May 17, 2020

Cuba: America’s next shipping hub?

Cuba
USA
freight
Port
Nye Longman
2 min
Cuba: America’s next shipping hub?
The American Government has made it easier for container services calling at US to use Cuba as port of call, which, it is suggested, is a move that coul...

The American Government has made it easier for container services calling at US to use Cuba as port of call, which, it is suggested, is a move that could promote container trade between the two nations.

On Tuesday, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) will begin allowing vessels to transport cargo originating in the US to Cuba and thence to other countries with any remaining cargo that has been loaded at a US port – provided it has been authorised.

According to the Wall Street Journal - at the same time as President Barack Obama’s historic visit to the island, officials from 18 shipping companies toured a number of locations across the country. This included the Port of Mariel; the consortium also met with ProCuba, a Cuban group looking to promote foreign investment in the country.

Aside from investing in equipment to host larger ships, it was highlighted that the island desperately needs to upgrade its land infrastructure to ensure that freight can be transported across land properly – one official even noted that it was faster to transport goods via boat, instead of the country’s road networks.

The Port of Mariel is, however, modern and is due to receive further development from Singapore-based terminal operator PSA International.

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SOURCES: [Wall Street Journal; joc.com

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Jun 15, 2021

FedEx is Reshaping Last Mile with Autonomous Vehicles

FedEx
Logistics
LastMile
AutonomousVehicles
3 min
FedEx is expanding a trial of autonomous vehicles in its last-mile logistics process with partner Nuro, including multi-stop and appointment deliveries

FedEx is embarking on an expanded test of autonomous, driver-less delivery vehicles to develop its last-mile logistics. 

The US logistics firm piloted autonomous vehicles from Nuro in April this year, and the pair will now explore that further in a multi-year partnership. Cosimo Leipold, Nuro’s head of partnerships, said the collaboration "will enable innovative, industry-first product offerings that will better everyday life and help make communities safer and greener". 

FedEx will explore a variety of on-road use cases for the autonomous fleet, including multi-stop and appointment-based deliveries, going beyond more traditional applications of the technology in single-route movement of goods from A-B. Exponential growth in ecommerce is spurring its broader experimentation in new autonomy solutions, Fed-Ex says, both in-warehouse and on-road. 

“FedEx was built on innovation, and it continues to be an integral part of our culture and business strategy,” said Rebecca Yeung, Vice President, Advanced Technology and Innovation, FedEx Corporation. “We are excited to collaborate with an industry leader like Nuro as we continue to explore the use of autonomous technologies within our operations.”

 

The changing role of couriers 

Unlike structured delivery networks, operating under long-term partnerships and contracts, agility is where couriers deliver true value - and their ability to deftly solve last-mile fulfilment has most acutely been felt during the pandemic. For the billions of people around the world forced to stay at home to protect themselves and their communities from the spreading COVID-19 virus, couriers have been a constant. They may have been the only knock at the door some people experienced for weeks or months at a time. 

But the last-mile has been uprooted by a boom in ecommerce, a shift that has been most apparent in the UK, US, China and Japan, according to the Global Parcel Delivery Market Insight Report 2021 by Apex Insight. These are markets with dominant economies and populations used to running their lives with a tap of a screen or double-click of a mouse. 

“Getting last mile delivery right has long been a challenge for retailers,” says Kees Jacobs, Vice President, Consumer Goods and Retail at Capgemini. “In 2019, 97% of retail organisations felt their last-mile delivery models were not sustainable for full-scale implementation across all locations. Despite increasing demand from customers, companies were struggling to make the last mile profitable and efficient.”

Jacobs says that the pandemic alleviated some of these stresses in the short term. With no other option, consumers were understanding and tolerant, if not entirely happy, with longer delivery times and less transparent tracking. “But, as extremely high delivery demand continues to be normal, customers will expect brands to contract their delivery times,” he adds. 

Last mile's role in ESG

Demand and volume weren’t the only things that have changed during the pandemic - businesses looked closer to home and as a result became more sustainable. Bricks and mortar stores were transformed from mini-showrooms to quasi-fulfilment centres. Online retailers and other businesses sought local solutions to ship more faster. In densely populated London, UK alone, Accenture found that delivery van emissions dropped by 17%, while Chicago, USA and Sydney, Australia saw similar emissions savings. 
 

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