Back in January, those at Davos spoke of the need for the 4th Industrial Revolution to be human-centered, inclusive and sustainable. Sustainability continues to move up the global business agenda – and up Agility’s agenda – shaping supply chains and decision-making in logistics.

Brexit, US-China trade friction and falling trade volumes generated uncertainty in 2019. Recent UK elections and a “phase I” US-China trade deal provide more certainty entering 2020. Of immediate concern to shippers, carriers and forwarders is the impact of IMO 2020, which will add to shipping costs as carriers adjust by shifting to low-sulphur fuel or by adding scrubbers to their vessels.

Meanwhile, the industry’s much-needed digital transformation is accelerating. Increasing use of technology such as blockchain, IoT, RPA and various forms of data science are lowering costs, improving productivity and reducing risk in the supply chain. Small businesses and companies in emerging markets – largely overlooked by governments and international institutions in the past – could be big beneficiaries as the technology becomes available through inexpensive, easy-to-use online freight booking platforms, marketing automation, instant financing, cheap cloud computing, and remote advisory services.