Thanks to its favorable geographical position, Lithuania is a popular transit point in international trade. Transport corridors cross this Baltic country from East to West and from North to South. For a long time, Lithuania’s geographical position has given the country a strong position on the international logistics market. Lithuania’s ports connect the CIS and Asia with Western Europe and beyond, with most of the goods flowing through them in transit from East to West.
Russia’s 2014 embargo on certain food products significantly affected the transportation market. In 2015, compared to 2013 agricultural and food exports from Lithuania had fallen by 20.7%, practically all of which was due to decreased exports to Russia. How are things looking for the Lithuanian transport and logistics market in 2019? What are the prospects for the Baltic country’s development? AsstrA Vilnius Branch Manager Vilius Augulis shares his thoughts.
Vilius, how has the Lithuanian transportation market changed over the past 5 years?
Previously, Lithuania could get by nicely with the advantages of its geographical location. Cargo flows to the CIS, especially to Russia, almost always passed through our country. The margins were quite high, and there were enough orders for all transport and logistics market players. But the transport market is sensitive to changes, and political and economic conditions in Russia are unstable. In addition, new transport companies are appearing every year. Against the backdrop of reduced traffic volumes, this all leads to an increasingly serious struggle for each new Client. AsstrA-Associated Traffic AG is gradually refocusing on transportation between Europe and the Baltic States. It is the highly competitive market with low margins.
How is AsstrA managing to hold its position under current conditions?
AsstrA-Associated Traffic AG is a progressive logistics partner that keeps pace with the times and actively uses modern IT solutions to optimize business processes. New technologies help almost every business sector, and the transport and logistics industry is no exception. Currently, we are working hard to push forward our “Supplier Cabinet” project, which is one of the company’s key initiatives supporting its strategy to accelerate and automate transport service procurement processes. The development and operation of this class of systems will harness artificial intelligence to provide our customers with the highest service quality levels in transport and logistics while maintaining optimal rates and delivery times. Another important automation initiative the AsstrA Track&Trace mobile application. It is being actively tested now and will be released in different countries, including Lithuania, very soon. Thanks to 24/7 shipment tracking, the company's Clients will receive up-to-date information about the cargo throughout its entire journey. The Track&Trace application will allow you to synchronize cargo location data with warehouse operational processes, inform all stakeholders about possible delays, and make quick decisions about any issues that arise.
What is the main advantage of using such systems?
The main idea of introducing these IT solutions is to integrate our systems with our partners’ systems with as much automation as possible. Here’s an example of how it would work: our Client submits a request directly to our system, and then the freight forwarder confirms it. After that, the order is transferred to the supplier’s office where the necessary details are established for the transportation order. Drivers add all the information about the transportation process into the Track&Trace system, and the Client can watch the entire process online.
Are cutting-edge IT solutions popular among Lithuanian providers of transportation and logistics services?
The Lithuanian transport and logistics industry is worth about 14% of the country’s GDP. Even small efficiency gains can deliver significant value – so new IT solutions are obviously good business for both logistics service providers and companies developing software for them. There is plenty of funding available in the sector to make the necessary investments in technology products. Currently in Lithuania, systems that allow keeping records of driver working times and vehicle location, condition, and speed are gaining popularity. The data gathered can be analyzed by specialists and used to optimize future operations.
How do you see the future of the transport and logistics industry?
If you look far ahead in the future, the introduction of such technologies makes it realistic to consider monitoring an entire transport project with a simple phone application. Ambitious? Definitely! AsstrA experts are not afraid to think big. As a result, ambitions turn into plans allowing you to continuously develop and improve Client satisfaction.