The impact of emerging and disruptive technologies on freight transportation in the digital era: current state and future trends
Journal article, 2021

Purpose - With various challenges in the digital era, stakeholders are expressing growing interests in understanding the impact of emerging and disruptive technologies on freight transportation. This paper provides a systematic literature review of the current state of affairs as well as future trends and aims to support stakeholders' decision-making in logistics management in the era of disruptive technologies. Design/methodology/approach - Several recent and representative articles from academic, industrial and governmental perspectives were investigated to set the scene for this research and to serve as a baseline for electing nine emerging technologies, which were then used to conduct a systematic literature review covering the literature within the area during the past twelve years. Findings - 3D printing, artificial intelligence, automated robots, autonomous vehicles, big data analytics, blockchain, drones, electric vehicles and the Internet of Things were identified as the emerging technologies. The current state of existing research and potential future opportunities were analyzed. Research limitations/implications - Since the potential literature body is almost impossible to fully cover, a tradeoff between the number of emerging technologies and the related literature reviewed has been performed. However, the paper provides a novel approach to select the emerging and disruptive technologies and a systematic literature review to fill the identified research gap in the related literature. Practical implications -The research support various stakeholders to better capture the current status of and the future opportunities in freight transportation and gain a clearer understanding of the disruptive technologies as well as to guide them in how to deploy these initiatives in future decision-making. Originality/value - By providing a systematic literature review on the trends, themes and research opportunities in the era of disruptive technologies, the papers bring about broad and comprehensive review on the impact of disruptive technologies on logistics and transportation as well as opportunities to support management decision support in the logistics industry.

Systematic literature review

Decision making

Freight transportation

Digital era

Emerging technologies

Disruptive technologies



Chuanwen Dong

ESCP Business School

Asif Akram

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Design and Human Factors

Dan Andersson

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Service Management and Logistics

Per-Olof Arnäs

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics

Gunnar Stefansson

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Service Management and Logistics

University of Iceland

International Journal of Logistics Management

0957-4093 (ISSN) 1758-6550 (eISSN)

Vol. 32 2 386-412

Areas of Advance


Subject Categories

Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified

Environmental Management

Information Systemes, Social aspects



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Latest update

2/4/2022 1