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How greater transparency and security can help hauliers and their customers thrive post-pandemic

The meteoric rise in online shopping, accelerated by the lock downs, saw a tremendous increase in need for haulage with demand in April 2021 being 120% higher than in April 2019, according to a survey by Haulage Exchange. And now, after experiencing two years of severe disruption (triggering material and staff shortages), hauliers still face an uphill battle when it comes to maintaining regular operations and meeting their customers’ requirements for tracked, secure goods movements.

This increased unpredictability disrupted supply chain networks, and had a domino effect on supermarkets and retailers, whose “just in time” processing operations require the shortest possible time to maximise the shelf life of perishable goods.

Supply chains are at a tipping point

From fuel costs to driver shortages and environmental pressures demanding an upgrade to cleaner vehicles to meet clean air and low-emission requirements, the haulage industry must juggle many challenges. On top of these, post-Brexit changes to border regulations make delivering goods more complex than before, resulting in a strained supply chain. Almost third (31%) of hauliers say they would avoid working with food and drinks industry clients following border and Brexit issues.

Within Digital Trader Services we’re now seeing how the transport of food between Great Britain and Northern Ireland has become more intricate with the introduction of customs and health certification requirements, increasing the potential for delays at ports.

Although vehicle journeys are frequently tracked by hauliers already, that tracking information is often not available simultaneously to their customers, the supplier and buyer. Without visibility of the data, those awaiting the goods are unaware of unforeseen delays caused by traffic jams, ferry cancellations or delays at ports due to issues with customs or health certificate paperwork. They’re unable to respond to any issues caused by the delays until the vehicle fails to arrive at its allotted delivery time.

Collaboration is the way forward

What we’ve realised is, whilst undoubtedly valuable to the haulier, many of today’s solutions lack the collaborative technology which can ease these and other challenges.

And as the global supply chain becomes more complex, manufacturers, retailers, hauliers and regulators will continue to experience a lack of visibility, numerous and disparate manual steps, ongoing friction, delays and added costs until the poor collaboration of supply chain activity is digitally transformed.

Fortunately, thanks to technology, transparency of supply chain activity across the UK and Europe is possible.

Digital Trader Services has used its expertise in technology, digital transformation and experience in international trade and customs to develop Atamai Freight, a solution for supply chain logistics that brings collaboration, visibility and security together in one platform. It shares real-time visibility of goods so those who need to know can manage the operational impact of incidents and delays proactively and can help assure the security of consignments while in transit. Planning and collaboration between all parties involved improves.

The technology works by fitting individual trailers with smart seals that are connected to a secure community distributed ledger / blockchain platform to store the data and create a digital twin of a journey. This way, the contents of the vehicle are secured, and real-time activity and GPS location data are visible every step of the way, allowing for a seamless operation whereby everyone within the connected supply chain stays one step ahead of the product on its digitally mapped journey.

Like most other industries which benefit from digital transformation, we believe the haulage industry will come to rely on digitally enabled and secure consignment solutions.

It’s our belief that organisations should act now and embrace greater digital innovation through the supply chain to improve operations, increase customer satisfaction, and ultimately improve the bottom line.

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