First overland delivery Europe-China completed in 12 days
Dutch company Alblas operated the first overland delivery of European goods to China, which arrived last week, safe and completely intact. It only took 12 days for the Dutch truck carrying automobile lubricant to complete its journey from Germany to Western China, via Poland, Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan- a total of 7,400 km. China has long been planning to use this route to tap into Western markets as part of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), but Europe wants to ensure that the new silk road route functions both ways, particularly since China ratified the TIR Convention (1975) in 2016.
China made its first overland delivery under this convention last year, which reached its destination in Poland in 13 days. Both of these pilot trips were conducted by Alblas and have shown that both routes are “ready to become fully operational.” Alblas claims that the door-to-door costs and delivery times associated with road transport are “highly competitive compared to other modes of transport.” The World Transport Organization IRU stated that costs could be reduced by 50% compared to aviation by using road transport and deliveries would be ten days faster than by rail.
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Brexit no-deal risk update: UK is short of pallets needed for exports to the EU
It has recently come to the attention of UK ministers that the UK does not currently have enough of the pallets needed for exporting to the EU in the case of a no-deal Brexit. Under the EU’s strict rules, export pallets arriving from non-member states are required to meet a number of checks and standards. For example, wood pallets must be heat-treated or cleaned prior to export to prevent contamination or the spread of pests. The pallets are also required to have specific markings to indicate that they are legal in the EU.
Although the government is considering delaying Brexit if an agreement is not reached, the possibility of a no-deal Brexit is still on the cards. The majority of pallets currently used do not conform to these requirements as regulations for member states are far more relaxed. A shortage of EU-approved pallets would mean that UK companies would be left to compete for a small number of pallets and those who are unsuccessful would have to wait for new pallets to arrive, which could take weeks. A DEFRA representative said the government would seek a reciprocal arrangement on pallets with the EU and has “already committed to retaining .. current pallet import approaches post-exit.”
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FedEx developing robot for same-day door-to-door delivery
FedEx hopes to contend with the likes of Amazon and Postmates by developing its own – stronger and ‘better’- delivery robot. The company is building its own zero-emission, battery-powered robot which will be able to travel 8 miles round-trip to deliver post and parcels right to customers’ doorsteps. The bot is being developed in partnership with DEKA Development & Research Corp, whose founder invented the Segway standup scooter.
The “Same Day Delivery Bot” can carry a maximum load of 100 pounds at up to 10 miles per hour. It’s designed to be able to operate on sidewalks and roadsides, and to negotiate curbs, as well as unpaved surfaces and stairs. The robot has been built with “machine learning” algorithms to detect and avoid obstacles, plot a safe route, and follow road and safety rules. FedEx claims to be “collaborating” with several retailers including Walmart, Walgreens and Autozone to evaluate their individual autonomous delivery needs. According to FedEx, more than 60% of retailers’ customers live within 3 miles of one of their stores.
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Have a great weekend.