Heathrow plans to double cargo capacity, what that means for UK export
The major London airport Heathrow this week announced a revised plan to expand its facilities, including doubling freight handling capacity.
In the plan, it states that 100,000 new jobs are meant to be created throughout the UK which will bring at least £100 billion of UK economic benefits. The figures are part of Heathrow’s revised expansion plans that will be submitted tomorrow to the Airports Commission. The submission follows discussions with local residents and businesses, the public, businesses around the country, passengers, airlines and elected representatives across the UK’s nations and regions.
John Holland-Kaye, development director and chief executive designate of Heathrow, said: “Expansion at Heathrow has national and local support. We have worked closely with local residents, listened to their concerns and improved our plans. Our submission reduces the number of properties that would need to be purchased and the number of people affected by significant noise.
“Our plans are deliverable. Heathrow offers the fastest, most cost effective and practical route to connect the whole of the UK to growth and we have proven our ability to deliver a world-class hub that will make Britain proud. Building on Heathrow’s existing strength will connect the whole of the UK to growth, keep Britain as an ambitious global nation and help the UK win the global race.”
FTA’s Director of Global and European Policy, Chris Welsh, said: “The plans outlined by Heathrow today are very much welcomed by the FTA and echo the findings in our own recent report. We have previously stated that it is imperative that the UK has a single air freight hub, and that Heathrow fulfils that role.
“It is an essential hub of connectivity for passengers and freight, bringing together huge resource, expertise and opportunity in one place.”
FTA’s ‘Sky High Value’ report underlines that 95% of air cargo is carried in the belly-hold of passenger aircraft; air freight accounts for nearly 40% of UK imports and exports by value and employs 39,000 people, most clustered around Heathrow.
Welsh added: “Heathrow is the UK’s main airport hub, but is currently operating at 98% capacity and needs to be able to expand to meet the needs of industry. It is a critical hub for air cargo, offering 191 destinations; it moves 1.5 million tonnes of freight and is vital for UK connectivity to its main overseas markets.”
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, going beyond more traditional applications of the technology in single-route movement of goods from A-B. Exponential growth in ecommerce is spurring its broader experimentation in new autonomy solutions, Fed-Ex says, 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.