London’s Last Mile Logistic Hub For Sustainable Practices
As we head into the New Year, the world isn’t in the best of shape ─ the effects of 2020 aren’t yet a memory, and unfortunately, it’ll likely plague us across the coming year too. One thing that 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic did show us, however, is the lack of resilience across our supply chain networks, and it exposed - for all to see - the extent of air pollution in populous regions and city centres. Cities like London and San Francisco, in before and after shots, transitioned from grey, smoggy skylines to vibrant blue, haze-free splendidness ─ this, alongside data differences, is pushing governments across the globe to further their pledges on climate change and the banishment of carbon emissions.
Fortunately for London, a new Last Mile Logistic Hub has been approved by the City of London Corporation in a bid to consolidate deliveries and remove pollution-spewing vans from the roads of central London. If ever you’ve been to the Big Smoke, you’ll know that the air quality in the City is noticeably different ─ muggier, almost ─ from less densely populated regions of England, so this is excellent news for those who live, work, or simply visit.
What’s the Plan?
On behalf of London, the Planning and Transportation Committee has approved an initiative that will see 39 parking spaces in the London Wall Car Park transform into a hub for Amazon Logistics, the leading eCommerce retailers logistical arm. Delivery vehicles will deliver packages to the hub, and for the final leg, delivery persons will take them on e-cargo bikes or on foot to the recipient’s door. With this plan in place, the number of delivery vehicles on central London roads will drop exponentially, thus culling excessive carbon emissions in the area.
Further Logistical Expansion
The City of London Corporation aims to deliver two additional Last Mile Logistics Hubs by 2022 and a further five by 2025. Chair of the Planning and Transportation Committee at the City of London Corporation, Alastair Moss, said: ‘The Amazon Last Mile Logistics Hub alone will take up to 85 vehicles off the roads each day, meaning up to 23,000 fewer vehicle journeys in central London every year.
‘The City Corporation’s ambitious Climate Action Strategy sets a target of reaching net-zero carbon emission by 2040 and radical initiatives, such as the Amazon Logistics Hub, will be key in realising that goal.
‘We are determined to deliver better air quality and to improve road safety for our residents, workers and visitors. This commendable scheme delivers on both counts.’
Country Director at Amazon Logistics, Kerry-Anne Lawlor, added: ‘Amazon is excited to have been chosen by the City of London Corporation as its partner for its first Last Mile Logistics Hub, supporting it in delivering freight targets laid out in the Transport Strategy.
‘Amazon is committed to building a sustainable business for its customers and the planet, and last year co-founded The Climate Pledge – a commitment to be net-zero carbon across its business by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement.’
Uber Freight to Acquire Transplace in $2.2bn Deal
Uber Freight is to acquire logistics technology and solutions provider Transplace in a deal worth $2.25bn.
The company will pay up to $750m in common stock and the remainder in cash to TPG Capital, Transplace’s private equity owner, pending regulatory approval and closing conditions.
“This is a significant step forward, not just for Uber Freight but for the entire logistics ecosystem,” said Lior Ron, Head of Uber Freight, and former founder of the Uber-owned trucking start-up Otto.
Uber’s Big Play for Supply Chain
Transplace is one of the world's largest managed transportation and logistics networks, with 62,000 unique users on its platform and $11bn in freight under management. It offers truck brokerage and other capacity solutions, end-to-end visibility on cross border shipments, and a suite of digital solutions and consultancy services.
The purchase is the latest move by parent company Uber, which launched as a San Francisco cab-hailing app in 2011, to diversify its offering and create new revenue streams in all transport segments.
Transplace said the takeover comes amid a period of “accelerated transformation in logistics”, where globalisation, shipping and transport disruption, and widespread volatility are colliding.
Uber Freight plans to integrate the Transplace network into its own platform, which connects shippers and carriers in a dashboard that mirroring the intuitive experience found in its consumer vehicle booking and food ordering services.
“This is an opportunity to bring together complementary best-in-class technology solutions and operational excellence from two premier companies to create an industry-first shipper-to-carrier platform that will transform shippers’ entire supply chains, delivering operational resilience and reducing costs at a time when it matters most,” said Ron.
Frank McGuigan, CEO of Transplace, said the resulting merger will offer enhanced efficiency and transparency for shippers, and benefits of scale for carriers. “All in all, we expect to significantly reduce shipper and carrier empty miles to the benefit of highway and road infrastructures and the environment,” he added.
History of Uber Freight
Uber Freight was established in 2017 and separated into its own business unit the following year. In 2019 the company had expanded across the entire continental US, established a headquarters in Chicago. Later that year it launched its first international division in Europe, initially from a regional foothold in the Nertherlands, and later moving into Germany.
The logistics spinoff attracted a $500m investment from New York-based Greenbriar Equity Group in October 2020, and launched a new shipping platform for companies of all sizes in May, partly in response to a driver shortage in Canada.