What the Future of Transportation Means for the Automotive Supply Chain

The automotive industry is on the verge of radical transformation. Electric vehicles are already on the roads but are poised to dominate the market in years to come. The first autonomous vehicles are in the process of being tested. And these futuristic innovations won’t just change the lives of everyday travelers—they’ll also have a major impact on the automotive supply chain.

Electric vehicles

Sales of electric cars saw a 40% year-on-year increase in 2019. Electric buses, motorcycles, trucks, and other vehicles are also on the rise. But for manufacturers diversifying their portfolio and adding more electric vehicles to their product lines, different factors need to be taken into account when it comes to shipping full vehicles and parts.

For one thing, despite having far fewer components than a traditional powertrain, electric powertrains are often very heavy to ship, which could drive shipping costs up substantially. Since lithium is highly flammable and classed as a hazardous material, shipments of electric vehicles and components may also be subject to various regulations, especially when moved internationally. To avoid damage and minimize risk, lithium batteries need to be kept under certain considerations when stored and shipped, which will require shippers to identify carriers that can meet their specialized needs.

For example, when shipping via ocean liner, it’s important to ensure that electric vehicles and components aren’t exposed to saline conditions. It’s also important to find carriers that can deliver strict temperature controls to prevent lithium batteries from overheating, which at best could cause damage to the product, and at worst, could cause a fire.

Autonomous vehicles

While the rise of autonomous vehicles may cause automotive manufacturers to reimagine their product lines, it may also transform their operations from a logistics perspective.

Driverless vehicles may not only be the answer to the driver shortage but could also expand capacity and efficiency. To keep drivers and other road users safe, manned vehicles are only allowed to be on the road for limited periods of time. But autonomous vehicles don’t get tired. They don’t need to rest. They can drive day and night without taking breaks, which could lead to shorter delivery times and a new meaning to the concept of expedited shipping.

Of course, every new opportunity also comes with new challenges, and autonomous vehicles are no exception. Without the right security systems in place, these vehicles may be more vulnerable to theft since a talented hacker could gain control of a truck and reroute it to a location of their choice. Shippers will need to identify carriers that invest in cybersecurity to avoid allowing expensive shipments to fall into the wrong hands.

Future-proof your automotive supply chain

The future of transportation is coming. Is your automotive supply chain ready to handle it?

CTSI-Global’s industry-leading logistics solutions can help automotive shippers solve their challenges today and prepare for tomorrow. Gain end-to-end visibility, spot strategic opportunities to reduce your spend, and track your data to identify the latest trends—because whatever the future holds, it pays to optimize your operations now.

Drive into the future with confidence. Contact us today.

Reader Interactions