May 17, 2020

Oman emerging as new regional logistics centre

APM Terminals
Middle East logistics
2 min
Oman emerging as new regional logistics centre
Follow @SamJermy and @SupplyChainD on Twitter.APM Terminals CEO Kim Fejfer noted plans for further infrastructure investment and the expansion of free t...

Follow @SamJermy and @SupplyChainD on Twitter.

APM Terminals CEO Kim Fejfer noted plans for further infrastructure investment and the expansion of free trade zones as well as regulatory reforms as key factors for the continuing growth of Oman as a gateway and commercial center for the Persian Gulf Region, in a keynote address to the second annual GCC Supply Chain & Logistics Conference in the Sultanate of Oman’s capital city, and cited examples of similar paths to success followed by other regional logistics hubs. 

“Oman has a good opportunity to improve its business environment in terms of ease of doing business, developing integrated transport chains that can even better link road, rail and air transport through a world-class port, capable of accepting the largest vessels in the world and to further develop world-class industrial parks and free zones near these maritime gateways” stated Mr. Fejfer.  He added “by simplifying the business regulatory environment – Oman will attract even more entrepreneurs and capital that will reduce barriers to cross border trade”. 

The Salalah Free Zone plans additional investments totalling $15 billion USD by 2028, with chemicals and materials processing, manufacturing and assembly, and logistics and distribution the specific target market areas. A caustic soda facility and an LPG plant are scheduled to be operational by the end of Phase I of the expansion by 2018. Linking sea and air logistics centers to free trade zones will be an essential component of economic growth.

A 20-year Port Master Plan now in effect through 2030 calls for the development of a Salalah Hub which includes direct rail connections to commercial and population centres within the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), the construction of food processing, distribution and warehousing facilities, and new terminals for cruise ships and liquid bulk storage. An expansion of the port's annual general cargo handling capacity to 20 million tons of dry bulk commodities and more than 6 million tons of liquid products is already underway.

The Port of Salalah, which is managed by APM Terminals, and in which the company holds a 30% share, is one of the most productive container facilities in the Middle East, handling three million TEUs in 2014. The port also handled 10.3 million tons of general cargo for the year, representing an increase of 30% over 2013. Current plans to link the port to the GCC rail network will provide efficient transportation to inland locations while reducing truck traffic and diesel engine emissions.

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Jun 15, 2021

FedEx is Reshaping Last Mile with Autonomous Vehicles

3 min
FedEx is expanding a trial of autonomous vehicles in its last-mile logistics process with partner Nuro, including multi-stop and appointment deliveries

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. 

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