In the past two years, the transportation industry has experienced something it was not mainly known for previously: high volatility and unpredictability. Strong variations in demand, spiking energy prices and economic uncertainty — not to mention a global pandemic — have disrupted air, sea, road and rail transport.
2023 will not be different: several converging factors are forcing the transport industry to undergo rapid change, with significant implications for operators.
Here are four key trends you need to be aware of, and the technologies that will underpin them.
Sustainability and energy transportation have been moving up the corporate agenda for several years. But a new factor is the willingness of governments to adopt a more interventionist approach — in particular through legally binding targets requiring businesses to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions drastically.
One striking example is the European Union’s “Fit for 55” package that takes steps to decarbonize the transportation sector, as part of a strategy to achieve a 55% reduction of net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030, compared with 1990 levels.
Bans on sales of fossil fuel-powered vehicles are due to come into force in the next decade. Bus operators, in particular, will be expected to lead the move toward electrification. Revised energy taxation will also put pressure on the aviation and maritime sectors.
The push is not limited to Europe: across the world, customers are calling for businesses to do more in the fight against climate change. And, if similarly priced environmentally-friendly options are on the table, they are likely to opt for them in a growing number of sectors.
2. Zero tolerance approaches to safety and reliability, with non-zero costs
With technological improvements comes an expectation of better safeguards for workers and the general public. As a result, trade bodies and governments will continue strengthening frameworks designed to engage with transport providers and operators and protect internal and external stakeholders.
For example, many countries, including developing ones, are adopting Safe Systems or Vision Zero approaches to road safety. These frameworks take inspiration from air transport regulations to bring a comprehensive set of measures, including changes in infrastructure, stricter safety requirements for vehicles and stronger sanctions in case of non-compliance.
They are indicative of a broader trend toward zero-tolerance safety rules. These changes are good for everyone – but they will increase operational complexity for operators, now and in the future.
Asset management is increasingly important for operators to maximize the value of their physical assets, such as rolling stock, vehicles, tracks or buildings.
Operators are therefore adopting the international standard ISO 55000, which helps them identify best practices and assess and improve their asset management performance.
However, ISO 55000 implementation is only the first step. In 2023 and over the coming years, we expect to see a greater focus on asset investment performance, asset performance management and asset work management.
There is a shift towards Asset Investment Planning (AIP), Asset Performance Management (APM) and Asset Work Management (AWM) in transportation but due to the lack of a common definition, there is no standard in the industry. However, a clearly defined strategy is the baseline to deploy all new technologies.
Every industry, including transport, is learning the value of improved data visibility, especially to make smarter strategic decisions.
The ability to collect and share real-time information across different business units is becoming central to improving operational efficiency, lowering costs and improving the quality of service provided to stakeholders and customers.
To achieve these goals, advances in smart sensors and other autonomous technologies provide transport operators with a wealth of information about their assets and operations. But the true challenge lies in collating and analyzing granular data, turning it into actionable insights that offer real value.
For example, in the current context of skills shortages and high energy prices, optimizing maintenance, improving fuel management and automating repetitive processes can bring significant cost advantages – but they require the ability to collect, centralize and act on data.
One key solution to helping transportation actors put data to work and unify insights from multiple sources is Enterprise Asset Management (EAM). EAM reduces unplanned downtime and extends asset longevity by giving operators the tools to plan, optimize, execute, and track maintenance activities with the associated priorities, skills, materials, tools and information.
As the four trends highlighted here begin to materialize, we expect to see an even greater focus on how transport operators manage their assets – and use data to deliver new, improved efficiencies and services to their customers.
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