Freightliner complete 'year of investment'
Freightliner, the UK’s largest rail freight operator has completed a ‘year of investment’, spending millions of pounds updating and growing it’s capabilities.
Spanning across the UK, Freightliner operates 104 intermodal daily services over 37 direct routes nationwide, serving all the UK’s major conurbations and carrying 81% of all rail borne maritime containers that enter the UK.
Over the last few months, Freightliner has made a range of investments for the future in its port and terminal network, spending £9 million on new rail head gantry cranes at Southampton Terminal.
Offering an improved the lift rate and expanding capabilities at the terminal, Freightliner claim the new cranes make their service more efficient, spanning 13 roads in comparison to the 7 roads that the previous cranes could facilitate.
This investment follows similar schemes in Birmingham and Manchester over the last few years to update the cranes at two of the company’s busiest inland terminals. Other recent investments have included a new container handling I.T. system which has helped Freightliner to improve terminal and rail operations through a bespoke interface through improving planning of internal IMV movements, reducing downtime, reducing ingate and outgate times and improving reliability across operations. The project represents an advancement in the capability of Freightliner to offer its customers a full e-interface for all of their needs, from overriding product delivery to self-billing.
With new 40ft twin platform wagons and PowerHaul locomotives Freightliner is able to maximise port and inland capacity, reduce CO2 emissions and increase network utilisation by increasing the amount of boxes that can be hauled on one service. Through the offer of the new ground-breaking ‘Shortliner’ services, Freightliner is able to increase the number of 40ft containers hauled per train by over 42% in comparison to a standard Class 66 service hauling 24 wagons, whilst still fulfilling the available 20ft market customer demand.
The new wagons complement Freightliner’s existing 60ft wagon fleet ensuring a dramatically improved utilisation of both 40ft and 20ft containers.
Freightliner has a nationwide port and terminal network operating currently from Felixstowe, Southampton, Tilbury, Thamesport and Seaforth to 14 destinations across the country, nine of which are the Freightliner owned terminals of Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Cleveland, Coatbridge, Doncaster, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester moving over 700,000 containers per year.
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’.