DHL unveils Americas Innovation Center to 'promote future of logistics'
DHL has broken ground on a new Americas Innovation Center in Rosemont, Illinois, which it says “will offer unique insights into the future of logistics”.
Joining the DHL Innovation Center in Troisdorf, Germany, and the Asia Pacific Innovation Center in Singapore, the Americas Innovation Center will exhibit the technologies and innovations in logistics that DHL is already implementing across the region.
On a surface area of 24,000 square feet, the state-of-the-art facility can host trend and innovation events for up to 300 guests with high-tech features and futuristic designs.
The company said it will also foster the development of future logistics and supply chain solutions while serving as a regional platform for collaborative innovation. The opening is planned for summer 2019.
“With our third Innovation Center worldwide, we will be able to create a platform for research and collaborative innovation between DHL customers, start-ups, academia, industry partners, and innovation experts in the Americas region,” commented Matthias Heutger, SVP, Global Head of Innovation & Commercial Development at DHL.
“This visionary innovation center will further promote and nurture our worldwide leading position as the logistics innovation frontrunner in one of our key markets. It will also help us to further build on successful partnerships that we have established with technology leaders and innovative start-ups in the region.”
DHL said it continuously evaluates its innovative customer-centric solutions, already implementing advanced technologies in all of its operations to boost productivity and serve the evolving needs of customers.
Its supply chain arm says it has seen average productivity increases of 15% in trials of augmented reality technology in warehouses, with smart glasses that provide visual displays of order picking instructions and item locations.
It has also deployed drones with surveillance cameras to ramp up security at warehousing sites in Brazil and Mexico.
Robotics, ranked the most important physical technology with 63% in a recent global survey by DHL of about 350 supply chain and operations professionals, also play a significant role in DHL’s innovation activities.
DHL Supply Chain uses collaborative robots designed to help with repetitive and precise tasks, such as picking and packing, in a number of its North American warehouses.
Uber Freight to Acquire Transplace in $2.2bn Deal
Uber Freight is to acquire logistics technology and solutions provider Transplace in a deal worth $2.25bn.
The company will pay up to $750m in common stock and the remainder in cash to TPG Capital, Transplace’s private equity owner, pending regulatory approval and closing conditions.
“This is a significant step forward, not just for Uber Freight but for the entire logistics ecosystem,” said Lior Ron, Head of Uber Freight, and former founder of the Uber-owned trucking start-up Otto.
Uber’s Big Play for Supply Chain
Transplace is one of the world's largest managed transportation and logistics networks, with 62,000 unique users on its platform and $11bn in freight under management. It offers truck brokerage and other capacity solutions, end-to-end visibility on cross border shipments, and a suite of digital solutions and consultancy services.
The purchase is the latest move by parent company Uber, which launched as a San Francisco cab-hailing app in 2011, to diversify its offering and create new revenue streams in all transport segments.
Transplace said the takeover comes amid a period of “accelerated transformation in logistics”, where globalisation, shipping and transport disruption, and widespread volatility are colliding.
Uber Freight plans to integrate the Transplace network into its own platform, which connects shippers and carriers in a dashboard that mirroring the intuitive experience found in its consumer vehicle booking and food ordering services.
“This is an opportunity to bring together complementary best-in-class technology solutions and operational excellence from two premier companies to create an industry-first shipper-to-carrier platform that will transform shippers’ entire supply chains, delivering operational resilience and reducing costs at a time when it matters most,” said Ron.
Frank McGuigan, CEO of Transplace, said the resulting merger will offer enhanced efficiency and transparency for shippers, and benefits of scale for carriers. “All in all, we expect to significantly reduce shipper and carrier empty miles to the benefit of highway and road infrastructures and the environment,” he added.
History of Uber Freight
Uber Freight was established in 2017 and separated into its own business unit the following year. In 2019 the company had expanded across the entire continental US, established a headquarters in Chicago. Later that year it launched its first international division in Europe, initially from a regional foothold in the Nertherlands, and later moving into Germany.
The logistics spinoff attracted a $500m investment from New York-based Greenbriar Equity Group in October 2020, and launched a new shipping platform for companies of all sizes in May, partly in response to a driver shortage in Canada.