How will Artificial Intelligence affect logistics - ShipRx
Blog / Will robots take over the shipping industry?
2 minutes read

Will robots take over the shipping industry?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer a theory relegated to niche sci-fi thrillers. 

Some, like Elon Musk, caution that “AI is more dangerous than, say, mismanaged aircraft design or production maintenance or bad car production… it has the potential of civilization destruction,” while others, like computer scientist Eliezer Yudkowsky, argue, “Anything that could give rise to smarter-than-human intelligence… wins hands down beyond contest as doing the most to change the world. Nothing else is even in the same league.”

Now that AI is a reality, moving forward means finding a way to work with it. Will the rise of AI take jobs and remove humanity from the shipping industry? Today, we’ll discuss how you can benefit from these technological advancements.

How can AI benefit the logistics industry?

In the current market, shipping freight is contingent upon your access to information— a contract with a shipping company, a pitch from an LTL carrier, or a recommendation from a friend. 

At the recent JOC Breakbulk & Project Cargo Conference, ShipNext’s founder Alexander Varvarenko told the audience, “There are only around 87,000 commercial ships in the world – not that much in terms of business modeling.” 

He continued, “Once you input a shipping date, quantity of the cargo, and you name the limitations, restrictions, the available material in the port and so on, it reduces the amount of ships that are suitable. So, teaching a system to take a decision or guide you on the right decision, based on economic or environmental factors, for instance, is not that difficult. It’s not going to take a long time until we see AI helping us ship cargo.”

With the advancement of AI comes the potential to connect multiple carriers to a single shipper, giving shippers access to companies that offer the most convenient timing and best pricing.

Amazon’s new robotic fulfillment center

At the beginning of May, Amazon officially opened a 3.8 million-square-foot state-of-the-art robotic fulfillment center in Connecticut. Is the tech giant replacing people with robots? An Amazon blog post says no. In the past decade, it has acquired more than half a million robotic drive units while also adding over one million jobs. At the new robotic fulfillment center, more than 2,000 employees work alongside robots to create a safe, efficient, and accurate atmosphere. 

How could FedEx and UPS use AI?

We’re on the cusp of a technological revolution. As carriers scramble to cut costs, drive profits, and remain relevant, we’re sure to see an increase in the use of AI to achieve those goals. 

We predict you’ll see the major carriers using AI to optimize routes, adjust schedules, and forecast market trends. With the help of AI, route planning is made simple— quickly finding the most fuel-efficient path. 

These updates are sure to cut costs for the carriers. Will you benefit, too? ShipRx can support you through contract negotiation, and in most cases, clients see their rates lowered by 20-30%. If you’re ready to save on shipping, get in touch for a free savings analysis today.


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