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DHL has 2050 vision

[ February 27, 2012   //   ]

Deutsche Post DHL has taken a far-reaching look into the future of trade, business and society with the publication, on 27 February, of a ‘scenario study’. “Delivering Tomorrow: Logistics 2050” outlines five visions of the future and their impact on trade and business.

The research is based on a detailed analysis of factors such as trade and consumption patterns, technological and social trends and climate change and calculates their probable impact on behaviour and values in 2050.

The scenarios range from the apocalyptic – ‘Untamed Economy – Impending Collapse’,with relentless exploitation of resources, worsening climate change and natural disasters – to ‘Megaefficiency in megacities’ where robotics have revolutionised production and services and there is a global supergrid with mega transporters, including trucks, ships and aircraft, as well as space transporters.
Other possibilities are a world where consumers are empowered to create, design and make their own products with 3D ‘printers’ playing a major role and a rise in regional trade streams, with only raw materials and data still flowing globally. But there may also be ‘Paralyzing Protectionism’ where, triggered by economic hardship, excessive nationalism and protectionist barriers, globalization has been reversed. Technological development is lagging and high energy prices and dramatic scarcity of supply lead to international conflicts over resource deposits.

Another possibility is a high level of consumption thanks to cheap, automated production but, due to accelerated climate change, frequent catastrophes disrupt supply chains and lean production structures, resulting in repeated supply failures and a move from efficiency maximisation to vulnerability mitigation and resilience; regionalised supply chains allow the global economy to better weather troubling times. The resilient world in 2050, with regionalised trade, relies on a logistics sector that ensures supply security as a top priority, with backup infrastructure to guarantee reliable transport in unstable and hazardous times. Instead of complex just-in-time delivery processes, huge warehouse structures located close to the manufacturer are seen as indispensable buffers.