May 17, 2020

Hyperloop Could be Here in 3 Years; What to Expect

Supply Chain
Christopher Jablonski,  Direc...
4 min
Birds-eye view of a potential Hyperloop station.
By Christopher Jablonski,Director of Content and Communications, Tradeshift

It seems as if a day does not go by without a new potential route announced...

By Christopher Jablonski,  Director of Content and Communications, Tradeshift 

It seems as if a day does not go by without a new potential route announced for the Hyperloop. The seemingly far-fetched is now being taken seriously as a transformative tool for moving goods and people on the surface of the planet at speeds previously unrealized. Just this month Hyperloop One announced the plans to build three hyperloops in the United States. And this is just the beginning.

It’s hard to believe that it was only four years ago that the sci-fi idea was made serious. “Short of figuring out real teleportation, which would of course be awesome (someone please do this), the only option for super fast travel is to build a tube over or under the ground that contains a special environment.” In August of 2013, Elon Musk released this statement upon unveiling a potential solution for long distance travel: Hyperloop.

In the near future, we will be throttling goods at the speed of sound through a vacuum tube in capsule-shaped pods. The first Hyperloop route is scheduled to be built between Abu Dhabi and Dubai by 2021. All aspects of trade - routes, methods, and requirements - are about to see one of the most dramatic shifts to date. The following are just three impacts that we can expect from a supply chain point of view.

Shipping and logistics is going to be dramatically disrupted

Even though an actual working Hyperloop is still years away, shipping and logistic players should take note. Bibop Gresta, Deputy Chairman, COO & “Chief Bibop Officer” at Hyperloop Transportation Technologies explained very simply: “Moving goods at the speed of sound is disruptive by definition. It is not about speed only, because the freight industry is about how cheap you can move kilograms per minute. So we are the cheapest system on land.” Moving goods cheaply and efficiently through the Hyperloop will likely become a reality by 2020; shipping and logistics providers will need to stay abreast to this new technology to survive. Failing to adopt this new technology could prove disastrous for providers who intend to stay relevant in this competitive market. As Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, chairman and chief executive of DP World, one of the world’s largest port operators said: “We have to be creative to sustain our business.”

Human involvement in trade is going to decrease

One of the main benefits that the Hyperloop system offers is its removal of human error. By having a closed system that does not allow for human nor external interference, the Hyperloop is a step towards a safer means of transportation. This added security and safety, combined with the increased accuracy a machine provides, might lead to the decrease in humans labor. This brings down the overall cost of transporting goods.

The Silk Road won’t be the only revamped trade route in the east

China has starred on the global trade stage within the past year. With a complete revamp of the old Silk Road trade route on the horizon, it’s safe to say that this will be the biggest innovation since we went from sails to steam. In addition to traditional routes, China’s trade with Russia has blossomed thanks to booming logistics hubs in cities such as Hunchun, which is strategically located near the Russian and North Korean borders. Given the rough weather conditions this location faces during the winter months, an alternate, closed-system transportation is an ideal solution to enabling this trade route year round. Hence why a Hunchun-Zarubino Hyperloop is the proposed transit method, which has already received the green light from Russian and Chinese authorities.

2020 is approaching fast. As current systems fail to meet the needs of population growth, the private sector and foreign governments are combining forces in improving transportation infrastructure and lowering the barriers for cross-border innovation. It’s important to keep in mind that as these changes to shipping and logistics occur, embracing change, rather than combatting it, will be favorable in the future.


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Jul 30, 2021

QR technology: The Bridge to a Sustainable Fashion Industry

6 min
Supply Chain Digital discusses how the fashion industry supply chains can create a more circular economy and be more sustainable with QR code technology

As one of the top polluting industries, Sara Swenson, Global Senior Manager Sustainability at Avery Dennison explains “there's debate whether it's the third, fourth or fifth most polluting industry, but it's generally well known that about 4% of global carbon emissions and about 20% of water pollution comes from the fashion supply chain. So obviously it’s massive. On the US side, we dispose of about 70 pounds, which is about 30 to 32 kilogrammes clothes every year. So it's a growing impact that has dramatically started impacting the world.”

Could Technology be the Answer to Sustainability Challenges?

Year after year, over 100 billion new garments are made, with US$450bn worth of textiles thrown away around the world. The emergence of a ‘fast fashion’ society has resulted in the average person not only buying 60% more clothes than in 2000 but also discarding more. On average, a family in the Western World throws away 30kg of clothing a year, with only 15% being recycled or donated. 

“Over the past 20 years, environmental issues have ramped up and ‘fast fashion’ is partly to blame,” says Swenson. “Fast fashion has changed the mindset of how quickly styles and consumers want to update their clothing lines. But over the past 20 years, consumers purchased about 60% more clothes than we did in 2000 and we're not circulating those materials back in. They're really going in a linear fashion: take, make and waste out. 

