Friday, January 20, 2017

Freight and Logistics Snippets in the UK Market This Week

Self-Braking Trucks, Postcard Sized Parcel Trackers and Ferry Figures
Shipping News Feature
UK – To open this brief round-up of freight and logistics snippets, in which we range from ferries to a device which can even detect a parcel being dropped, comes good news from the Port of Dover which has announced another record year of freight traffic. The Port handled 2.6 million freight vehicles in 2016 with freight volumes increasing by 32% in just the last four years. Tim Waggott, Chief Executive of the Port of Dover said:

"As we continue to handle more UK trade, the Port welcomes the prime minister's statement on the Government’s headline negotiating position for Brexit. Greater certainty of the broad parameters is a positive step forward. The Port and the CBI remain clear that a barrier-free relationship with the EU - our largest, closest and most important trading partner - must be a critical outcome of the negotiations to ensure we make a success of Brexit."

UK – One of the companies responsible for Dover’s continued success, P&O Ferries, has announced that it handled the highest volume of freight in five years on its Larne-Cairnryan service in 2016. The ferry and logistics company handled 206,700 freight units on the Scotland to Northern Ireland route during the last 12 months. This figure represents a 7.5% increase on the previous year, up from 192,200 units. P&O Ferries currently operates seven sailings a day on the route. Neal Mernock, P&O Ferries' Director responsible for the Irish Sea, said:

"This highly encouraging performance shows that the economy of Northern Ireland is continuing to grow, notwithstanding the uncertainty heralded by the Brexit vote in June. We invested £500,000 last year in our two purpose built ferries on the route to upgrade facilities and passenger areas on the ships. This has already paid a dividend in terms of increasing customer satisfaction with our services."

UK – Major logistics company Wincanton has ordered 100 new Mercedes tractor units. The new trucks, which are due to enter service from February, are all 6x2 Actros 2545 models with flat-floored, aerodynamic StreamSpace cabs and highly economical, second-generation 330 kW (449 hp) engines, as well as Predictive Powertrain Control systems for enhanced fuel-efficiency.

Wincanton’s decision to specify its next consignment of tractor units with optional Mercedes-Benz Safety Packs means they will be among the first trucks on UK roads to be equipped with the manufacturer’s fourth-generation autonomous braking system, Active Brake Assist 4. In a ‘world first’ ABA4 provides additional protection for vulnerable road users and can even recognise a pedestrian stepping into the vehicle’s path from behind a parked car.

Employing a combination of radar and cameras to monitor moving and stationary objects in the truck’s path, the system sounds an audible warning when it senses potential for a collision. If the driver takes no action, the system applies staged braking, and eventually full braking power, to prevent a crash, or dramatically reduce the effects of an impact.

The new Actros will also feature Proximity Control Assist. This works in conjunction with cruise control and intervenes automatically to restrict the truck’s speed and maintain a pre-set distance from a vehicle in front. This system contributes to safety by reducing the risk of rear-end shunts and promoting more comfortable, stress-free driving in nose-to-tail traffic. Wincanton’s Group Fleet Director Carl Hanson said:

“It was clear from all we saw and heard that Mercedes-Benz is ahead of the game when it comes to safety, this fantastic technology is undoubtedly going to make the roads safer for all users. Mercedes-Benz have listened to us and we are building new, productive relationships with the manufacturer at all levels of our business. They understand our goals and how we intend to achieve them, so we anticipate developing our partnership as we move forward.”

UK – Innovation developer Hanhaa, has announced that its ParceLive device and monitoring system is entering the next phase of deployments with logistic industry customers and partners. Following a series of successful pilots, ParceLive is entering public engagements with logistics companies including Sigma Retail Solutions and Avarto Bertelsmann.

The industry rollout will be 30 January at an event at Hanhaa’s London headquarters where attendees will be able to see the results of the ParcelLive pilots and learn how the technology works. Designed for tracking high-value, fragile, and time- or temperature-sensitive packages, ParceLive is a postcard-sized device that is inserted into a parcel at the point of distribution. By monitoring several key factors, the device allows both sender and receiver to monitor the exact location and condition of their package in real-time.

Beyond highly accurate GPS tracking, ParceLive also tracks and records the temperature and humidity experienced by a parcel, an accelerometer identifies if it has been dropped, and light detection tells the monitoring system when the parcel has been opened.

“With global parcel shipping volume forecast to grow by 20% percent by 2018, and an increasing reliance on third-party logistics providers, businesses are under increasing pressure to improve the delivery process. We are delighted to see ParceLive entering the retail distribution networks of some of the world’s leading brands and logistics service providers. We are very confident that these relationships will grow exponentially when they see how ParceLive transforms their business.”

ParceLive is a subscription service and the devices are rented, rather than owned by the sender. Responsibility for the devices, including return, maintenance and charging, is handled by Hanhaa. The first wave of the rollout will involve 500 ParceLive devices tracking real parcels on their journeys across the world. The company is on track to produce 20,000 units for general availability by mid-2017.

Photo: The ParceLive device is the size of a postcard.