Freight Forwarding, Shipping Logistics, Supply Chain, Technology, Transportation

Will 3D printing disrupt the Freight Transportation Industry?

The transportation industry has seen massive growth and development in freight movement over the last few decades. A recent topic that has become popular in the Transportation and Logistics industries is the usage of 3D printing. Advances in technology lead some to believe that 3D printing may help the industries grow. Others predict that 3D printing can have an opposite effect and interrupt freight movement. This was recently discussed in a virtual session at The Economic Club of New York. One of the topics brought up was the effect that 3D printing may have in the future.

Pros and Cons of 3D Printing

3D printing is a manufacturing process that converts digital data into a three-dimensional image. One of the main benefits of 3D printing is that it will streamline the supply chains of transporting products. The traditional supply chain process involves obtaining, manufacturing, and transporting goods to customers. 3D printing may allow companies to create goods in their location instead of importing the products elsewhere. Manufacturing goods in one’s facility can save money, time, and resources. 3D printing also allows for versatile, complex design due to its method of digital creation.

One of the main disadvantages of 3D printing is the effect that it could have on the freight forwarding/transportation industries. A freight forwarder is an intermediary between shippers and transport companies who coordinate the movement of goods internationally. With companies creating products in their facilities through 3D printing, the need for a freight forwarder becomes lessened. The way that many companies create products today is by outsourcing materials from different countries. Freight forwarders may coordinate the importing of those materials internationally.

What Effect will 3D printing have on the Transportation Industry?

The current supply chain model for manufacturing and moving freight involves many steps. Companies source cheap labor overseas, and then pay to get the goods transported. With 3D printing, a portion of the supply chain could be gone, although any statement suggesting that goods will be made in anyone’s basement are truly exaggerated. Perhaps, in many (many!) years from now, the international movement of goods may be replaced with the international movement of designs and information to create the goods.

3D printing may impact globalization because it is based in the countries’ permanent exchange of goods.  With companies creating goods domestically, supply chains could become less dependent on other countries to be effective. A nationwide lockdown or a conflict between two countries may become less of a disruption to a supply chain.

A1 Worldwide Logistics

While 3D printing may impact the future of transportation, it may be a while before 3D printing becomes standard practice. Freight still has to be moved internationally. When moving freight, it is essential to have a freight forwarder that understands the world of international shipping. A1 Worldwide Logistics has experience working with freight transport methods such as ocean, air, and land. Contact us at 305-821-8995 or for a quote to get your goods moving today. We also have customs brokers to arrange the customs clearance process of your imports.

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