Skill Up Now to Maintain Your Career in the Freight Forwarding Industry in the Face of the AI Revolution

| Updated on March 21, 2024

Every industry around the world is experiencing a shift because of the AI revolution. You see it changing the transaction processes at your local supermarket. It has already changed how you manage your home. And you may start using robot babysitters for your children in the coming months or years.

The transportation industry is one of the most impacted industries because of this revolution. Previously, it saw how the vehicles were loaded and unloaded and how the goods were tracked from one stop to the next one. Know more about the high demand career positions.

Recent developments have made it possible to remove any human intervention from active operations of this industry. Now, artificial intelligence will drive these vehicles. Does this mean that all drivers working in the transportation and logistics industry will be unemployed soon? Of course not, their role will shift towards the backend of these operations.

This post will discuss this shift in roles in more detail. Also, learn how to upskill to meet the job requirements for modern industries.

Remote Vehicle Assistant

If you are currently working in the transportation or logistics industry as a driver, you will want to get employed in similar fields after the AI revolution. Remote vehicle assistant is an anticipated role that will be primary support to autonomous trucks.

This role will remain in the office of the company and will use sophisticated software to communicate with the truck en route. The AI of the truck may ask different questions about the hazards on the road and you have to evaluate them and answer. For example, you may get a question about a vehicle parked on the road asking if it will move or if it will remain in its position. You will check the movement and reply accordingly.

You can see that the role of these assistants will take information from the driving experience and technical education they received. In other words, you shouldn’t take your HGV theory test practice and practical test preparation lightly just because the industry will change its shape soon. This shift may not grant you a job on the road but will prepare you for an easier career in the office.

This is the best career choice for the next-generation truck drivers but it demands more than just driving skills and knowledge. You will also learn to communicate with the AI. Note that this communication will not be as difficult as programming languages. Rather, you will get the questions and requests from the AI in human language. Yet, the project will include some sort of technicalities.

For example, this job will require you to understand the use of equipment for communication. It will be a computer that will connect to multiple vehicles. Alertness will be a core soft skill required for this job.

Field Service Technicians

The logistics industry is highly capital-intensive. Its storage and packaging functions have already been impacted by automation and programming. The industry has employed robots for years and most of its functions are carried out by machines.

Consequently, the integration of AI-driven trucks will not significantly change the operations and infrastructure. Many roles that will be created from the introduction of driverless vehicles are already operating in this industry but in different departments.

The role of a field service technician is one example of these already established and recognized roles. These technicians are responsible for taking care of the equipment in their area of operations. The only change about this job description will be its expansion to include the repair and maintenance of autonomous vehicles.

Again, this is a highly relevant role for the drivers. However, you will have to broaden your skills to learn more about automation in vehicles and mechanics. If you want to embark on this career, you need to take proactive measures and start early.

You are lucky if the transport industry in your country hasn’t already employed AI to replace drivers. Use this time to learn the mechanics and operations of regular vehicles that are being used these days. You can use these skills to apply for field technician jobs that will offer specialized training.

Make your resume more appealing by learning a little bit about programming and networking. Vehicles may have different repair and maintenance needs on the road and at their station. Their needs will increase with the addition of AI factors in their systems. So, you need to understand not only the conventional systems of these vehicles but also understand the intelligence methods it uses to understand and decide their route. If you are feeling it’s too much to learn, understand that the future is all about integrating multiple skill sets to achieve results.

Functional Safety Engineer

Safety is a key concern for these vehicles. A minor fault in programming or perception can lead to serious accidents on the road. The magnitude and impact of these accidents will increase if the vehicle is sharing the road with regular cars and pedestrians.

Other than software and intelligence-related hazards, these vehicles also face the risk of bad hardware. The job of a functional safety engineer comes in handy in such issues. In the transportation industry, these engineers are trained to detect, indicate, and repair safety issues with the hardware of the vehicle. 