“We've really switched from having high quality garments to lower quality, more plastic based garments, and out of those that are manufactured every year, about 30% are just overstocked, they're never even sold. So there's all these waste stitches along the supply chain that need to be figured out, and then the recirculation of those raw materials back into the supply chain. None of that's happening with fast fashion, because everything is done so quickly and consumers want new products so much faster than ever before.”

Adopting a circular economy approach, instead of a linear one can help the fashion industry to become more sustainable. “A Circular economy is really about designing out that waste and pollution that I was talking about within the supply chain, and then keeping those products and materials in use for as long as possible, and then regenerating them back into the supply chain at the end of their life,” says Swenson who strongly believes that this is important to do, “because A: we all know the risks to the environmental factors, and then B: customers and consumers want us to solve these problems. We're getting more and more educated consumers that are willing to dive into the data. Brands are no longer able to greenwash and say, ‘Hey, we're doing something sustainable’, they actually have to prove they’re doing something sustainable with the data that backs it up or approves it.” 

Mobile Technology: The Future of Sustainable, Transparent and Ethical Fashion

With 60% of consumers valuing brands that are transparent about their operations, fashion brands are turning to mobile technology such as QR Codes and NFC tags to provide their customers with end-to-end information on the product they have purchased from raw materials and production, right through to distribution and beyond. 

“Technology is probably going to be the easiest way to create data to show that brands are making more sustainable actions, that they are not just greenwashing their sustainability progress. It also gives supply chain stakeholders the right to ask questions and engage, as well as consumers to understand ‘if you make this choice in how you're going to dispose of our garments, this is going to be your environmental impact. So it provides the right data that's available to both the consumer and the brand and other stakeholders to make those choices,” says Swenson.

“Right now we're asking stakeholders to make choices without data and without an easy solution. Consumers are not going to go through extensive links to find the right recycler, or find the right reseller. But if that information is at the tip of their fingers, on the garments that they can access, then they're much more likely to make those appropriate environmental decisions as well.”

With it still being legislation to have physical care and contents information written on a garment, Swenson adds that “many brands are now adding a QR code with information such as how to better wash your garment, how to take care of it so that it has a longer life, the benefits of high quality garments that you want to dispose of, but is still good quality to resell, how to brand authenticate it, and then how it can be recycled at its end of life.”

Whilst Swenson explains that “labels are by no means the solution that is going to solve everything in the apparel supply chain, it is the place that most people go to find more information on their environment.”

Fashion brands adopting QR and NFC technology include PANGAIA, Sheep Inc., and Skopes.


In May 2021, materials science company - PANGAIA - partnered with EON to create ‘digital passports’ for its products. The lifestyle products brand uses QR code technology to accelerate greater transparency, traceability and circularity in the fashion industry, inspiring responsible consumer choices. 

QR codes are printed directly onto the care labels unlocking a bespoke digital experience when scanned with a mobile phone. The experience takes the customer on a journey from the product's origin through to purchase, dyeing, production, distribution, transportation and aftercare. 

The digitalisation of this experience allows customers to be updated in real-time, bridging the gap towards a full circular model, providing authenticity and visibility of lifecycle data.

Sheep Inc.

Also partnering with EON, Sheep Inc. - the world’s first carbon-negative fashion brand - is leveraging a bio-based NFC tag that provides each customer with a unique ID to trace and discover their product's supply chain journey.

The knitwear company leverages this technology to communicate with their customers the product’s carbon footprint at each stage of its supply chain journey from raw materials to manufacturing, distribution, and approximate usage. 

“Finding out how well or badly a brand has behaved shouldn’t have to turn into an exploratory mission. It should be instantly visible when you go to buy a garment.” commented Edzard van der Wyck, CEO and Co-Founder of Sheep Inc., on the partnership. “We need to get to the stage where brands give customers the full, non-redacted picture of the journey and the impact behind the things they buy.”


In 2020, Leeds-based brand - Skopes - coincided with the launch of its first sustainably sourced suit collection - made using plastic bottles - with its use of care labels with QR codes allowing customers to see exactly how and where their suits are made.

“We are really keen to reduce our environmental impact and have developed this collection diligently with Lyfcycle over the past 18 months,” commented Nick McGlynn, head of buying at Skopes, on the launch. “The aim with Lyfcycle is to create a fully self-sufficient, transparent loop of sustainable and traceable sourcing, production and delivery,” adds McGlynn.

Concluding on the future for this technology Swenson says, “the industry has made huge strides, and I think with technology and the availability of tracing and triggers on garments to hold that data, I think it really helps jump the industry forward into providing some actionable data that can be used to showcase a lot of their great efforts that are going unnoticed now, or focus on what they're not doing and that they need to increase, increase what they are doing because  it's not working for their consumers or garments aren't getting where they need to go. So some pretty exciting stuff is finally happening in this.”

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