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.’
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’.