As you have studied safety standards as a part of your HGV licensing tests, you are aware of the different safety standards a truck must fulfill before you take it to the road. But don’t assume that your knowledge about the safety measures is all-inclusive. Instead, this job demands in-depth knowledge of the vehicle system as well as safety issues.

The name of this job suggests that it requires an engineer to do the job. In other words, it’s suitable for those drivers who want to move up the career ladder, leaving their career as a professional driver behind.

They need to start with an engineering degree and move up from there. In other words, this is a perfect job for those who are planning for their careers or who want to transition from a driving job to a technical one. The best time to start pursuing this career is now because you will need at least four years to complete your engineering degree before venturing into the talent market.

As an engineering job, this role will pay higher than your driving job but the hours will not be flexible. You can expect one of the three shifts and a regular predictable work schedule. Most of the tasks will be performed at the company facilities.

Strategic Account Manager

If you have climbed up your career ladder and away from the manual job of driving the trucks to the administrative job of managing and scheduling the trucks, you wouldn’t want to take up an entry-level job. Luckily, you have gotten work in a key role as well.

A strategic account manager is responsible for taking account of key customers and building relationships with them. Whether you work in a logistics company or a transportation business, your business must have clients bringing small and large volumes of revenue.

Some of these businesses work on a larger scale that needs more services than others. Sometimes, these businesses need specialized services with more attention and efficiency. You may receive instructions about the handling of fragile items on the fleet requiring management of fleet, truck, and route accordingly.

Sometimes it’s not about the requirements put forth by the client but offering customized packages, achieving longer-term contracts, and coming up with loyalty-based services to enrich the relationship. All these communications and advocacy on clients’ behalf is the main function of a strategic account manager.

If you are at the right level in your career within the freight forwarding and logistics industry, you will not need much academic background to venture into this career. Note that this role comes under the umbrella of sales-related roles so you will have to show superior communication skills.

You can start building this skill now by volunteering your services in sales and marketing of your company. Or start at some position in the customer relations department. You will be using your knowledge and experience of fleet management to assist the clients which will be a plus that will be unique to you.

Customer Success Field Representative

This is another customer-facing role that is suitable for those drivers who have already progressed to administrative roles in their careers. Unlike the previous job of strategic account management, this job requires keen experience in fleet management and on-site operations.

Note that this role will work alongside the strategic account manager but its scope of operations will be larger as it will deal with all accounts not just strategic ones. At the same time, it will not be carving out contracts and discussing the account’s success strategies with executive management as these are the responsibilities of strategic account managers.

Your duties will be more focused on fleet management and coordinating with the customers about the schedule of their deliveries. They may ask you to handle special concerns regarding the handling of their items.

Perception Engineer

This job is best for those students who are only considering their career choices. If you want to transition out of driving and fleet management roles, you can consider expanding your qualification base by studying for an engineering degree.

The freight forwarding industry will see a rising demand for highly technical jobs in the coming years with the advent of AI. In the short term, these jobs will be highly lucrative and fulfilling. They are best for innovative thinkers as they will require them to think out of the box to get to the solutions. Plus, these roles have a positive outlook in the next few decades as they will help innovators to polish the AI systems and functions in the transportation industry and others.

Some of these jobs – like the role of perception engineer – will not be employed in the freight forwarding industry directly but in the related industry of automobile engineering.

Perception engineers will use perception models to build the ‘senses’ for AI to understand the environment and hazards around them. They can come from different academic backgrounds and their understanding and knowledge will take information from different engineering fields including electrical, mechanical, computational, and automotive engineering.


It appears that the role of drivers is coming to an end in the transportation and logistics industries. For many people, this seems like the end of the world, but it’s not if you know how to cope with this situation. Before looking for relevant opportunities within the same industry, understand that this industry has a positive outlook because of its connection with and impact on the e-commerce industry.

Now we know that this industry will grow in the coming decades, let’s see how we can use this information to help us build a long-lasting career in a seemingly unpredictable future using this post.

Akansha Singhal

EdTech Writer

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