Sustainable Supply Chain

Trends for sustainable logistics 2020

Since the topic of climate protection 2020 is considered to be an essential factor in supply chain management, the following trends are emerging:

  • Environmental awareness and sustainability:
    On January 1, 2020, for example, the “MARPOL IMO 2020” agreement came into force, which aims at a global initiative to reduce the sulphur content in fuel on ships. This should lead to cutting sulphur oxide emissions and make an important contribution to reducing global air pollution. For the shipping industry, however, this means a major challenge because it will make sea freight more expensive and slower. Because this, entire industries are forced to restructure their planning for the production and delivery of goods in compliance with the requirements.
  • Unused potential through empty miles:
    Since sustainability and efficiency are increasingly in focus, the focus is also on the untapped potential of empty trucks and containers. Empty containers take up unnecessary space in the cargo area of ​​a ship and the ship uses more fuel due to the additional weight. This leads to increased CO2 emissions. Empty or unprofitable miles not only have a negative impact on the environment, but also on industry and business, because the expected empty miles are already taken into account and included in the freight carriers pricing.
  • Local instead of global:
    Since trade disputes have recently made trade in products from certain regions more difficult (e.g. between China and the USA), more and more companies are relying on local or national resources and trading partners in 2020.
  • Changes in industry standards:
    In the future, companies will have to find new ways to serve customers in the current tense trading environment. The Danish container shipping company Maersk, for example, announced the strategic stop of investments in ocean-going vessels and stated that in the future, the company will focus on land services and invest in land and customs clearance services.
  • Increasing integration of business and politics:
    It is to be expected that relations between countries will become more complicated in the future. Tariffs and trade regulations will be important pillars for strategic decisions in supply chain management. This means that every logistics partner within the supply chain should keep an eye on trade developments in the course of their business activities.
  • Artificial intelligence:
    Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will also play a major role in supply chain management in the future. Based on algorithms, patterns in the data of the supply chain can be recognized and companies are given the opportunity to offer personalized customer service. Furthermore, artificial intelligence can help to lower inventory levels and better use of resources. While supply chain management processes are becoming more and more automated, platforms for ML and AI can continue to learn by observing people, data, regions and supply chains and thus better understand the complexity of global trade.



Cf. Infor, 7 Supply Chain Predictions: Looking Ahead with 2020 Vision, accessed 11.12.2020

Cf. NAVIS, IMO 2020 – Klimaschutz durch Reduzierung der Schwefeldioxide in der Seeschifffahrt ab 1.1.2020, accessed11.12.2020

Cf. International Maritime Organization, Sulphur 2020 – cutting sulphur oxide emissions, accessed 11.12.2020

Cf. Hermes Supply Chain Blog, Supply Chain Management Trends, accessed 11.12.2020

Cf. Logistik heute, Nachhaltigkeit: Welche Trends erwarten die Logistik 2020?, accessed 11.12.2020

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