What is DHL Supply Chain’s new European Fulfilment Network?
DHL Supply Chain today launched a new service called European Fulfilment Network (EFN), a nexus of e-fulfilment centres spread across Europe.
The service will benefit the growing number of small and medium retail businesses that now rely heavily on online sales and deliveries amid COVID-19 restrictions to remain a going concern and drive growth - as a result placing themselves in direct competition with the world’s biggest marketplaces and omni-channel retail outfits.
Businesses can leverage DHL’s scale, accelerate and standardise delivery times for end-consumers, and in some cases cut costs through sidestepping international shipping fees and intermediaries. A pilot customer improved its cost to serve across Europe by 30%, DHL reports, mainly due to shipping through domestic rates rather than international ones.
What is the European Fulfilment Network?
At a glance:
- 30 fulfilment centre across Europe
- Key locations: Paris, Moscow, Berlin, Madrid
- Processing, picking, packing and shipping online orders
- Benefits for new Brexit obstacles
The EFN comprises 30 fulfilment centres across continental Europe and the UK. These are part of DHL’s pan-Europe network and have been chosen due to their strategic position in major cities and population centres, including Paris, Moscow, Madrid, Berlin, Rome and Amsterdam. The centres all offer specialisations in processing, picking, packing and shipping online orders and are located in close proximity to other delivery services.
Ultimately the EFN allows SMEs to take advantage of “all of our established services in a way that is flexible and tailored to their needs”, says Hendrik Venter, CEO DHL Supply Chain MLEMEA. “We can support customers across the entire supply chain – from inbound handling and storage, pick and pack, last-mile delivery as well as returns handling.”
This approach will put SMEs on more level footing with multinational ecommerce giants who can afford to operate in multiple markets and commit to next-day deliveries, a timeframe which is fast becoming industry standard and an expectation of consumers. DHL customers can also tailor the service to specific regions or countries as necessary, as well as scale up to match order volumes.
Brexit now poses new hurdles for businesses to clear at EU-UK customs, with regulation and paperwork already impacting supply chains and slowing the transfer of goods. DHL says its service will help businesses on both sides of the equation that require greater supply chain resiliency and the flexibility to react to volume fluctuations.
“Reducing dependency on individual markets and geographies, and having multiple stock points in different countries has been accelerated by the pandemic, and that’s here to stay,” says José Nava, CEO DHL Supply Chain UK & Ireland. “Proximity to the market and having a scalable network solution will bring huge benefits.”
Suez Canal expansion plans greenlit by Egyptian president
The Suez Canal is to undergo a two-year expansion project, following the weeklong closure of the channel by the stranded Ever Given container ship in March.
Plans set forth to expand narrow sections of the Suez Canal have been greenlit by the Egyptian president to safeguard against future blockages.
Dredgers will widen and deepen the single-lane stretch close to the southern mouth of the canal, near where the 400m container ship got wedged earlier this year, while a second lane opened in 2015 will be extended to promote two-way traffic and alleviate the impact of bottlenecks.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi gave the order to “immediately start implementing the proposed development plan and put in place a timetable for completion as soon as possible”, according to reports. It is understood he expects the work to be fully completed within two years.
Ever Given negotiations rage on
The Ever Given left hundreds of ships stranded and disrupted an estimated $9.5bn in goods each day when it became wedged across a narrow passage of the trade route in March. After a week of dredging, towing and manoeuvring, it was eventually freed from the banks of the Suez Canal in the early hours of 29 March and set course of the Bitter Lakes holding area.
There the vessel, its crew and its cargo have remained ever since, while legal action between Egyptian authorities and the ship’s owners rages on, though SCA chairman and Managing Director, Admiral Osama Rabie, refutes allegations that crew have been detained.
“[There] is no truth in the allegations of detaining the ship crew, pointing to that the SCA does not mind the departure or recrew operations provided the presence of the sufficient number of sailors to secure the vessel and in the light of the presence of the ship captain as he stands as the juridical guardian of the ship and the cargo aboard,” Rabie said in a statement.
The SCA initially sought $916m in compensation to cover refloatation costs, including repairs where the channel was damaged to move the vessel, bonuses for the rescue crews who worked throughout the jam, and a package for “loss of reputation”.
Now the SCA and its chairman and Managing Director, Admiral Osama Rabie, have agreed to reduce the bill by a third. The authority has reportedly offered payment terms for the $600m to the Ever Given’s owner Shoei Kisen. Shoei Kisen has also declared a general average on the goods on board, with shippers liable to shoulder a significant outlay to get the 18,000-plus containers aboard to their final destination in the Nertherlands.