2.2 pounds) for distances of up to a mile.

Singapore and Switzerland are both using drones for same-day mail service.

Companies employing self driving vehicles could use 1/5 of their present driving staff.

The immediate image that comes to mind, when many think of Elon Musk’s Hyperloop, is people hurtling through a tube at 1000 km/h. An MIT team intends to be utilizing this idea to transport freight by 2020.

The Cost Of Moving Goods

“The cost of moving those goods is … significant – running from 8.5% of GDP in the U.S. to 12% in Europe, and 21% in China,” writes Mark Bünger, Lux Research Vice President and lead author of the report titled, “Towards Intelligent Intermodal Trade: Industrial Big Data and Analytics in Transportation and Logistics.

A typical long distance shipment takes weeks. Much of this time is spent in warehouses. Cargo containers wait in ports around the world to be loaded, unloaded, or clear customs.

Around 2 million storage containers are manufactured annually, at a cost of $2000 to $3000 each.

Large numbers are destroyed after one trip because there is no freight scheduled for their point of origin.

So startups like Staxxon and Holland Container Innovations are developing collapsible containers that can be stored until they are needed again.

TRAXENS system collects real-time data throughout the container’s transport whether on land or at sea - Courtesy TRAXENS

Other companies use smart containers. Maersk’s 270,000 smart refrigerated containers contact the companies HQ in Denmark (not the ship captain) if the temperature rises. The CMA CGM Bougainville uses TRAXENS’ technology to create smart containers that transmit location, temperature, humidity level, vibrations, impacts, attempted burglary, customs clearance status, and other data to CMA CGM headquarters in Marseille, France. The BlackBerry Radar tracking device makes similar data available to customers online.

Trillions Of Dollars To Lose Or Win

“Today’s travel and transportation companies are inefficient (wasting time, energy, labor, and capital), dirty (characterized by both environmental and economic filth) and grotesquely underutilizes in terms of capacity, with not 5% but 500% being a typical measure of the excess – and not millions, but trillions of dollars to lose or win.”

Not all of the solutions he points to involve new technology.

Lighter-than-air (LTA) craft like blimps are a decidedly old technology, eclipsed by winged aircraft more than a century ago.

Now companies like Carangi Air and Aeroscraft are using them to carry cargoes of between 500 lbs and 500 tons, to places where there are no roads. Click on this link to access the Lux Research report.

Image Credits: Mark Bünger, “Towards Intelligent Intermodal Trade: Industrial Big Data and Analytics in Transportation and Logistics.” Lux Research, Inc; TRAXENS system collects real-time data throughout the container’s transport whether on land or at sea – Courtesy TRAXENS

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Written By

is the President of Cortes Community Radio , CKTZ 89.5 FM, where he has hosted a half hour program since 2014, and editor of the Cortes Currents (formerly the ECOreport), a website dedicated to exploring how our lifestyle choices and technologies affect the West Coast of British Columbia. He writes for both writes for both Clean Technica and PlanetSave on Important Media. He is a research junkie who has written over 2,000 articles since he was first published in 1982. Roy lives on Cortes Island, BC, Canada.


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