The Future of Freight with Industry 4.0

Newer technologies in this day and age are being referred to as Industry 4.0, also known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It involves the acts of automation that are occurring in traditional industries which utilizes modern technology. It further encompasses ways in which practices evolve to make way for the use of smart technology. In the past, with former industrial revolutions, has reduced costs of acquisitions and labour. Similarly, the future of Freight with Industry 4.0 may very well have an impact with the likelihood that container flows, freight rates and ocean shipping & port costs will be affected as the processes are revolutionized with the likes of electrification, digitization, and automation. Let’s find out what the future of Freight with Industry 4.0 has in store for Australia.

Electric Vehicles (also known as EV) in different form are utilized in the freight industry from port cranes to electric trucks, and is paving the way for the use of autonomous vehicles on the trucking and delivery arm of the freight industry. Autonomous ships are still progressing as IMO regulations have not yet been included. The likes of the StreetScooter which is an EV with zero emission has been implemented for last mile delivery in Munich for Amazon. Furthermore, Sweden introduced the e-highway truck system with overhead power lines for trucking on e-highways and act as normal truck elsewhere..

Digitization as part of the future of freight with Industry 4.0 is associated with the likes of data storage automation and facilitation and the process of handling supply chains. More recently, the likes of e-certificates in shipping have become more accepted with more need for standards to be set in terms of the exchange of electronic trade documents. The likes of bill of lading, letter of credit, invoices, guarantees, and more will require specific standards to ensure the reliability of the electronic documents. This has in turn called the need for integrated systems which has been elsewhere in the world, but yet making slow progress in Australia. There is an urgent need for cyber security is evident as digitization is making waves as the future of freight with industry 4.0 in Australia heads towards a more digital approach.

Automation has transformed cargo handling with intermodal freight transport using it the most. As there are standard dimensions with shipping containers it has been easier to automate the stacking cranes and not to mention the AGVs, also known as Automated Guided Vehicles, and Autostrads, also known as automated straddle carriers.


Sources: Deloitte & Michael Bell