From 1-2 August, Chris Morris and Jacob Pescini attended the Freight Futures Summit held in Auckland, alongside our data partners from HERE Technologies. Chris shares his insights and learnings from this conference.
The supply chain is a huge interwoven web of ports, rail services and logistics companies. They combine to move freight goods, from everyday groceries to specialist equipment, across the globe. In recent years the supply chain has been put under pressure by a triple hit of COVID-19, workforce shortages and the need to decarbonise. The Freight Futures Summit provided an opportunity for leaders in the supply chain across New Zealand to come together and discuss these issues.
COVID-19 hugely disrupted the entire global supply chain. Global goods trade volumes dropped at the peak of the pandemic to pre-2011 levels. Port congestion increased dramatically, the port of Los Angeles and Long Beach, for example, saw over 105 ships unable to berth in January 2022. These global trends were seen locally too, because while New Zealand is physically an island, metaphysically it is not and is impacted by global trends. Recovery is underway but the supply chain is still impacted, and shipping delays are still a cause for concern.
This leads us to the second challenge, that of workforce supply. Globally, COVID-19 has impacted the availability of a suitable workforce. Here in New Zealand, it has been felt more keenly as closed borders have restricted access to overseas workers. Consequently, it has been difficult for ports and logistic companies to fill roles, from stevedores to truck drivers.
Decarbonisation is also a huge issue. The average heavy-duty vehicle can contribute significant carbon emissions. Switching to greener fuels or reducing the number of journeys of goods travelling by road is now a necessity. HERE Technologies truck routing and optimisation APIs are built specifically for the logistics industry and can help improve efficiency while their Last Mile solution has been built to optimise delivery for couriers. Additionally the EV routing API helps organisations optimise their electric fleet, making the most of battery range.
Understanding carbon emissions
Roads are not the only method of moving freight. Abley has recently developed the Carbon Calculator tool for the Ports of Auckland that enables importers and exporters to understand the carbon emissions generated from different modes of transport. For the first time there is a product that allows users to understand the implications of their choice and consider how different modes can make for more carbon efficient journeys.
The summit explored these three issues in much greater detail than referenced here but it was encouraging to hear that the industry as a whole understands these issues can’t be solved unilaterally. Whether moving freight by ship, train or truck or a combination of transport modes, we can find solutions through collaboration. It is also gratifying to hear that technology and reliable data are a vital component of the solution. HERE’s tools and APIs make a real difference.