With technology playing an increasingly important role in the logistics sector, David Williams, managing director of Rhenus UK, believes the industry will be transformed within a decade.
"From tachographs to tyre pressure monitoring solutions, the prospect of automation in the HGV sector is presenting logistics managers with some very exciting opportunities.
"The case for embracing technology is clear. For logistics managers and drivers alike, automation can help boost efficiency, save money and reduce the likelihood of human error. Recent government backing of intelligent systems within the logistics sector is welcome news. Indeed, in the Chancellor's Budget earlier this year, the government confirmed financial backing for truck platooning trials on UK roads before the end of 2016.
"One of the biggest challenges facing the logistics and freight forwarding industry at the moment is the perceived skills shortage. According to a report published by the Baker Dearing Educational Trust in 2015, there is an intrinsic lack of young talent being attracted to the sector, in spite of recent projections that predict the sector to grow further within the coming years.
"There are a number of reasons for why this may be the case. The Baker Dearing Educational Trust blames an outdated perception among younger people that logistics is a low-skilled industry, something that is completely untrue and does not reflect the current shape of the industry.
"Actually, the logistics industry is one of the fastest evolving, especially when it comes to new technology. With automation technology playing an increasingly important role in the sector, it's important that logistics managers seek to embrace it.
"Indeed, a move towards greater levels of automation in trucks could deliver compelling efficiency improvements for both the UK's haulage industry and transport network. Trials of this nature are already in progress in the US and Europe, so it's vital that the UK takes these steps to ensure our haulage industry remains competitive globally."