May 17, 2020

Russia hopes to increase use of Northern Sea Route

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Freddie Pierce
2 min
Russia hopes to increase use of the Northern Sea Route
Russia should be developing new transport corridors and upgrading old routes, according to Ambassador Gleb Ivashentsov, director of the Russian Center...

Russia should be developing new transport corridors and upgrading old routes, according to Ambassador Gleb Ivashentsov, director of the Russian Center for APEC studies.

In the run up to this year’s APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Summit, Ivashentsov spoke out about the necessity to develop new transport routes in Russia to avoid losing revenue to other economies.

"The Tran-Siberian Railway, BAM and Russian seaports on the Pacific coast require modernization. It is necessary to develop new transport routes both on the mainland and in the seas washing Russia," Ivashentsov told the press.

Quoted by an online news site, Ivashentsov explained: "If [Russia] does not come up with an initiative, other economies will turn up that will put the initiative forward. They will be seeking transport routes from the Pacific zone to Europe circumventing Russia which naturally damages our interests.”

The bulk of sea cargo from Asia to Europe currently follows two key routes, via the Suez and Panama canals, which are already overloaded.

Ivashentsov believes that new routes should be drawn to ease overloading, and believes that the Northern Sea Route should become one of these.

"This is a very promising task the implementation of which will globally change the correlation of forces in the transportation of cargoes from Asia by sea. In addition, it will give an impetus to the development of promising regions in the Russian Arctic," he added.

Ivashentsov hopes that intensive use of the Northern Sea Route will promote the expansions of Russian projects to develop reserves of hydrocarbons in the Arctic. He believes that the Asia-Pacific region will be the main consumer of these hydrocarbons, and that the Northern Sea Route should be used for delivering them. 

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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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