Best Logistics Technology News – November 2019

Best Logistics Technology News – November 2019
7 min read

Picture Credit: Yandex

Welcome to the November issue of “Across Logistics”, where we are presenting the latest logistics technology news and announcements that happened over the last month.

Here is the list of topics in this issue:


Maersk to Pilot a Battery System to Improve Power Production

Picture Credit: Maersk

A containerized 600 kWh marine battery system will be installed in a trial on board the Maersk Cape Town vessel in December 2019 to improve vessel performance and reliability while reducing CO2 emissions.

According to the official statement from the company, propelling marine vessels with battery power alone is still years away from being a technically- and economically viable option. However marine battery systems can be used to improve the efficiency of a vessel’s onboard electrical systems. By maintaining the vessel’s auxiliary generators at a more optimal load, and avoiding running generators when not needed, overall fuel consumption can be reduced.

“This trial will provide a greater understanding of energy storage that will support Maersk in moving towards further electrification of it is fleet and port terminals. Maersk will continue to facilitate, test, and develop low-carbon solutions on our journey to become carbon neutral by 2050,” explained Søren Toft, Maersk COO at the time of the announcement, who is now joining MSC as a CEO.

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Eastern Pacific Launches Maritime Accelerator with Nine Startups

Picture Credit: Eastern Pacific Accelerator

One of Singapore’s largest shipping companies, Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS), has partnered with global early-stage investor and accelerator, Techstars to launch the first dedicated Eastern Pacific Accelerator. It aims to bring digital, technology-led solutions to problems faced by the shipping industry.

The accelerator has also announced its first class of nine startups, which were selected from hundreds of worldwide applicants – C-Log, CyberOwl, Enermo Technology, F-drones, Nautilus Labs, QuantShip, Saara, SeaMiles, and Volteo Maritime.

“We see a need for technology to propel the maritime industry forward, especially with a rapidly digitalizing society and an increase in global trade. That means the shipping industry needs to innovate to solve problems such as fuel consumption, operational efficiency, fleet performance, and improving life-at-sea for seafarers – and we are doing just that with the Eastern Pacific Accelerator powered by Techstars. For these pioneering startups, EPS can provide access to a deep network of industry players, real-world data, and operational insights from our experienced maritime experts that will accelerate the development of their products,” commented Gil Ofer, the Head of Open Innovation at Eastern Pacific Shipping.

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Related Announcements:

Volkswagen Group Logistics Pushes the Boat Out With LNG-Fuelled Car Transporting Vessels

INTTRA by E2open and Maersk to Provide Spot Rates for Booking Ocean Shipments on the INTTRA Platform

Logistics Investments

Alibaba Group Invests $3.3 Billion to Up Majority Stake in Cainiao Network

Picture Credit: Cainiao

Alibaba Group has announced an additional investment of US$3.3 billion to increase its equity stake in Cainiao Smart Logistics Network from approximately 51% to approximately 63%.

he additional investment from Alibaba Group is a vote of confidence in Cainiao. With more financial resources, Cainiao will be able to continue its investment in technologies and logistics infrastructure services to strengthen its position as a global leader in technology-driven logistics. Prior to that, Cainiao has also developed robust international and cross-border fulfillment solutions to facilitate Alibaba’s international e-commerce business, including Tmall Global, AliExpress and Lazada.

“Logistics is a key pillar of the Alibaba Business Operating System. It allows us to offer the best service to customers and to effectively advance our New Retail strategy. Cainiao strives to enhance service and user experience for merchants and consumers through superior technology and digital solutions, both within China and around the world. We are committed to supporting its ongoing development, to realizing greater synergies throughout the entire Alibaba Economy and accelerating the digitization of the logistics industry,” added Daniel Zhang, Alibaba Group Executive Chairman, and CEO.

