May 17, 2020

The logistics of Amazon’s new drone delivery service

2 min
The logistics of Amazon’s new drone delivery service
The Seattle retailer hopes to be able to deliver packages within 15 minutes with its fleet of aeroplane-like drones that are able to take off vertically...

The Seattle retailer hopes to be able to deliver packages within 15 minutes with its fleet of aeroplane-like drones that are able to take off vertically and then glide to its destination with a range of 15 miles. This, however, could be disrupted by FAA, which is expected to finalise rules next year that prohibit drones from flying out-of-sight of their operators.

Amazon’s new video to promote its drone delivery service shows the drone carrying a small package within its body, rising horizontally then gliding off to the delivery location. In flight, it’s able to spot hazards such as a hot air balloon and will then scan for somewhere to land to make the delivery.

From the video, it seems that it’s the consumer who will have to select where the drone will land. Some say that in more built up areas this service may involve a central depot much like the delivery lockers that are already available at places such as 7-Eleven.

Amazon hopes that this quick delivery service will help to reduce the amount of trucks on the road and will make deliveries possible where other providers might not be able to.

There are a number of questions surrounding the new promotional video for this service and the obstacles that these drones will have to overcome. It seems they’ll need a wide open area, free of hazards such as pets, telephone lines and trees to land and faster moving objects such as birds may present a problem.

While Amazon is overcoming a number of technological road blocks, it’ll probably still be a number of years before we see deliveries being made in this way on a regular basis.

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Jun 8, 2021

DHL Claim Multi-Sector Collaboration Key to Fighting COVID

3 min
Global logistics leader DHL’s new white paper highlights what supply chain professionals have learned one year into the pandemic

Since January, global logistics leader DHL has distributed more than 200 million doses of the COVID vaccine to 120+ countries around the globe. While the US and UK recently rolled out immunisation plans to most citizens, countries with less developed infrastructure still desperately need more doses. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which currently has one of the highest per-capita immunisation rates, the government set up storage facilities to cover domestic and international demand. But storage, as we’ve learned, is little help if you can’t transport the goods.


This is where logistics leaders such as DHL make their impact. The company built over 50 new partnerships, bilateral and multilateral, to collaborate with pharmaceutical and private sector firms. With more than 350 DHL centres pressed into service, the group operated 9,000+ flights to ship the vaccine where it needed to go. 


Public-Private Partnerships

With new pandemic knowledge, DHL just released its “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience” white paper, which examined the role of logistics and supply chain companies in handling COVID-19. As Thomas Ellman, Head of Clinical Trials Logistics at DHL, said: “The past one year has highlighted the importance of logistics and supply chain management to manage the pandemic, ensure business continuity and protect public health. It has also shown us that together we are stronger”. 


Multisector partnerships, DHL said, enabled rapid, effective vaccine distribution. While international scientists developed a vaccine in record time—five times faster than any other vaccine in history—manufacturers ramped up production and logistics teams rolled out distribution three times faster than expected. When commercial routes faced backups, logistics operators worked with military officers to transport vaccines via helicopters and boats. 


In the UAE, the public-private HOPE Consortium distributed billions of COVID-19 doses to its civilians as well as other countries in need by partnering with commercial organisations such as DHL. For the first time, apropo for an unprecedented pandemic, logistics companies made strong connections with public health and government.


“While the race against the virus continues, leveraging the power of such collaborations and data analytics will be key”, said Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL and Head of DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. “We need to remain prepared for high patient and vaccine volumes, maintain logistics infrastructure and capacity, while planning for seasonal fluctuations by providing a stable and well-equipped platform for the years to come”. 


How Do We Sustain Immunisation? 

By the end of 2021, experts estimate that we need approximately 10 billion doses of vaccines—many of which will be shipped to areas of the world, such as India, South Africa, and Brazil, that lack significant infrastructure. This is perhaps the greatest divide between countries that have rolled out successful immunisation programmes and those that have not. As Busch noted, “the UAE’s significant investments in creating robust air, sea, and land infrastructure facilitated logistics and vaccine distribution, helping us keep supply chains resilient”. 


Neither is the novel coronavirus a one-time affair. If predictions hold, COVID will be similar to seasonal colds or the flu: here to stay. When fall comes around each year, governments will need to vaccinate the world as quickly as possible to ensure long-term immunisation against the virus. This time, logistics companies must be better prepared. 

Yet global immunisation, year after year, is no small order. To keep reinfection rates low and slow the spread of COVID, governments will likely need 7-9 billion annual doses of the vaccine to meet that mark. And if DHL’s white paper is any judge of success, multi-sector supply chain partnerships will set the gold standard.

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