Back to the future

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The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport predicts that in the future we will
be using smart RFID credit cards that monitor our personal journeys and enable us to
trade individual carbon emissions.
In a special report to mark its 80th anniversary, the institute also suggests that we will
be using door-to-door driverless trains, ships under ‘modern’ sail and distribution
centres and channels running underground.
CILT(UK) president Professor Alan Waller says: “Transport is too cheap as an
ingredient in the supply chain, goods vehicle utilisation is just 20 per cent and the
West is throwing away around one third of the food it produces. This is no post
apocalyptic vision of 2086 but a snapshot of today’s inefficient supply chains. Our
throw-away economy is propped up by a self-indulgent consumerism that is non-
“We have a supply-chain that can deliver strawberries in February and chickens from
Thailand when we rear them just around the corner. Until we as individuals and
collectively as a society radically re-evaluate our lifestyles, there is no way we will be
able to save the planet in the future.”
The 24-page report contains the thoughts of some of the Institute’s leading academics
who ponder the impact of global warming and the sustainability of transport and
logistics in the year 2086.
The report considers scenarios for each mode of transport including fuel-saving
modern ships using giant parachute ‘chambered’ sails Ð leviathan liners or freight
carriers that hold up to 12,000 containers, but travel as fast as lighter vessels by
harnessing the elements.
Just in time delivery could be replaced by less time precious distribution through
tunnels underground from manufacturing and consolidation centres closer to home to
reduce wasteful food miles and cut the 78 billion kilometres of ’empty’ running that
currently takes place across Europe every year.
It could mean the end of the big commute to work as more people live and work
virtually through the web and any miles travelled are measured within individual
carbon parameters, so that when we do create C02 emissions, they can be traded with
each other or sold to the National Grid.
The ‘hardware’ of infrastructure will be replaced by the ‘software’ of people
development to ‘think and plan us out of’ climate meltdown and help better manage
environmental and humanitarian disasters in the future, strategies the Institute already
specialises in, the report says.

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