General Motors launches BrightDrop to electrify deliveries
In an announcement made by General Motors (GM), the company reported the launch of its new business - BrightDrop.
The new business offers an ecosystem of electric first-to-last-mile products, software and services to empower delivery and logistics companies to be more efficient.
Born out of GM’s Global Innovation organisation, BrightDrop joins the automotive manufacturer’s lineup of recently launched startups including OnStar Insurance, OnStar Guardian and GM Defense. The company reports from a strategy standpoint GM reports that the business will unlock B2B areas, the capability to expand the Ultium platform, as well as software and service opportunities.
“BrightDrop offers a smarter way to deliver goods and services. We are building on our significant expertise in electrification, mobility applications, telematics and fleet management, with a new one-stop-shop solution for commercial customers to move goods in a better, more sustainable way,” commented Mary Barra GM Chairman and CEO.
GM estimates that by 2025, “the combined market opportunities for parcel, food delivery and reverse logistics in the U.S. will be over US$850bn.” In addition the reports that demand for urban last-mile delivery, fueled by e-commerce, is expected to grow by 78% by 2030, leading to a 36% increase in delivery vehicles in the top 100 cities.
To help meet the surge in demand as well as reduce the impact on the planet, BrightDrop is working to develop an integrated set of solutions to improve first-to-last-mile delivery.
Suez Canal expansion plans greenlit by Egyptian president
The Suez Canal is to undergo a two-year expansion project, following the weeklong closure of the channel by the stranded Ever Given container ship in March.
Plans set forth to expand narrow sections of the Suez Canal have been greenlit by the Egyptian president to safeguard against future blockages.
Dredgers will widen and deepen the single-lane stretch close to the southern mouth of the canal, near where the 400m container ship got wedged earlier this year, while a second lane opened in 2015 will be extended to promote two-way traffic and alleviate the impact of bottlenecks.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi gave the order to “immediately start implementing the proposed development plan and put in place a timetable for completion as soon as possible”, according to reports. It is understood he expects the work to be fully completed within two years.
Ever Given negotiations rage on
The Ever Given left hundreds of ships stranded and disrupted an estimated $9.5bn in goods each day when it became wedged across a narrow passage of the trade route in March. After a week of dredging, towing and manoeuvring, it was eventually freed from the banks of the Suez Canal in the early hours of 29 March and set course of the Bitter Lakes holding area.
There the vessel, its crew and its cargo have remained ever since, while legal action between Egyptian authorities and the ship’s owners rages on, though SCA chairman and Managing Director, Admiral Osama Rabie, refutes allegations that crew have been detained.
“[There] is no truth in the allegations of detaining the ship crew, pointing to that the SCA does not mind the departure or recrew operations provided the presence of the sufficient number of sailors to secure the vessel and in the light of the presence of the ship captain as he stands as the juridical guardian of the ship and the cargo aboard,” Rabie said in a statement.
The SCA initially sought $916m in compensation to cover refloatation costs, including repairs where the channel was damaged to move the vessel, bonuses for the rescue crews who worked throughout the jam, and a package for “loss of reputation”.
Now the SCA and its chairman and Managing Director, Admiral Osama Rabie, have agreed to reduce the bill by a third. The authority has reportedly offered payment terms for the $600m to the Ever Given’s owner Shoei Kisen. Shoei Kisen has also declared a general average on the goods on board, with shippers liable to shoulder a significant outlay to get the 18,000-plus containers aboard to their final destination in the Nertherlands.