This Week in Logistics News (April 1- 7)

The boys are back! That’s right, the Bruins are back in the playoffs after suffering season-ending collapses the last two years. On top of that, baseball season officially kicked off this week, and the Red Sox opened up the season with a two-game winning streak against the Pirates. The weather has not exactly cooperated with us for baseball season, given the low temperatures and yesterday’s rainout. But, playoff hockey and baseball season mean two things: warm weather is on the way, and I get to spend a lot more time outside. So let’s hope the Bruins can make a deep playoff run, and the Red Sox can adjust to life after Ortiz, and bring home the trophy again.

And now, on to the news.

BluJay Solutions, a supplier of supply chain software and services has acquired Blackbay Ltd. BluJay offers a cloud-based portfolio of Transportation, Compliance, Network, Warehouse, Commerce, and BPO applications, and has launched a Global Trade Network, which connects customers with shippers, and all parties in between. Blackbay is a provider of mobility-enabled solutions for the transport and logistics industry. BluJay’s Transportation GTN family of solutions will be integrated with Blackbay’s Delivery Connect solution for shipment tracking and proof-of-delivery capture. Blackbay will also become the mobile app platform for BluJay across the Global Trade Network suite.

UPS has announced that it is extending its ground delivery service to Saturdays. This is due to the increased demand for e-commerce order delivery. Previously, orders that could not be guaranteed for Friday delivery would roll over to Monday. The company has tested the service in Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles in 2016, and will expand the Saturday service in these areas this month, with 15 more metro areas set to include the service. UPS has said that there are no additional investment requirements for vehicles or buildings, but it will be adding approximately 6,000 new jobs by the end of 2018.

The Swiss Federal Office for Civil Aviation (FOCA) has granted Matternet, a maker of drones and intelligent control software, a certification allowing their delivery drones to fly autonomously over cities at any time of day or night. This announcement enables their partner, Swiss Post, to use the drones to fly blood samples and other small parcels between hospitals in Lugano. This isn’t the first time, or the first company, to use drones for medicinal purposes. But rather than flying the drones on behalf of their partners, Matternet wants to sell its technology to logistics providers. The drones are quadcopters, with a maximum range of 12 miles, while averaging 22 mph.

Domino’s Pizza has announced plans to deliver pizza to customers in Germany and Netherlands via robot. The robots are built by London-based Starship Technologies. Domino’s is no stranger to innovative delivery methods, having already tested the use of robots for home delivery in Australia, as well as drone delivery in New Zealand. The battery powered, six-wheeled robots can carry loads up to 20 pounds and will navigate to the customer’s door via sidewalks. After placing an order, customers who purchase Domino’s products within a one-mile radius of a store will receive a specific code which can be used to unlock the robot’s cargo hold, where pizzas will be stored. Products will also be placed in hot or cold insulated bags within the cargo hold, similar to the bags delivery drivers use.

Speaking of fast food deliveries, Jack in the Box has announced a new partnership with DoorDash to provide home delivery. Jack in the Box is offering home delivery in more than 800 stores across 200 US cities. Under its new deal, Jack in the Box will extend delivery from its test market in San Francisco to cities such as Los Angeles, Dallas, Phoenix and Seattle. Home delivery is becoming big business for fast food chains, with the likes of McDonald’s, Panera, and many others jumping on the bandwagon. The main market is for those consumers that have decided they will not be going out to pick-up food. Jack in the Box has said that since the test run began, they have seen larger orders placed for delivery than in store.

And finally, Amazon is trying to persuade brands to bypass retail stores and sell direct to consumers. The company has invited some of the world’s largest food brands to its Seattle headquarters in May to pitch them on the idea of shipping products directly to consumers, and cutting out the retailers from the equation. It would certainly change the way products are packaged, as they would no longer need “shelf appeal” in order to sell through traditional methods. This all sounds like an attempt for Amazon to break more into the food and CPG market than it currently has been able to do. While there are no indications on who would handle the shipping component of customer orders, one has to believe that Amazon is pitching their logistics services to these companies, which would be a major coup to the current manufacturer / retailer relationship.

That’s all for this week. Enjoy the weekend and the song of the week, The Boys are Back in Town by Thin Lizzy.

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