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Convoy Receives $400 Million in Funding to Build Up Digital Trucking Business

Convoy, a Seattle-based digital freight booker backed by Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, closed a $400 million funding round co-lead by Generation Investment Management and T. Rowe Price Associates. to expand the use of its data platform and other services that reduce wasted time, empty trailers and tailpipe pollution for truckers.

“Generation’s investment in Convoy is rooted in many years of deep research into the future of logistics. We are seeing Convoy drive the next evolution in efficiency across the industry, through its use of sophisticated data science techniques to continuously optimize its growing network of carriers. This is a true win-win opportunity for the industry – driving a reduction in carbon emissions, while simultaneously increasing take-home pay for carriers and service quality for shippers,” Joy Tuffield, Partner in Generation’s Growth Equity team, pointed out.

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Related Announcements:

Maersk Invests in Logistics Platform ZigZag Global


Nikola Teases Breakthrough in Electric Truck Battery Technology

Picture Credit: Nikola

Nikola Corporation has unveiled the details of its new battery that has a record energy density of 1,100 watt-hours per kg on the material level and 500 watt-hours per kg on the production cell level. This battery technology could increase the range of current EV passenger cars from 300 miles up to 600 miles with little or no increase to battery size and weight. The technology is also designed to operate in existing vehicle conditions. Moreover, cycling the cells over 2,000 times has shown acceptable end-of-life performance.

Nikola’s new cell technology is also environmentally friendly and easy to recycle. While conventional lithium-ion cells contain elements that are toxic and expensive, the new technology will have a positive impact on the earth’s resources, landfills and recycling plants. The company will show the batteries charging and discharging in front of the crowd at Nikola World event which is expected to take place fall of 2020.

“This is the biggest advancement we have seen in the battery world. We are not talking about small improvements; we are talking about doubling your cell phone battery capacity. We are talking about doubling the range of BEVs and hydrogen-electric vehicles around the world,” highlighted Trevor Milton, CEO, Nikola Motor Company.

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Volvo Trucks Launches Sales of Electric Trucks for Urban Transport

Picture Credit: Volvo Trucks

This month, Volvo Trucks has announced the start of sales of its Volvo FL and Volvo FE electric trucks in selected markets within Europe, in order to meet the increasing demand for sustainable transport solutions in city environments.

“Global urbanization requires urban logistics and truck transport with zero emissions and less noise with increasing urgency. With the Volvo FL Electric and Volvo FE Electric, we are able to meet both the strong environmental demands as well as the high commercial requirements of our customers. Volvo Trucks’ solutions will be based on individual business needs that consider a number of parameters, such as driving cycles, load capacity, and route analysis, to use the battery capacity in the most efficient way possible,” says Jonas Odermalm, VP Product Line Electromobility.

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Other Logistics Technology News

SAS Cargo Partners with Freightos to Expand Digital Customer Offerings

Picture Credit: SAS

SAS Cargo has announced that WebCargo by Freightos will become the first user of SAS Cargo’s digital APIs. Via WebCargo by Freightos, SAS Cargo’s dynamic rates, capacity and eBookings will be instantly available to 1,500+ freight forwarders and more than 26,000 unique users around the world, representing more than 30% of the world market.

Unlike other digitization approaches, WebCargo by Freightos enables direct API connectivity, which means the entire eBooking process happens online. When a freight forwarder selects a rate, the booking is transmitted to the cargo carrier instantly, digitally, without any manual process.

“At SAS Cargo we have a vision of making air freight easier, and we know that today’s customer expects a quick and fully digitized customer experience. We believe that the combination of our continuous focus on quality in all our operations and the additional digital connectivity to our already existing online booking platform will provide extraordinary benefits to our customers,” added Leif Rasmussen, President, and CEO at SAS Cargo 

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Related Announcements:

Russian Search Giant Yandex Has Built a Fleet of Self-Driving Food-Delivery Robots

FedEx to Deliver 33mn Packages on Cyber Monday

The Report Highlights Google’s Increasing Focus on Logistics