June 24 2013 08:39 AM

The next 100 years will have as much impact as the last 200on the world’s logistics. 

The first steamship was in 1776, the original steam locomotive debuted in 1804, the Wright brother’s first flight was in 1903, and the model T by Henry Ford went into production in 1908. This began the major modes of transportation with innovation and improvements being made quickly ever since.
On the plus side, we are witnesses to rapid advances in vehicles that don’t need drivers, innovations in space, 3D printing and numerous technology improvements. On the minus side fuel is rising in cost, depleting in quantity, and has negative implications on the ecology. The positives and negatives both provide ample invitations to ingenuity.

Clearly, our industry will change rapidly; the real question is, will it be in incremental such as in hybrid vehicles or massive like a much less expensive energy source.

Frictionless energy was first expressed in Sir Isaac Newton’s 1666 work defining gravity as not limited to something in sight like an apple, but could extend much farther, for instance, to the moon. Newton also defined three laws: 

1) A body at rest stays at rest (inventory in your warehouse)
2) A body in motion tends to stay in motion unless affected by outside forces like gravity (shipping)
3) Every action creates an equal and opposite reaction (prices increase and volume drops)

Albert Einstein’s work on Special Relativity concerning the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies was published in 1905. General Relativity that includes gravitation was essentially endorsed as the foundation for physics since 1960. 

The future is incredibly bright:
In addition to here on earth, there are fortunes to be made out of this world. NASA served as a great seed starter and there are now dozens of space projects underway. Many are startups by entrepreneurs funded by venture capital. Some very well capitalized companies are involved to: Boeing, Fokker, Ford, Hawker, Hughes, Mitsubishi, Northrup Grumman, RCA, SpaceX (CEO is Elon Musk who started both PayPal and Tesla), TRW and Virgin.

There are at least 58 countries working various projects related to space. The top 10 leaders all have at least a billion dollars invested: USA, UK, China, Japan, Russia, European Space Agency, India, Germany, France and Italy. Countries like Iran and North Korea are also actively working on this.

Space travel, communications, freight movement, mining and defense (against asteroids, meteors, terrorists-this world and others) are all strong growth industries. Companies will design, manufacture and sell vehicles, launchers and space stations. Rovers for new surfaces, technology for mining, space craft components and propulsion equipment are all at various stages. 

Manufacturing in space will begin to occur; we are seeing the beginnings of it with testing, mass production in a weightless environment will be beneficial for some products. Science, engineering, software, manufacturing and state incentives are all being worked on. Our world of geographic countries, laws, patents and even citizenship will all change rapidly.

Logistics and its expansive umbrella, the supply chain, will be needed across the board.

Do you think the work we will be doing out of this world will solve the problems we currently have here on earth? It will probably solve some and create others we have yet to anticipate. 

I just checked and GoDaddy wants $2500 for the domain name XPspace.com, so someone is very optimistic. Ingenuity comes in a lot of forms. 

Lead or hang on for the ride of your life.

Rob Shirley is President of ExpresShip, a consultancy in the inter-global supply chain. Contact rsxpship@gmail.com or www.xpship.com