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A new report by DHL predicts that future business models and platforms will focus primarily on sharing rather than owning valuable assets.

In a “sharing economy”, individuals and companies get access to goods, services or skills on a temporary basis—for example, a car or a room. According to the report, this maximises return on investment for these assets, which might be underused otherwise, and cuts down on the need to produce new ones.

Here DHL sees an opportunity for the logistics industry, which can tap into the development of digital platforms that give billions of customers instant access to available goods and services.

A diagram of the sharing economy
A schematic of the sharing economy (image credit: DHL)

“Logistics providers can really benefit from sharing their own assets, as well as facilitate the sharing of goods that are a hassle to transport,” says Matthias Heutger, senior vice president of strategy, marketing and innovation at DHL Customer Solutions.

“Logistics providers can leverage these developments via more cost-effective usage of warehouse space, more efficient transportation and delivery methods, or flexible staffing models.”

In other words, embracing the sharing economy would help to consolidate fulfilment and demand.

In principle, this is the same as an early scheme by DHL, undertaken shortly after it was founded in 1969, to offer free plane tickets to customers who gave up their baggage allowance to transport critical documents.

However, challenges faced by this sort of operation would include risk liability, transparency, insurance and labour protection, as well as the possibility of changes outpacing regulatory frameworks that are slow to respond.

(Source: Air Cargo News)

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