Toronto CILT Transport Outlook Conference 2017
The second day of the 2017 Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Conference was supposed to focus on disruptive change and positioning the sector to grow and prosper. As the most prevalent disruptive change in the industry of transportation will most likely be driverless trucks in the form of platooning, it was interesting to watch as the traditional transport companies acted rather defensive and dismissive of this innovation, all the while stressing of their razor-thin margins and lack of drivers. on panelist dismissed the idea, rhetorically asking the audience “does anyone know how much this will cost?”. Considering the current challenge of finding quality drivers, the mass retirement of baby boomer generation drivers, coupled with the direct savings from cutting driver salaries, benefits and human error would no longer be required with driverless trucks, the initial investment costs will be offset within only a few years. Sebastien Gendron, CEO, Transpod Hyperloop, walked the audience through the design concept for his hyperloop vacuum train which could one day shuttle passengers and cargo. He arrived late, which in a way reinforced the need for his traffic alleviating concept. When asked by an audience member if the other traditional transportation company executives would be willing to utilize this contraption, the same pessimistic panelist was quick to dismiss the hyperloop concept, citing potential conflicts with Transport Canada regulations.
It’s always easier to find fault with disruptive technology than it is to embrace it. The panelists would rather move forward doing what their companies have always done despite the numerous problems within their soon to be outdated technology, rather than investing and innovating. Sure, there is risk in the investment and development of new technology. However, the risk remaining complacent in a time of incremental technological growth will ultimately lead to their extinction.