AI will alter logistics, finds Freightos survey

Only 5% of logistics professionals – all of them small and medium businesses (SMBs) – think AI is all hype

AI will alter logistics, finds Freightos survey
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Logistics professionals overwhelmingly (96 percent) expect to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) with 14 percent already using or piloting solutions for pricing or customer service automations, according to a survey by Freightos.

Only five percent of logistics professionals – all of them small and medium businesses (SMBs) – think AI is all hype with more than half anticipating AI to have a major impact on the industry and 43 percent expecting a more limited impact.

(Data/Graphics: Freightos)

Freightos covered 55 respondents - half BCOs, quarter forwarders and the rest carriers or other logistics professionals with half large companies (>250 employees) and half SMBs.

"In terms of impact on headcount, most (53 percent) expect a limited headcount reduction due to AI while 31 percent expect a significant reduction." Enterprise businesses expect a stronger AI impact on headcount than SMBs with 38 percent expecting significant reductions and 55 percent expecting minor reductions to headcounts compared to 26 percent and 48 percent, respectively, among SMBs.

SMBs were more likely to expect AI to create jobs than larger companies (seven percent vs. three percent).

Even those not currently considering leveraging AI, overwhelmingly (84 percent) expect that they will use AI in some way in the future. Most logistics providers and managers expect to leverage AI for pricing (64 percent) and customer service (56 percent) automation in the future with about half anticipating using AI in operations (51 percent) and others for sales functions (35 percent) or software engineering (24 percent).

Eytan Buchman, CMO, Freightos

“Our survey was incredibly clear that AI is not just a tech buzzword with a full 96 percent of respondents believing it will impact logistics," says Eytan Buchman, CMO, Freightos. "However, it also shows that we’re barely at Day 1; only seven percent of respondents are actually using AI with another seven percent testing it. The use cases vary from pricing to customer development and engineering but it’s seemingly increasingly clear that there will be little that isn’t touched by AI. Bill Gates recently commented that AI is every bit as significant as the internet or the transistor… and it’s difficult to imagine a supply chain organisation without Internet being able to compete with one that has it.”

In terms of how we use AI at Freightos, the focus is on the end result, not the specific technology, adds Buchman. "We have been exploring a range of AI and machine learning options for some time, piloting it internally and have some deployed capabilities that leverage it. One newer example, made possible by NLP capabilities, is the ability for forwarders to easily paste or upload quote requests and then automatically search for air cargo rates. This may be a small tweak but in this industry everything that saves time and reduces human error is welcome.”

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