Piracy costs global shipping $9B each year
Some might be inclined to make a pirate joke to kick off this piece, but shipping leaders see the issue of piracy as no laughing matter.
Indian ship owners this week said that piracy is costing the global shipping trade more than $9 billion every year, and are demanding that the United Nations set up an ocean fleet to patrol and handle the pirates off the Somalian coast in the Indian Ocean.
The ship owners cite increased insurance costs, longer shipping routes, armed guards and ransoms paid as the reasons that Somalian piracy is driving up cost for international shippers.
Currently, Somalian pirates have 26 ships and 600 crew members in captivity. Somalia hasn’t had an effective government since 1991, and pirates have found a safe haven to wreak havoc on global shipping operations from the Horn of Africa haven.
According to Anil Devli of the Indian National Shipowners Organization, rigorous international enforcement to disrupt the piracy is needed in sea lanes in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean.
“What is happening today is that various navies are providing escort services to ships along certain sea corridors,” Devli told the Associated Press. “We believe a UN effort would resolve the issue quickly and at much less cost than what the world economy is spending due to piracy.”
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Devli continued to say that UN appointed armed forces would have a legal mandate to board suspicious ships, as well as armed naval vessels capable of attacking pirate vessels.
The Indian National Shipowners Organization has also asked the UN to impose a “no ship zone” off Somalia to prevent pirate ships from sailing Somalian waters.
Some shipping companies in India have already seen success derived from armed escort services, which the Indian government asked shipowners to employ earlier this year. Those shippers say that the move has been effective in helping prevent hijackings and piracy efforts.
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, beyond the boundaries mass movement of goods from A-B. The logistics company says the exponential growth in ecommerce is spurring its experimentation in new autonomy solutions, 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.