Logistics is one of the most important economic sectors in the world, moving millions of people and goods every day. But what does the future of logistics look like? Which trends and innovations will characterize and change the industry in the coming years? Let us have a look into the future and see some of the most exciting developments that will influence logistics in 2024.

From sustainability to digitalization and AI – these are the topics you should keep an eye on if you are interested in the logistics industry.

The logistics industry is facing exciting and challenging times in which it must constantly develop and improve in order to remain competitive. We want to continue to fulfil our customers’ expectations with the latest and most effective insights.

Trends in Innovation 2023
Erik Wirsing
Vice President Global Innovation, DB SCHENKER

We have taken a closer look at 5 of these trends to give an insight:

1. Geopolitics and its impact on logistics

2024 is set to be the biggest global election year in history, with voting in 76 countries, affecting approximately 4.2 billion inhabitants. There will be elections from Bangladesh in the beginning of the year to the United States in November.
In addition, we still have conflict regions worldwide that need to be monitored, as there may be changes in shipping rates and extra surcharges.

2. Generative AI

In 2023, an intense development in Large Language Models, Prompt Engineering, ChatGPT, and various AI-powered tools took place. Also, in the logistics sector, this is an important development. In 2024, new cases will be tested, particularly in customer support where chatbots enable customers to track freight, get rate quotes, or request pick-up shipments. But Artificial Intelligence also raises questions about property rights and data privacy.  DB SCHENKER uses AI to strengthen its logistics processes, its commitment to continuous improvement, innovation, and efficiency, to improve decision-making, and to create added value for its customers.

3. Sustainability

The logistics industry faces the challenge of reducing its ecological footprint and making a contribution to climate protection. The growing demand for environmentally friendly transport solutions, increasing regulation of emissions and growing social responsibility, require a reorientation of logistics strategies.
In 2024, the EU starts with the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), requiring around 60,000 companies to disclose their environmental and social impacts and governance practices. Hydrogen projects continue to grow, with over 2,000 low-emission hydrogen production projects in operation or announced, signaling positive momentum for decarbonization.

4. Digitalization/Digital Technologies Digitalization is a decisive factor in optimizing logistics processes, reducing costs and increasing customer satisfaction. The development of drones is unstoppable and as a result, the delivery of drones is once again reaching a high with millions of successful and increasing certifications for BVLOS operations.

5. Talent Acquisition

Talent acquisition is an important aspect for the success and growth of the logistics industry, as qualified and committed employees are needed to meet the challenges of digital transformation. An investment in automation is a magnet for tech-savvy talent.

In 2024, this trend is set to continue, bringing fresh perspectives and innovative minds to the forefront of our industry. The rise of “New Collar” jobs requires advanced skills, but not necessarily advanced degrees. The gig economy is expanding, with 43% of logistics workers interested in flexible schedules. An important aspect is and remains the safety of employees. In order to maintain mental and physical health, e.g., exoskeletons are becoming increasingly important for use in everyday working life.

These 5 trends are worth keeping your eye on all year long. Watch for our upcoming insights to unlock their full potential.

Published: March 2024