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The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasised the need for the logistics industry to fast-track AI and other big data projects to help fix supply chain gaps, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Travel restrictions, lockdowns and border closures have all drastically impacted the flow of trade over the past five months, and the pandemic has led to unpredictable drops and surges in consumer demand, making inventory management difficult.

As a result, there is a need for companies to become more agile and responsive. This is where automation, cloud computing and analytics can all assist, providing real-time data for cargo-tracking, inventory and delays.

A report from the International Finance Corp., an arm of the World Bank Group, listed these technological advances as key near-term investments for the logistics industry.

Another report from ICT company Ericsson, which surveyed 2,000 logistics professionals from Germany, Sweden, China and the United States, found that 60% of logistics companies plan to use data and artificial intelligence for "pre-emptive logistics"—that is, shipping the right amount of goods to a customer before they have ordered—over the next three to five years.

However, businesses reported that for this to happen they needed to be part of a broader information-sharing system that promotes greater transparency across the industry.

Source: Wall Street Journal, Supply Chain Dive

Header image: Alina Grubnyak

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