The U.S./Canada Border Crossing is one of the most regulated borders in the world, with a number of...
The Impact of Technology on Cross-Border Trade
Cross-border trade is a complex process that requires modern technology. Without innovation, we would find the process even more complicated than it is. Technology, however, has kept us moving forward and pushed us to invent new ways to make shipping easier and more efficient. When it comes to transport, distance is no longer an issue. Companies and carriers are going to find a lot of benefit in adapting to this digitized age. Technology is a powerful force that can—and should—impact cross border transaction. So how does technology make cross-border trade more efficient, transparent and cost-effective?
Expedites the Customs Clearance Process
The most obvious way technology is going to continue to impact cross-border transport is in speeding up the border crossing or customs clearance process. Governments are now allowing traders to input documents and data early, cutting down transport times. The key goal for both drivers and customs officials in cross-border transport is to decrease border wait times, while maintaining security; so in using pre-arrival systems or technology to vet drivers and cargo, we are seeing a more coordinated approach that is going to continue to improve with time.
Pre-arrival systems in place allow customs to assess shipments and drivers in speedier time. If there are document issues, technology also allows a quicker fix than the standard handwritten methods. Someone who is missing their PARS or PAPS sticker can use a platform like Zipments to get an emergency printable label, without having to wait days for the standard mail shipment. Prior to digitization drivers would be stranded at the border without their paperwork, but now the fix is easier to find.
Lowering Shipping and Transportation Costs
Technology is also lowering the costs of shipping goods, as it allows shippers and carriers to maintain visibility on the package and forecast potential blockages on the way. We're seeing a rise in third party logistics, as well as a more consistent theme of using technology to find loads and drivers. Online load boards and freight allocation is occurring and creating a competitive environment, where drivers or companies can choose the best suitable carrier, route or shipper for them. More control over goods means we are able to know where a package is and communicate with carriers or shippers directly at any hour or location, making it easier to keep the shipment on track while transporting.
Technology is also removing administrative burdens when it comes to cross-border shipping, because it is simplifying the organization and sharing of documents. Processes are automated, and technology can even check for errors or missing forms. Rather than having to phone customs brokers, shippers or carriers, drivers and shippers can find online quotes, information and estimates instantly through these tech platforms. Drivers can also use technology to find nearby truck stops, lowest gas options and navigate using GPS through the quickest and safest routes.
Addresses Some Driver Shortage Issues
Companies are needing to adapt to a new digital age, meaning they have to appeal to new drivers in order to maintain their position within the industry. Based on US Department of Transportation’s 2019 estimates, over 28% of truck drivers will be at the age of retirement within the next ten years. There is a gap in the market for future drivers, and companies need to adapt and compete. Technology can allow for truck drivers to have a smoother trip by enhancing their road features and safety, creating a more comfortable overall experience. We already see ELDs (electronic logging devices) being enforced, which allows for simplified logbook tracking and more safety enforcement. Self service or automation gives more autonomy to truck drivers, making the job more appealing for potential drivers.
We also see some development of automated trucks, and though it has its flaws and will not replace the trucker's role, it aims to potentially alleviate areas where there is a shortage or trucks or drivers, keeping shipping costs lower.
Modern Supply-Chain Environment Requires Digitization
We are noticing in recent years that supply-chain management is becoming increasingly more global and complex, which is going to require adaptation. Modern supply-chains require more precision, as everything is fast paced. A small error can disrupt the supply-chain significantly, which is why using computer based intelligence can maintain accuracy. Using the telephone or handwritten paperwork can also take significantly longer, especially when responding to any challenges or setbacks. Delays cost money, so being able to speed up and modernize everything from production to shipping and delivery, allows room for growth and greater chance at keeping up with the instability of the markets.
Digital platforms are also allowing companies to automate work, improve inventory planning, and display significant data which will impact shipping and delivery. Storing key shipment information online for both drivers and shippers to access makes for a more integrated process, decreasing room for potential errors or miscommunication. Drivers can keep track of any clearance or changes to their load as well, through online systems, without having to rely on their dispatchers or companies to relay information to them.
Allows for Real-Time Visibility
In today’s age, real-time visibility is essential in both supply-chain management and cross-border transport. It allows for errors to be fixed or prevented quicker and prevent any potential delays before they occur. Communication is essential in cross-border transport, and the easiest way to maintain clarity is through real-time visibility on the shipment. Truck drivers can use platforms like Zipments to track their PARS/PAPS themselves to know if they are cleared before even reaching the border, giving them more control, by allowing them to address any issues early and stay on top of their own schedule.
Cross border shipping can be a challenge. But when you use technology to simplify the process, it just might be worth the effort. Today's modern transportation systems are delivering a lot more than just moving people and goods across borders, they are also improving the lives of their users, from the trucker to the shipper. Getting your business to the next level requires digital integration, and with technology, cross-border transport can be seamless and timely.