As with any other industry on the planet, technology is dramatically changing the freight industry, in the air, on the ocean, and on the ground. Even though these changes are taking more time to make their presence known in the freight industry, they are nevertheless beginning to have a major impact on every aspect of the freight industry, starting with the root of all shipping – logistics.
The Tech Revolution of Logistics
There is no doubt that there are more goods moved around the globe now than ever before, due to online retail, increased trade between nations, and delivery between businesses – plus the fact that nearly every good we purchase, from food to clothing to recreational items and office equipment is made half way around the world and somehow needs to make it to the consumer. For this reason, the massive, decentralized industry made up of trucking, train, boat, and air has had to catch up with technological advancements – quickly!
Logistics has always been the sticking point in the freight industry. Finding a quote on pricing for a shipment and coordinating how goods will make it from point A to point B as efficiently and inexpensively as possible is a challenge
Rail transport services in Japan are provided by more than 100 private companies, including
- Six Japan Railways Group (JR) regional companies (state owned until 1987) which provide passenger services to most parts of Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu;
- The nationwide JR freight company; and
- 16 major regional companies which provide railway services as part of their corporate operations. There are also dozens of smaller local private railways.
Many of the private rail companies rank among the top corporations in the country. Railways were built by private corporations developing integrated communities along the railway lines, allowing them to achieve profitability by diversifying into real estate, retail, and numerous other businesses. Regional governments, and companies funded jointly by regional governments and private companies, also provide rail service.
There are 27,268 km of rail crisscrossing the country. JR (a group of companies formed after privatization of JNR) controlled 20,135 km of these lines as of March 31, 1996, with the remaining 7,133 km in the hands of private enterprise local railway companies. Japan's railways carried 22.24 billion passengers (395.9 billion passenger-kilometres) in fiscal 2006.
It may not have that same attention-grabbing roar, but Harley’s latest motorcycle has lots of other things going for it: for starters, a non-existent appetite for gasoline. It’s being called Project LiveWire – the first Harley-Davidson electric motorcycle, which was announced publicly in June.
The bike, which is battery-powered with an electric motor, isn’t the first entrant into the market of electric motorcycles. Manufacturers Zero Motorcycles and Mission Motors have been producing electric motorcycles for a while, Businessweek points out. But Harley’s entrance promises a wider spread of the technology, which has been slower to catch on than in cars.
The LiveWire boasts a 74 horsepower motor – beating by a fair bit the Prius’s 60 hp. According to Popular Science the bike can go 53 miles between charges and takes just 3.5 hours to charge on a 220-volt outlet. And it can hit top speeds of 92 mph – not too shabby.
It’s not got the grit of a traditional Harley. But, Businessweek says, the company may be taking aim at a non-traditional demographic:
Electric motorcycles are much less intimidating for a novice rider, since