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Logistics Technology Trends in 2020

by Mary Rooney | May 04, 2020

Article from Supply & Demand Chain Executive

With the rapid evolution of technology, third-party logistics (3PLs), trucking and rail companies are dealing with an extremely different landscape than even just a few years ago.

The COVID-19 pandemic, technology disruptions, changing demographics, an upcoming election and growing sustainability concerns are just a few of the factors that have the retail industry and its supply chain network on alert for the rest of 2020, and potentially beyond.

One trend that has the potential to disrupt the transportation sector is high-speed freight trains.

Despite the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act being signed into law 10 years ago with a significant portion of it dedicated to new rails, the United States is still lagging in high-speed train systems. In terms of true high-speed train systems, there is none currently in existence in the country.

If high-speed freight trains eventually do gain a footing in the United States, this could revolutionize the way retailers and supply chains operate. This concept is highly different than the possible hyperloop concept, popularized to the American people by Tesla founder Elon Musk.

The idea of the hyperloop is sealed elevated tubes using air to propel pods of passengers and cargo at speeds up to 600 miles per hour. Musk’s concept for a hyperloop that would connect San Francisco and Los Angeles is estimated to connect the two cities in about a half an hour, while the high-speed train project that is under way in the same area would take more than two hours.

Other companies are investing in the beginning of hyperloop, with a few even starting to create test cylinders in places such as Dubai and Europe. Virgin Hyperloop One, Los Angeles, is working to make these tubes a reality. Non-profit development organization Kansas City SmartPort has partnered with the company to complete feasibility studies and create a blueprint on how this would be possible in Kansas City.

“We've identified a route, and then Kansas City is actively trying to locate the Hyperloop certification center here in Kansas City that would allow the regulatory and bodies in the U.S. to regulate it and certify that this technology in this mode is safe and is viable,” says Chris Gutierrez, president of Kansas City SmartPort. “It's pretty exciting. I mean it seems cutting edge, but it's pretty basic technology that's been perfected by Virgin Hyperloop One, or VHO as they're known.”  

Read the full article from Supply & Demand Chain Executive

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