Taking Stock: Future imperfect

Avatar photo
by Emily Atkins
Emily Atkins has been editor of MM&D Magazine since 2002.

It was a pleasure earlier this summer to be invited to attend the International Transport Forum (ITF) as one of several international media guests. Held annually in the German city of Leipzig, the forum offers government, non-governmental agencies and the private sector a chance to come together to discuss—and sometimes solve—the significant challenges facing transport around the globe.

This year, for example, the ITF joined the Open Transport Partnership (OTP), a global initiative that brings together private and public partners to facilitate responsible use of private sector transport data for the public good. It supports collaboration on data-driven urban mobility policy and service programs.

Using data from more than 12 million drivers in more than 40 countries, the OTP’s inaugural programme, called “Open Traffic”, will be a global open data repository of anonymised traffic statistics generated by its members. The idea is to give cash-poor transport agencies the resources to develop better road use policies to reduce costly congestion and traffic-related deaths and injuries.

Programs such as this highlight useful collaboration between the private sector and governments to achieve goals that promote sustainability, safety and efficient economic activity, all at the same time. It was a real eye-opener to attend the ITF and witness the depth and breadth of this kind of activity taking place around the world. Our coverage of the ITF begins on page 16, with a look at the future of autonomous trucking, last mile delivery and intermodal transport in Europe.

We have our eye on another crystal ball this issue, in the form of the annual State of Logistics Report prepared for the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) by consulting firm AT Kearney. While focussed on US economic results and future projections, the report this year offers a very mixed bag of potential scenarios for the near term ahead, all of which would have repercussions north of the border.

It’s an unsettling time for those who make their living dependent on trade with the United States, with political uncertainty emanating from the White House, mixed in with a good dose economic turbulence. The State of Logistics Report does little to allay fears, given that a major influence over these factors is US politics which reveals new twists every day. Our coverage begins on page 24, and once you’ve read it, please share your thoughts (emily “at” newcom.ca) on how the Canadian marketplace may be affected.