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From Last Mile to All-the-Miles

The innovative giants Alibaba, Amazon and have transformed, and continue to perfect, the “last mile” logistics. They have achieved this feat mostly by handling data in new ways. These players seem now to be moving towards the space in between: the global movement of goods. This space accounts for about 90% of the logistics’ industry global revenue. Yet, as discussed in a recent article in The Economist, the industry is plagued by administrative backwardness, such as the extensive paperwork trail. As such, despite the many challenges, digitization of the global movement of goods holds great potential.

Amazon, in particular, is slowly putting into place the building blocks to become an e-commerce platform connecting consumers in one country to merchants in another, evolving from an e-commerce platform into a global logistics operation. In the coming weeks, Amazon is holding an event in Hangzhou, China, to discuss with 400 Chinese manufacturers buying trends among American and European consumers and to get them ready for the 2018 holiday season. Besides China, Amazon has been focusing on Australia, India, Latin America e the Middle East. According to DHL, this cross-border e-commerce is one of the fastest growth opportunity in retail and stems from consumers growing appetite to purchase abroad products not available at home or available abroad for better prices.

If, through new ways of handling data and other innovations, the potential new entrants succeed in making global shipments more responsive, it will likely have implications beyond logistics. In addition, it will also expand the possibilities for e-commerce.

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