May 17, 2020

Descartes Systems announces acquisition of Velocity Mail

Descartes Systems
Velocity Mail
Carrier
Finance
Sophie Chapman
2 min
Descartes Systems paid $25.5mn for Velocity Mail in cash
The logistics and supply chain management software has announced its acquisition of certain assets of Velocity Mail, the transportation network.

The de...

The logistics and supply chain management software has announced its acquisition of certain assets of Velocity Mail, the transportation network.

The deal has been valued at US$25.5mn and has been paid in cash. The finance was provided by Descartes’ existing acquisition of line of credit.

Velocity Mail has worked to connect commercial airlines and logistics partners with government postal authorities for more than 15 years.

Through the network company – headquartered in Denver, Colorado – carriers are able to monitor and track shipments more accurately in real time.

“With more than 60% of cross-border ecommerce transactions shipped using postal providers, the growth of ecommerce has fuelled an increase in the market for Velocity Mail’s solutions,” said Ken Wood, EVP of Product Management at Descartes.

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“Global air carriers need to have access to timely and reliable information about the movement of mail and parcel shipments to operate efficiently and meet postal authority service level agreements. Velocity Mail’s network operates with similar fundamentals to the Descartes Global Logistics Network (GLN).”

“It helps parties connect and share information, while value-added business applications that are part of the network leverage that information to increase efficiencies and improve decision-making.”

“Global air carriers and their partners are key constituents on our Global Logistics Network,” said Edward J. Ryan, Descartes’ CEO.

“By combining Velocity Mail’s solutions with the Descartes Global Air Messaging Gateway, the air carriers will now have one platform to manage the lifecycle of all shipments, both ecommerce focused mail and parcel shipments and larger freight shipments.”

“The combination also strengthens our position in the growing global ecommerce market.”

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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, beyond the boundaries mass movement of goods from A-B. The logistics company says the exponential growth in ecommerce is spurring its experimentation in new autonomy solutions, 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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