The most recent crisis has accelerated the integration of technology in trade and business. However, technological disruption is not new to international trade. Innovations such as Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to read container numbers, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and QR codes to identify and trace shipments, and digitized trade documents have modernized international trade and improved its reliability and efficiency. Today, however, many companies are leveraging new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, autonomous operations, the Cloud, and other technologies to unlock new opportunities for goods and services in the logistics chain. These innovative technologies make trade easier and more efficient by streamlining complex processes. The 2021 Future of Trade report discussed critical digital trends that will continue to disrupt global trade. Some of the significant points are: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly emerging in many sectors as mainstream. Several businesses have deployed AI in diverse types of autonomous vehicles, intelligent robotics, and automated supply chain management. With AI, companies can enhance trade shipping routes, oversee vessel and truck traffic at ports, and obtain real-time translation in different languages during verification and certification processes. Automation in warehouse management systems includes autonomous robots for order fulfillment. ABI Research estimates that over four million robots will be installed in more than 50,000 warehouses globally by 2025. Automation in ports and shipping continues to drive innovation like the Port of Rotterdam, which is developing a 'digital twin' of its port based on sensor data. Its goal is to communicate directly with other systems, such as autonomous ships, by 2030. Other game-changing ports follow suit, starting with Dubai's DP World deploying autonomous boats and Australia and Singapore having fully automated terminals. China also has unmanned intelligent port solutions like driverless port container trucks. Blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT) is now being used by major IT companies such as IBM, AWS, Oracle, and SAP to deploy supply chain solutions. PwC study predicted that the blockchain technology would boost the global economy to US$1.76 trillion in 2030. Blockchain can be utilized for smart contracts and 'track and trace' applications. Track and trace systems allow for product status and location to be tracked in real-time and provide historical information about the product's origin. Blockchain creates an immutable record of the product’s location and streamlines complex trade processes such as bills of lading, letters of credit, and other customs clearance documents. Cloud services have become the norm due to the rapid adoption of online services after the crisis. Gartner forecasted a 22.1% growth in cloud services spending in 2022. The Internet of Things (IoT), which uses sensors to gather and transmit real-time data about a shipment's physical condition, provides accurate visibility throughout the supply chain. IoT can be used to identify bottlenecks and produce accurate status updates. Together with other technologies such as AI, collected data patterns can facilitate predictive analysis and contingency planning and optimize transit speed, cost and security. 3D printing has been shown to help address supply-demand imbalances and delays in well-established supply chains. It is gaining momentum for prototypes, replacement parts, toys, shoes, and medical devices. A World Bank study identified a 58% increase in the trade of hearing aids using 3D printing. With these cutting-edge technologies, global trade can be made more efficient, far-reaching, and cost-effective. Companies that have yet to digitally transform their businesses to take advantage of these new technologies are missing out big time. Level Up Using SAP Solutions It is time to level up your supply chain processes by leveraging a next-gen foreign trade solution engineered by an experienced vendor. Ropaar uses SAP's proven on-premises and cloud solutions to help businesses cope with disruptions caused by new technologies. Let Ropaar help you reduce the impact these new technologies have on your business. Request a demo today!