This is the first Fr8 Network State of the Union blog post with many more to follow. I plan to share these updates with the Fr8 Network community quarterly and will include announcements detailing upcoming product releases, exciting new partnerships, industry perspectives and more. With this being the first SOTU, I will summarize the year 2018 and continue in 2019 with regular quarterly summary reports.
To begin, let’s look at how the logistics industry has changed over the past year. Our first market being the United States, this post will lean toward the US logistics industry. Overall, it has been remarkably positive. Growth and global trade has increased. Continued challenges with capacity crunches in most modern economies shows the need for addressing driver shortages and lack of supply chain professionals. Although a significant issue, the shortages are a sign of growing levels of demand for logistics services
In the US, exports have grown 14% this year, with GDP growing 2.9%. The rise of e-commerce and projected growth continuing for next year indicates a positive trend for suppliers of logistics services.
Shippers will be affected negatively by all this growth. Shrinking supply of drivers, truck capacity, and warehouse capacity means manufacturers should expect increases in prices for their logistics services. The load-to-truck ratio growing by 21% this year further emphasizes the need for an industry-wide marketplace to efficiently distribute capacity.
Fingers crossed for a reduction in tariffs. Tariffs have been continually shown to do more overall harm than good.
Blockchain has taken off in 2018 in terms of supply chain and logistics projects. Between the announcements by IBM and Maersk regarding the launch of TradeLens, the growing number of blockchain-first supply chain projects, and the shrinking reliance on hype and marketing to generate demand for cryptocurrencies, I expect 2019 to shape up into a very prolific and positive year for the blockchain industry in supply chain.
I personally have experienced my fair share of cryptocurrency hype cycles. Extremes are common, and it always disappoints me to see the market reel from a crash in prices. However, the cycles are necessary for growth in real value, not just hype. Projects that are continuing to build during cycles of downturn are more likely to come out stronger when the market rebounds. I count Fr8 Network among those in the industry as we look to 2019 as a year of continued adoption of our tools and trust in the Fr8 Network brand.
A blog post by Jameson Lopp goes through the numbers of explaining how 2018 was simultaneously the best and worst year for Bitcoin depending on perspective. Growth in interest and funding for blockchain projects has surpassed any prior year. Transactions that use the Bitcoin chain as a “trust anchor” has grown almost 3x since last year, indicating a growing number of uses of the Bitcoin blockchain beyond just BTC transfers.
I’m predicting a steady 2019 with modest growth in crypto-assets. Price stability is positive for the organizations looking to build real products, and weeds out companies with risky business practices that rely purely on the growth of their tokens to fund their endeavors. I’ve personally heard of three projects in Supply Chain and Logistics that have decided to shut down operations because of the crypto market crash.
I expect 2019 to bring a lot of growth for the blockchain and supply chain sectors. With an abundance of interest (BiTA, the largest blockchain-focused supply chain organization has over 400 members in less than 2 years) we will see pilots transition into full scale production platforms.
As for Fr8 Network specifically, I’m thrilled with what we have in store for 2019. Our first product — the Fr8 Carrier Search tool — will be released before the end of Q1 with more details to come over the next month. Our development team is working hard to meet our internal deadline and so far, we have received compliments and great feedback on the current beta version from industry professionals.
For token sale contributors, FR8 Tokens will also be released in tandem with the first product launch. Because of the Fr8 Token’s use as a discount token, contributors to the token sale can hold FR8 Token balances in their accounts to receive up to 100% off the cost of our tools.
Keep a lookout for our upcoming newsletters as we will summarize the token sale thus far and show a sneak peak of the designs for the Fr8 Carrier Search tool.
Sloane Brakeville | CEO & Co-Founder of Fr8 Network