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Why technology and communication are the real shining stars of sustainable logistics

When people think of global logistics, they often imagine cargo containers, ocean freight liners, and airplanes. While the physical infrastructure is essential, what really keeps everything in perpetual motion are dedicated people and clear communication. Here’s how the latest technology and social tools are lighting the way to more efficient, resilient, and sustainable supply chains.

Logistics is about clear lines of communication

Once upon a time, in the earliest days of international freight, lines of sight – in the literal sense – were essential elements of global logistics. Without a clear view of the stars to navigate, ships had a tough time transporting goods across long distances.

Fast forward to today, when technology has made logistics a global, 24/7 operation that doesn’t require keeping an eye on the North Star. Instead, we need to follow the information on our screens and use our keyboards to maintain clear digital lines of communication across a complex web of supply chain networks. But to avoid getting lost amid the cloud (pun intended), we need intelligent logistics communications tools that are easy to navigate and work in real time. 

Getting a clear perspective on logistics technology and communication

For many of us, it’s hard to imagine a world without the internet. We keep in touch with friends and family – in real-time and full color – effortlessly, no matter the distance. And there’s almost no barrier to entry. Our smartphone apps are easy to use and effectively free. That’s the power of digital technology.

We see this in the e-commerce world as well, with businesses harnessing all manner of digital tools and platforms to create immersive shopping experiences that focus on guiding consumers – effortlessly – to the buy button. But while we have come to expect this experience in our private lives, the situation is often vastly different when we boot up our computers at work.

Business software is often nonintuitive and, well, not designed to look good. It might be packed full of features, but they are likely tricky to navigate, making it hard to harness any potential to improve communications and optimize operations.

Why is that?

One reason is that it’s not easy to simplify a complex system like a global supply chain management platform. But another reason is the point of view. For example, B2B software developers often focus on features rather than users. This is the wrong perspective. Instead, you have to ask yourself: What do users need to do, and how can my technology help them do it?

Supply chain management meets social collaboration

We’ve always known that logistics is a people business – an operation that sinks or swims on clear communication between human beings. Helping our customers communicate across borders and oceans is just as vital as keeping every physical link in the supply chain well-oiled and running smoothly. But we also recognize and respect the complexity of global logistics operations. Innovation in digital technology is now allowing us to simplify that complexity in many new ways – and we’re taking full advantage to deliver more accessible tools for managing everything from single shipments to multi-tier global supply chains.

One example is myDHLi, our digital customer platform for end-to-end visibility of supply chains and logistics operations. The portal combines online quotation and booking with shipment tracking, document accessibility, and data analytics – including innovative features to reduce carbon emissions, predict arrival times, and customize communications.

The myDHLi Follow + Share feature mirrors many popular social media functions, enabling users to follow shipments and share information with customers, colleagues, and suppliers more easily and efficiently. You can even configure notifications based on your needs – a standard feature we all know from our social and collaboration apps.

Smart technology makes ETA more accurate

When shipping ocean freight, it‘s often difficult to precisely predict when a ship leaves the port, much less the arrival time. The pandemic and changing consumer behavior are not making it any easier. We’re also seeing a rise in disruptive events caused by extraordinary weather and other unpredictable external events. In fact, the quality and reliability of the estimated arrival times (ETAs) provided by ocean carriers have worsened dramatically in recent years – and ETAs vary widely across maritime shipping companies.

Thankfully, the latest predictive analytics solutions are helping us change this situation. For example, myDHLi’s Smart ETA feature is a data-driven tool that automatically forecasts a shipment’s ETA. So far, we have seen up to a 48% improvement in ETA predictions over carrier estimates.

myDHLi in numbers


Smart ETA predicts arrival times up to 48% better than carriers


available in 92 countries across 6 continents


businesses worldwide

Technology and communication make logistics greener

As logistics experts develop innovative ways to offer green logistics solutions, we also need to make it easy for customers to take advantage of these opportunities to reduce their carbon footprint and track their carbon efficiency. This, yet again, is where technology and communication come in.

While we join forces with like-minded stakeholders across the supply chain to drive the demand for sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and sustainable marine fuels (SMF), we’re leveraging myDHLi to enable customers to achieve carbon reduction through carbon insetting. Unlike offsetting, which balances carbon emissions by investing in environmental projects (like tree planting), insetting invests in carbon offset projects within the logistics value chain, so within our industry.

In myDHLi, customers can book SAF for air freight shipments and SMF for both full-container load ((FCL) and less-than-container-load (LCL) shipments. The sustainable fuel may not be physically in the aircraft or vessel that carries their cargo, but insetting ensures it’s purchased and pumped in an engine somewhere in the global supply chain.

The integrated GoGreen Dashboard in myDHLi Analytics ensures you can track your emissions across the supply chain down to a single shipment. That way, you know the carbon footprint of each shipment and the efficiency of the logistics side of your business. This allows you to better understand the sources of your emissions – an essential starting point for planning carbon reduction strategies. And with customizable reports, you can clearly communicate your achievements to all stakeholders.

To deliver features like these and smooth the user experience, we’ve embraced advanced data analytics and AI. We’re utilizing this state-of-the-art technology to increase transparency and enable seamless communication to make lives easier and add value.

Never miss an important milestone. You and your trading partners are always in the loop thanks to our proactive notifications.

A new kind of “Like”

We have always worked very closely with our customers, which is why the success of myDHLi did not come as a huge surprise. We not only developed it with them in mind, but we also developed it with them. So, when we rolled out the portal in May 2020, it was embraced immediately. Now over 10,000 customers in 92 countries use it. The platform also arrived at a crucial moment in logistics history. Many shippers and supply chain managers had become frustrated by snags and hiccups brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

But the numbers only tell part of the story. For most people, the impact of technology and communication in logistics comes down to the ease with which their businesses can benefit from a boost in efficiency, clarity, and speed.

But don’t take our word for it.

“I use myDHLi every morning while having coffee,” said Levent Demirsoy, Logistics Business Support Manager at Kone. “The dashboard is very simple.”

Mike de Beer, Global Category Manager at Prodrive, says myDHLi’s quote feature “saves a lot of phone calls and emails.”

Many users find the social collaboration features especially useful. The ability to easily share important shipment status updates right from the platform – or customize automatic notifications – is a serious time-saver. It also gives them newfound agility to react quickly to supply chain disruptions.

myDHLi – Simply Connected.

Digital logistics boosting your business.

Uwe Brinks and Tim Scharwath at the Digital Summit.

myDHLi Digital Summit 2022

The insights and functionality of cutting-edge technology like myDHLi are becoming benchmarks in the logistics industry, and we have no plans to slow the pace of our digital transformation.

To keep everyone up to date on advances in logistics technology and communication, we’re hosting an annual myDHLi Digital Summit. At the 2nd event held in May 2022, we presented the latest innovations and features and discussed how digitalization helps drive sustainability in logistics.

Watch your logistics stars align

Across the history of global logistics and supply chain management, the rapid pace of innovation has never slowed. That’s why we’ll never stop developing myDHLi and working with customers to ensure they’re getting the most out of the technology and the integrated communication tools.

But you don’t have to wait until the next myDHLi Digital Summit to learn about the platform’s features and benefits. We invite you to navigate your ship to to find out how high tech and creative comms can align your logistics stars.

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myDHLi, a one-stop customer portal that integrates services like online quotation and booking with shipment tracking, document accessibility, and data analyses.

Updated: July 2022

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