The future of transportation

Three industry experts reflect on how technology, geopolitics, sustainability and other factors will affect the movement of people and goods in the future.

“Technology such as Artificial Intelligence will be increasingly important”

Grant Klein
TITLE: Public Sector Transport Leader
BACKGROUND: Advisor to Transport for London, Transport for the North, National Highways, Network Rail and Department for Transport; formerly Transport Director, Detica (now BAE Systems Digital Intelligence)

"We're seeing the customer-driven need for greater integration of different modes of transport. Mobility as a Service (MaaS) 1.0 didn’t work well, largely because the pricing offer was too clunky and the range of services available was limited. But increasingly, we see a future where people can choose the mode that works best for them at any moment. This might include train, tram, bus, taxi, bike, e-scooter or simply walking.

The key to success will be the ability to plan a journey across modes, and price this in a way that is compelling for the customer, to bring this together in a single payment, and then to make sure that every organisation involved in providing the services gets their share.

What London and many other transport networks around the world have shown us is that if you build trust with your customer base, you can get to a point where customers simply tap a card to enter and exit the system. Increasingly, integrated next generation MaaS systems will enable passengers to use whichever forms of transport they want and to pay once with the confidence this is the best deal available.

City leaders will have to decide how much control they want to take over passenger services. Will they, for instance, run every aspect or will they embrace some services provided by private sector operators where they have a lighter touch role?

Finally, technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be increasingly important to ensure that the various touch points of this integrated transport system work properly. When you get off a tram, for instance, will there be a fully functioning e-scooter available for the next part of your journey? And if not, who will take responsibility for supporting you?"

“Customers are moving away from long and vulnerable supply chains”

Anders Nilsson
TITLE: VP Supply Chain
BACKGROUND: In just over two decades, Anders has held a number of senior positions at Nynas in both Sales and Supply. In addition to an M.Sc. in Mathematics, he also has a Master’s degree in Financial & Industrial Economics.

"For an international company like Nynas, logistics are extremely important. We’re constantly handling a significant flow of materials and goods, involving deliveries of crude oil to our refineries as well as the transportation of finished products to depots and customers.

The turbulence in the international arena in recent years has presented both us and the economy in general with major supply chain challenges. The difficulties encompass a number of key areas, with everything from rapid variations in demand and overloading in the ports, to component shortages and rising feedstock prices.

Against this background, as I see it, there are three clear trends taking shape, with the common denominator that they all drive costs.

Firstly, the war in Ukraine and the subsequent packages of sanctions have meant that oil products travel longer distances, and consequently the cost of shipping has increased a lot. Secondly, because of the climate issue, we can expect the future to bring a lot of changes in the transport industry as societies drive down their CO2 emissions. Thirdly, and finally, the increased level of conflict in the world means that customers are moving away from long and vulnerable supply chains.

Taken as a whole, these trends are supporting Nynas’ new strategy, which means that we continue to focus on our core market in Europe."

“Changes stemming from issues such as sustainability and changing geopolitics”

Professor ManMohan Sodhi
COMPANY: Bayes Business School, City, University of London
TITLE: Professor in Operations and Supply Chain Management
BACKGROUND: Author; formerly, manager in the Supply Chain Practice at Accenture; Visiting Professor, Kühne Logistics University.

"The pandemic accelerated some of the changes that were already taking place to make supply chains shorter, where possible, and even regional. Companies will be looking to further shorten their supply chains and reduce their distribution radii where possible. Some companies will make their supply chains regional – buying, manufacturing, and selling within the same region – where that could be a few countries.

We’re already seeing the switch from diesel to compressed natural gas and from there to electricity and even hydrogen. The use of green hydrogen as a fuel for planes and ships has been mooted, but it is unclear whether it is possible or whether this hydrogen will be ‘green’. Information technology will help make transportation of goods and the supply chain more efficient and provide greater visibility for companies, allowing for less inventory. Technology will also help people and businesses to visualise the entire journey of passengers and freight, extending what Apple or Google already provide with their maps.

To prepare for the future of freight transport, manufacturers, retailers and others must create different scenarios over the coming 10 to 15 years to start visualising the possible changes stemming from issues such as sustainability and changing geopolitics."


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