DHL and they Hyperloop Pod Competition
In 2013, Elon Musk unveiled the Hyperloop Alpha concept, which proposes the idea of a superfast “Hyperloop pod” transporting passengers or cargo between San Francisco and Los Angeles.
At the sweet speed of 700mph.
Naturally with the mention of cargo, the transport system could easily be used for logistics.
Fast forward three years and logistics giant DHL Express has thoughts on doing exactly that through the Hyperloop Pod Competition.
What is the Hyperloop Pod Competition you say?
SpaceX, the space technology manufacturer and developer, which has dabbled in the transportation of space cargo to the International Space Station, is running the Hyperloop Pod Competition. The competition challenges universities and engineers around the world to design and build the best Hyperloop prototype.
These will then be tested in early 2017 at SpaceX’s newly constructed test track in California.
And, we all love a sequel, due to the popular and overwhelming demand SpaceX has announced the Hyperloop Pod Competition II. This will take place in the winter of 2017.
How does DHL fit into all of this? By delivering an all-important package…
As noted, the moment the words cargo and high speed transport were uttered in the same sentence the world changed. DHL Express, world leader in express and logistics, has offered its support to one particular company which has entered the competition.
The Delft Hyperloop will be transported to California aboard a DHL freighter plane in a specially built flight case that will successfully protect the capsule during travel.
Ken Allen, CEO of DHL Express, aid “In our efforts to stay ahead of the curve, DHL is continuously looking at ways in which our own business could be enhanced or renewed over the near and long-term. As the quickest option, available in today’s world when it comes to global door-to-door transportation, we are also happy to support any initiatives that look to push the boundaries of logistics to new levels of speed and efficiency.
“We therefore welcomed the opportunity to bring our capabilities, knowledge and global network to bear in support of the TU Delft team as they built a viable Hyperloop prototype. We hope that DHL has inspired them with our own logistics performance today and that we have made a contribution to their future success in the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition,”
A powerful partnership…
DHL is the logistics partner of the Delft Hyperloop, taking care of all transportation needs around the project.
The dedicated intercontinental transportation move has involved a number of specific challenges: the cross-border shipping of the original, high-quality technology, built with magnets and batteries, was enabled by DHL’s specific customs expertise and in-depth knowledge of air cargo regulations.
In addition to the physical transportation, DHL has also contributed to the feasibility of the concept and the selection of an economic model. Broad application of the technology for the transport of passengers and freight is an important factor for the economic viability of the hyperloop. DHL has provided the project team with relevant proprietorial data on the use of energy and the environmental impact of air and road transport, supporting the team in their efforts to benchmark the performance of the hyperloop against existing modes of transportation and build a business case for the technology.
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Cainiao Network Launches Customer-Centric Logistics
As the logistics division of the Alibaba Group, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network has decided to provide its Southeast Asian customers with unsurpassed service during its annual shopping festival. Based on customer feedback surveys, the company will expand its real-time customer service support and speed up delivery times. ‘By expanding and deepening our services, we aim to provide a stronger logistics infrastructure that can bolster the booming eCommerce sector, support merchants’ expansion into new markets and diversify retail options for consumers’, said Chris Fan, Head of Cross-Border, Singapore, Cainiao Network.
Who Is Cainiao?
According to TIME Magazine, Cainiao ‘is far from a typical logistics firm’. The company controls an open platform that allows it to collaborate with 3,000 logistics partners and 3 million couriers. This means that merchants can choose the least expensive and most efficient shipping options, based on Cainiao’s real-time logistics analytics. The company’s goal is to ship packages anywhere in the world in under 72 hours—and for less than US$3.00.
For countless small business owners around the world, from coffee-growers to textile-weavers, this could change everything. Usually, it costs about US$100 to ship a DHL envelope from Shanghai to London in five days. Cainiao aims to change that. Said its CEO Wan Lin: ‘The biggest barrier to globalisation is logistics’.
What’s Part of the Upgrade?
Throughout the Tmall festival, Cainiao’s logistics upgrade will be divided into four critical segments:
- Real-time customer service support. Cainiao has launched a direct WhatsApp channel for customers to receive logistics updates and ask questions.
- Expansion of air freight parcel size and weight limits. Packages can now be up to 30 kilograms or 1-metre x 1.6 meters to help ship large items such as furniture.
- Daily air and sea freight connections. Shipping frequency will almost double to seven times weekly to maintain resilience and efficiency.
- Compensation for lost or damaged packages. Customers will be reimbursed up to RMB 2,000 (US$311).
Where is the Company Headed?
From June 1st to June 20th, the finale of Tmall, Cainiao will ensure that its customers feel confident in the company’s ability to deliver their packages. Despite global shipping delays due to COVID, the show will go on. Said Fan: ‘This series of customer-centric logistics upgrades reaffirms our goal of pursuing value-added services to enhance customers’ shopping experience while mitigating challenges posed by external factors’.
Furthermore, Cainiao has recently expanded its Southeast Asian operations, achieving revenue growth of 68% year-over-year. In Malaysia, the logistics operation has partnered with BEST Inc. and Yunda; in Singapore, the company has partnered with Roadbull, Park & Parcel, and the Singapore Post. And if its recent measures help retain and grow its customer base, the company will be well-poised to lead the industry in resilient and customer-centric global logistics. ‘COVID-19 made everyone realise how important the logistics infrastructure backbone is’, said Wan. ‘And it gave us a peek at what Cainiao should look like in three years’.