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Investigation: World’s Transportation And Trade Future In Digital Technology

By Odimegwu Onwumere

There has been an argument on transportation and trade since the early decades of last century, and this has become commonplace around the globe.

Summits are held in the USA without a gap for stakeholders to discuss innovations in people and individual transit and goods.

One such summit is the 2018 International Business Festival’s Future Transport. In the summit, experts were shrouded with questions such as “How long before driverless cars and trucks are commonplace?”

They imagined that it won’t be long before “hyper loop trains” started conveying people around the USA in 13 minutes.

However, the bothersome aspect among the American experts is whether the United Kingdom and other countries will come to board with the USA in the realisation of this aspiration and make transportation and trade, a vivacious and mounting freedom industry.

New Technologies
“Over the past 70 years, countries have worked together to create a multilateral transportation and trade systems that have lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, while boosting incomes and living standards in all countries,” said the Director International Monetary Fund (IMF),Christine Lagarde.


Lagarde judged that these systems need to abreast with the new era of digital technologies, which is changing the overriding transport and trade systems that have been in use since the industrial revolution.

It was given that experiences in Canada and Sweden exposed that on-the-job teaching is ancillary, helpful than classroom erudition. Hence, Lagardeargued that digitalisation will intensify competition in global trade, pushing companies to boost their investment in new technologies and more efficient business practices.

An analysis by IMF buttressed that an intensified competition compels the transmission of technology across countries and even boost innovation itself.

Many countries and groups are queuing in the digital technologies. For instance, World Bank and WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities have been co-organising a conference dubbed Transforming Transportation in Washington, DC, annually.

Digital Trading
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) released a forecast recently, which showed improvement in world digital trade volume.

For instance, an online business forum, Alibaba recorded a turnout from 192 countries. Amazon.com Inc’s is adjudged a threat to so many traditionally transport and business sectors with its wide customer and a good partner, with a good perception in trucking and logistics and a trucking app.

Data has it that, “The number of tons shipped by ocean containers has multiplied many times over in recent years – almost 17 times – from 102 million tons in 1980, to 1,720 million tons in 2016!”

For Cisco, an international rating agency, “The amount of cross-border bandwidth used grew 90-fold between 2005 and 2016, and is expected to grow an additional 13-fold by 2023.” The source added that this does not include video streaming, Skype calls, and social media posts.

The CEO of trucking company US Xpress Enterprises, Eric Fuller recently included Amazon and Walmart, Home Depot, Fedex, Dollar Tree and Dollar General as among firms known for their digital initiative with wide customer and a good partner.


Changing From Traditional Ways
How the world’s transport could mean for business is however a proposition changing from the traditional ways of getting from one station to the other, to new technology.

This has made the global transportation and trade continue to speed up equally in volumes and intricacy.

"Recent news on global trade has tended to focus on protectionist measures and diplomatic tensions. These challenges have raised concerns over growth and jobs across the world," said the source.

Today, lack of drivers has brought difficulty to extend goods and creates a barrier for novel investors. Whereas demand is high, truckers saw the opportunity as a means to control pricing.

It’s obvious that the younger generation does not want to go into trucking thereby giving the older generation the means to control the trucking market.

Effective Use
“In many cities, it’s possible to request a taxi or shared car with the push of a button,” said WRI. “Commuters can switch seamlessly from buses to trains to trams and back again.”

On every angle, bicycles can be found and locked and unlocked distantly with the help of one’s phone. According to the source, “And sometime soon, autonomous cars will join the fray, perhaps even delivering goods to your front door.”

Experts said that cooperatively, these “new mobility” services are fundamentally reform in the transport scenery. They opined that effective use of technology among countries would bring improvement on countries trade and transfer goods with each other.

Data showed that the backbone of globalisation and digitisation is skyrocketing and people need to move goods around the globe.

According to Global Mobility Report, with data from the International Energy Agency, more efficient mobility could save for the globe up to $70 trillion by 2050.

While this lasted, examinations were that new mobility and trade services can help address challenges such as road accidents, believed to claim 1.25 million lives per annum.

Conundrums: Suggestions
It is believed that data is making “services more tradable” from any angle of businesses, making digital flows thriving.

“We can achieve this goal by making trade more productive,” said Lagarde. “How? By encouraging a further shift in the composition of trade flows – from “physical” to more data-driven trade.

“For example, increasing automation is making it easier for companies to repatriate, or “reshore”, some of their operations – effectively, reversing some of the “outsourcing” of the past two decades.”

Experts bemoaned that while the global transportation and trade have been growing relatively speedy, making trade more digital could make services the chief driver of the global trade.

Those who know better added that the IMF is on top gear in assisting countries move faster for the innovative era of transportation and trade.

It is therefore hoped that the digital economy would lead to greener, safer, more comprehensive and well-organised transport and trade for all, thereby putting security operatives and revenue collection contractors along the highways out of job.

  • Odimegwu Onwumere is a multiple awards-winning journalist based in Rivers State, Nigeria. He can be reached via [email protected]


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