UPS to invest $130mn in alternative fuel fleet this year
The company is to build an additional five compressed natural gas...
UPS has announced plans to invest $130mn into its compressed natural gas (CNG) fleet.
The company is to build an additional five compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations and add more than 700 new CNG vehicles including 400 semi-tractors and 330 terminal trucks.
It builds on previous UPS investments of $100mn in 2016 and $90mn in 2017. UPS will have invested more than $1bn in alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles and fueling stations from 2008 through 2018.
“We strongly believe further investment in our natural gas fleet is a key element to help us achieve our long-term goals for reducing our CO2 emissions,” said Carlton Rose, president, global fleet maintenance and engineering for UPS.
“We demonstrated the effectiveness of natural gas vehicles and fuel in 2017 by using 77 million total gallon equivalents in our ground fleet. UPS is a catalyst for wide scale adoption of natural gas vehicles.”
Building CNG and LNG capacity is an important enabler for increasing UPS’s use of renewable natural gas (RNG). RNG yields up to a 90 percent reduction in lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions when compared to conventional diesel.
Last year, UPS used 15 million gallon equivalents of RNG. The company is the largest consumer of RNG in the transportation sector.
The five new CNG stations will be in Goodyear, Ariz., Plainfield, Ind., Edgerton, Kan., Fort Worth, Texas, and Arlington, Texas.
Four hundred semitractors will be supplied by Freightliner and Kenworth and 330 terminal trucks by TICO. UPS will deploy the new CNG vehicles on routes to utilise the new CNG stations as well as adding to existing natural gas fleets in other UPS locations including Atlanta, Ga., and, Salt Lake City, Utah.
UPS currently operates more than 50 natural gas fueling stations strategically located across the U.S., and, outside the U.S. in Vancouver, Canada, and Tamworth, United Kingdom.
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.