FedEx delivers two giant pandas to Scotland
FedEx Express, the world's largest express transportation company, announced the safe arrival of two giant pandas, Tian Tian, an eight year-old female panda, and YangGuang, an eight year-old male panda from Chengdu’s Bifengxia Panda Base to Edinburgh International Airport in Scotland.
Managed by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) and the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA) in China, the specially chartered Boeing 777F flight known as the “FedEx Panda Express” landed in Scotland yesterday, and marks the first time in more than 17 years that giant pandas will reside in the UK.
The non-stop flight was chartered especially for the VIPs—Very Important Pandas—and the pair travelled in custom-built enclosures provided by FedEx Express. The in-flight meals of bamboo, apples, carrots, a special panda cake and mineral water were served to the pandas, who spent the journey eating snacks and snoozing. Tian Tian and Yang Guang were accompanied by a veterinarian and two animal handlers from Edinburgh Zoo and the Bifengxia Panda Base to look after their needs throughout the journey.
FedEx Express donated its logistical services for the transportation, providing an expert team to ensure the rare animals’ safety. During the flight, the pandas were in the safe hands of seasoned pilots Captain Paul Cassel, Captain Bob Gasko, Captain Jim Gorman and Captain Bill McDonald, who all have extensive experience in transporting some of the world’s most precious cargo, ranging from white rhinos to penguins.
The pandas continued their journey in a specially-decaled FedEx Express vehicle to deliver them to their new home at Edinburgh Zoo. The Lothian and Borders Police Force were also on hand to ensure a smooth ride. Upon arrival, the pandas will reside together in Edinburgh Zoo’s specially-built giant panda enclosure.
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FedEx Express has a long history of transporting rare and delicate cargo. In Feb. 2010, FedEx Express transported Tai Shan, a male panda born at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., U.S., and Mei Lan, a male panda born at Zoo Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., back to China. In 2003, FedEx Express transported two giant pandas from China to the Memphis Zoo in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S. In 2000, FedEx Express transported Tai Shan’s parents from China to Washington, D.C.’s National Zoo.
Exotic cargo transported by FedEx Express has included polar bears, white tigers, elephants, penguins, mountain lions, gorillas, eagles and even a 13-foot tiger shark used in filming the movie “Jaws.”
Other unusual international cargo transported by FedEx Express includes a windmill from Denmark, the Ryder Cup and a vintage Jaguar Le Mans car worth over £1 million.
Edited by Kevin Scarpati
FedEx is Reshaping Last Mile with Autonomous Vehicles
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.