On 15 January, Switzerland-based Kuehne + Nagel and Singapore-based investment conglomerate Temasek signed an MoU to form a jv that will funnel investments into new logistics startups – a welcomed sign that innovation is finally starting to permeate the air cargo and logistics industries.
Startups are typically known for disrupting established industries and forcing current market leaders to innovate to compete; the clearest example being Uber’s disruption of the taxi business. Although to-date just a few players in the logistics supply chain have dabbled with harnessing new technologies from startups, the industry is clearly beginning to warm up to innovation.
Back in 2016, Lufthansa Cargo became one of the first players in the airfreight logistics supply chain to participate in an accelerator when it joined San Francisco-based RocketSpace’s “Logistics Tech Accelerator” program. The Logistics Tech Accelerator receives input from multiple corporate participants, including founding corporate member Kaleido, to foster innovative technology startups in the airfreight logistics sector.
While it is not uncommon for forwarders to collaborate, or even acquire startups, the partnership between K+N and Temasek is thought to be the first accelerator with a freight forwarder at the helm. The new venture will invest in early-stage companies developing technologies aimed at transforming the global supply chain. Of particular interest to the jv are emerging technologies using big data and predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, block chain and robotics.
K+N International chairman Joerg Wolle emphasized the need to “accelerate the transformation of the logistics industry,” adding that K+N’s involvement in the jv “is both another important step in the deployment of our digitalisation approach and to shape the future of our industry.”
Those interested in learning more about how startups and other emerging technologies will impact the air freight industry are invited to join us at Cargo Facts Asia 2018 in Shanghai 23-25 April at the Mandarin Oriental Pudong, where a round table panel will be dedicated to the topic. For more information, or to register, visit www.cargofactsasia.com