Thursday, July 1, 2021

Logistics Provider Signs Up to Airborne Drone Deliveries of Time Critical Cargoes

Long Range Craft May Make Practical Sense in the Right Markets
Shipping News Feature

UK – BULGARIA – EUROPE– Whilst we have often commented on the practicalities of drones in the supply chain, and indeed the vital contribution they can sometimes make, we confess to being more than a little sceptical when talking of airborne, unmanned craft delivering cargoes, particularly in urban environments.

Although there are settings which lend themselves to the use of such technology, the impracticalities of hundreds of small drones buzzing around the skies are too obvious to list. There may be however a middle ground and it seems the introduction of pilotless aircraft, capable of carrying up to 350 kilogrammes with a range of some 2,500 kilometres may be a niche market for logistics providers.

Such a craft is ‘Black Swan’, an autonomous plane from DRONAMICS a company which claims the satellite controlled unit, ‘costing less than a sports car’ can land on short and unpaved runways making it suitable for a host of hard to reach, far flung destinations.

This week Hellmann Logistics took the plunge and announced it is to partner with the UK/Bulgarian group to develop and offer a pioneering new transport service for the cross-border transportation of time-critical goods. The supply chain provider says it plans to offer the first routes with unmanned cargo drones as early as next year.

The two companies say they will work together to develop the initial routes, the first market being Europe where the regulatory environment permits operations across the European Union. Jan Kleine-Lasthues, Chief Operating Officer Airfreight of Hellmann Worldwide Logistics commented:

“Partnering with DRONAMICS allows us to provide our customers with innovative and tailored solutions especially in the growing market segments of spare parts, e-commerce, and cool chain.”

As part of the agreement, DRONAMICS will provide equipment and expertise to operate the unmanned drone flights, employing local staff in different technical roles. The first commercial flights of the same-day drone cargo services are expected to begin in 2022. Svilen Rangelov, CEO and Co-Founder of DRONAMICS, observed:

“We are extremely happy to have the opportunity to work with a leading logistics provider such as Hellmann, a company with a global network and a strategy to shape the supply chain of the future. Collaborating with freight forwarders is an essential part of our vision to make same-day deliveries a reality.”

To read our previous articles on drones in all their configurations simply type drones into the news search box at the head of the page.

Photo: The Black Swan prototype in action.