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3D printing - no more small item shipping?
3D printing at a certain point in time will absolutely change the dynamics of supply chain, of which freight is only a part of. It will have a major impact on inventory levels in warehouses, costs related to warehousing and probably the number of warehouses in the network. A first probable application of 3D printing will be in Spare Parts Logistics. Although it will have a significant impact on both logistics costs and service levels, the impact on freight will be more limited. It will probably be those items which are relatively small and rarely used, which will be moved from physical inventory to 3D printing. The impact on long haul freight flows will be there as inventory will be sitting more close to the market, but a necessity for express and overnight deliveries into specific locations will continue to exist.