“Across Logistics” Innovation News Release: November 2018

Logistics Innovation
5 min read

Welcome to the November 2018 issue of “Across Logistics” Innovation News Release, where we are presenting you the latest innovative technologies and important news in logistics that happened over the past month.

Here is the list of topics in this issue:

DB Schenker Launches the First Commercial Installation of Einride Self-Driving Truck

This month, DB Schenker and Einride launched the installation for the first commercial use of a T-pod – an all-electric, autonomous truck – at a DB Schenker facility in Jönköping, central Sweden. The T-pod will travel continuously to and from a warehouse, paving the way for a sustainable transition of road freight transportation.

Einride’s T-pod has no driver’s cab but is supervised and can be teleoperated by a human operator, from hundreds of miles away. Not having a driver’s cab enables a smaller vehicle, increased loading capacity, greater flexibility, lower production costs, lower operating costs as well as optimized energy consumption, allowing the T-pod to run solely on batteries.

“We at Schenker are working at full speed on sustainable and innovative logistics. Autonomous driving will become increasingly important for this. Together with Einride, we want to bring the first autonomous, fully electric truck onto public roads in the near future and thus set new standards for tomorrow’s logistics,” added Jochen Thewes, CEO of DB Schenker.

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“How UPS Uses AI to Deliver Holiday Gifts in the Worst Storms”

Picture Credit: UPS

Following the announcement previously this year, UPS finally shares some details about their in-house project that combines machine learning and predictive analytics. The online platform is called Network Planning Tool (NPT) and it allows the engineers to see the activity at UPS facilities around the world and route shipments to the ones with the most capacity. In addition to that, the planners can see details about the packages in transit, including their weight, volume, and delivery deadlines. While UPS already has different complex systems in place such as ORION and EDGE, Network Planning Tool provides its users with a complete overview of package volume and distribution across the network.

“This approach lets UPS organize packages by destination and move them at low cost while still meeting deadlines. It also lets the company’s engineers combine shipments to save time and money—as long as they have accurate information about what’s moving through the network,” the article states.

For the logistics industry, it is a clear sign that the importance of predictive analytics is undeniable. Only a few largest companies can afford to develop such an AI-based network planning tool in-house since it involves significant investments as well as hiring the whole team of highly-skilled data scientists and engineers. Meanwhile, other players can also benefit from AI predictive capabilities by implementing already available SaaS solutions such as Transmetrics.

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CMA CGM, Yang Ming, DP World, and Other Ocean Carriers and Terminal Operators Initiate Blockchain Consortium

Picture Credit: COSCO Shipping

On November 6th, several ocean carriers and terminal operators signed a Declaration of Intent with CargoSmart Limited to establish Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN), a Blockchain-based open platform. The new ecosystem for the shipping community will connect all stakeholders including ocean carriers, terminal operators, customs authorities, shippers and logistics providers to realize collaborative innovation and digital transformation in the supply chain.

The consortium consists of Yang Ming, CMA CGM, COSCO SHIPPING Lines, Evergreen Marine Corp., OOCL and terminal operators such as DP World, Hutchison Ports, PSA International Pte Ltd. as well as Shanghai International Port Group. The first prototype will be available in December and will allow shippers to digitize their documents and proceed to automatically exchange data with relevant parties in the supply chain, simplifying and expediting the processes of documents and goods.

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XPO Logistics Supports Workers with Collaborative Robots

Picture Credit: XPO Logistics

XPO Logistics has deployed intelligent robotics for a large e-commerce customer at its facility in Ile-de-France, France. The company put the robots in place in October as a part of the preparation for Black Friday and the holiday peak. The autonomous robots are part of a modular system that integrates special bins, picking stations and shelves.

Each robot moves in three dimensions, picking inventory items from shelves up to four times faster than humans. The robots bring the items to workers at order preparation stations, dramatically shortening fulfillment time and enhancing accuracy and safety. The lightweight robots are easy to transport and install, giving XPO the flexibility to relocate them within the warehouse and add or subtract robots as volumes change. This project is part of the company’s planned $450 million investment in technology this year.

“Robots are becoming increasingly important to our logistics operations. Our workers can focus on the point of fulfillment, adding value in areas such as packaging, while the robots reduce walk-time and lifting. We’ve designed an adaptive solution that can flex with our customer’s merchandise range and seasonal volumes,” said Richard Cawston, Managing Director Supply Chain, XPO Logistics Europe.

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Nikola Announces a Hydrogen-Electric Truck for European Markets

Picture Credit: Nikola Motor Company

Nikola Motor Company has announced that it is developing a hydrogen-electric truck for European markets. The Nikola Tre will have 500 to 1,000 HP, 6×4 or 6×2 configurations and a range of 500 to 1,200 kilometers depending on different options. The truck will fit within the current size and length restrictions for Europe. The first tests are projected to begin in Norway around 2020.

“This truck is a real stunner and long overdue for Europe. It will be the first European zero-emission commercial truck to be delivered with redundant braking, redundant steering, redundant 800Vdc batteries and a redundant 120 kW hydrogen fuel cell, all necessary for true level 5 autonomy1A fully-autonomous system that expects the vehicle’s performance to equal that of a human driver, in every driving scenario—including extreme environments like dirt roads . Expect our production to begin around the same time as our USA version in 2022-2023,” said Nikola Motor Company Founder and CEO Trevor Milton.

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Bonus: Black Friday 2018 Infographics

Picture Credit: Black-Friday.Global

As the industry has already experienced one of the busiest e-commerce days of the year, it is time to discuss how Black Friday influenced consumer behavior around the globe for the past years.Black-Friday.Global prepared an infographic which discusses how Black Friday became a worldwide phenomenon, its influence on the economy and other important details about the retail peak moments.

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Transmetrics Demo