Toyota Australia together with Toyota Material Handling Australia and Toyota Fleet Management, will be introducing a fleet of autonomous Autopilot vehicles in to its Altona warehouse from its operation start in 2020. Manufactured in Sweden by Toyota Material Handling Europe, the fleet itself will consist of six Autopilot Tow Trucks (TAE500) and one Autopilot Reach Truck (RAE160), the flagship model when it comes to warehouse automation. They will apply Autopilot driverless technology to achieve mobility in conveyance, towing, lifting, and be able to autonomously place product throughout the warehouse and pick orders for customers. All models in the range will also have the ability to be used in manual mode as conventional warehouse vehicles allowing complete flexibility in operations. In addition to enhanced safety, Autopilot will also deliver energy efficiencies via Lithium-Ion battery technology, automatic charging, high vehicle utilisation, and low maintenance costs. Toyota Australia Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Sean Hanley, said the mobility company has a thorough understanding and appreciation of the importance of automation technology. “Toyota Australia will continue to develop, progress, and employ these new ways of thinking whenever possible. We are extremely committed to delivering the highest level of reliability, performance, and productivity, and Autopilot ticks every one of these boxes,” Sean said.
NewCold, a global cold logistics company, has announced that Abhy Maharaj will join the company as its Global Chief Commercial Officer & Chief Operating Officer, effective 1 July 2019. Abhy will be based in Melbourne.
Headquartered in The Netherlands, the company has eight locations in three continents; offers over 800,000 pallet positions and has a team of around 750 employees, recently opening two new facilities in Melbourne, Australia.
In this new role, Abhy Maharaj will work closely with Bram Hage, Founder and Executive Officer, and the Global Management Team of NewCold on the company’s overall strategy and execution and will oversee NewCold’s business planning, marketing, business development and operating efficiency. Abhy will be based in Melbourne, so that he is close to business expansion opportunities in Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia and China.
“I am pleased to have someone with Abhy’s experience on our leadership team as we accelerate our growth into a fully-fledged multi-national with highly automated supply chain solutions across all key cold-chain growth markets. Abhy will strengthen our commercial disciplines, customer relationships and strategic execution,” Bram Hage, Founder and Executive Office said.
Abhry has more than 20 years’ experience in global corporate management, strategic and commercial development, and creating and implementing high-growth strategies for disruptive technologies and solutions. He previously held senior positions with Air New Zealand and Fonterra Dairy Co-operative.
An unprecedented demand for precision and pace has been a catalyst for change in the logistics and wholesale sector. These high customer expectations have led IDC to predict that by 2022, digital technologies that allow for automation of repetitive tasks will streamline supply chain operations dramatically, cutting typical manual-based processes in half. Read more
Coles has committed to work with the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU), the Australian Workers’ Union and the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association to pursue safe and fair conditions for workers across its fresh produce and meat supply chains. According to the Transport Workers’ Union, the three unions will co-operate to organise transport, farm and retail workers to address worker exploitation and risks to health and safety. The move has been announced at TWU National Council in Cairns today. It follows two agreements with the TWU last year which cover the Coles transport supply chain and delivery work in the on-demand economy. The agreement promotes transparency and end-to-end compliance with the Coles supply chains. “Coles is committed to the safety and fair treatment of all the workers in our supply chains, as per our Ethical Sourcing Policy and Supplier Requirements. Our local Australian suppliers and workers are critical to the provision of fresh, quality produce and meat to our customers. We have made significant progress in the past 10 years on our Ethical Sourcing journey, and now look forward to working with these three unions,” James Whittaker, Head of Quality and Responsible Sourcing at Coles said. “Worker exploitation in any part of the Australian fresh food supply chain is not acceptable. Underpayment of wages and superannuation and unsafe working conditions must be addressed. Coles has been working with the TWU to ensure safety and fairness in road transport and it has shown its commitment to continue to work with its supply chains to ensure that all workers are treated in accordance with Australian workplace legislation,” Michael Kaine, TWU National Secretary said. A Fair Work Ombudsman inquiry last November highlighted the need for compliance and accountability throughout the fresh produce and meat processing supply chains. Inspectors recovered more than $1 million in unpaid wages for over 2,500 workers.
More logistics professionals will receive a pay rise this year than last, but it will be a less significant increase than they hoped for. According to the FY 2019/20 Hays Salary Guide, 92% of employers will increase their transport and distribution staff salaries in their next review, up from 83% who did so in their last review. However, the value of these increases will fall. 71% intend to raise salaries at the lower level of 3% or less, up from 63% who did so in their last review. At the other end of the scale, just 3% of employers intend to grant pay increases of more than 6%. Professionals prioritise a salary increase For their part, 26% of the transport and distribution professionals Hays also spoke to expect no increase whatsoever and a further 48% expect 3% or less. Yet while these professionals anticipate little or no increase, they’re not going to sit idly by and accept it. In fact, more than half (57%) say a salary increase is their number one career priority this year. 46% intend to achieve this by asking for a pay rise, while others are looking elsewhere – 41% of jobseekers say their uncompetitive salary provoked their job search. “Tug of war over salaries” “Evidently, the aggregate effect of several years of sedate salary increases is taking its toll and we’re now seeing a tug of war over salaries,” said managing director of Hays Logistics Tim James. “On the one hand, we have professionals telling us they’ve prioritised a pay rise and are prepared to enter the job market to improve their earnings. On the other, employers tell us they want to add to their headcount and are being impacted by skill shortages, yet they want to curtail salary increases. “There are only a few exceptions. The recovery of the senior supply chain market led to demand for supply chain managers and, in turn, mid-tier demand and supply planners. In some states, salaries have increased in response to this demand. “Tasmania’s positive economic climate led to a surge in interstate and international exports. Looking ahead, salaries are expected to increase in the state for multi-combination drivers and warehouse supervisors, who remain in short supply. “While salaries for warehousing roles remain steady in smaller organisations nationally, larger companies are offering salaries over $90,000 for highly skilled and experienced candidates, especially those with safety qualifications and experience. “In addition, in New South Wales and Victoria, higher vacancy activity has significantly drained the available pool of candidates and created a war for talent. As a result, employers in these states have begun to offer higher salaries for senior warehouse supervisors, operations managers, transport managers and fleet managers and controllers.” In other key findings, the 2019/20 Hays Salary Guide found:
67% of organisations offer flexible salary packaging. Of these, the most common benefit is salary sacrifice, offered by 55% of employers to all employees. This is followed by above mandatory superannuation (offered by 37% of employers to all their employees), parking (33%), bonuses (27%) and private health insurance (26%).
Of the benefits offered to a select few employees, private expenses tops the list, with 70% of employers offering it to a hand-picked number of employees.
68% of employers said business activity had increased over the past year, with 70% expecting it to increase in the next 12 months.
57% intend to increase permanent distribution staff levels over the coming year.
70% say skill shortages will impact the effective operation of their business or department in either a significant (28%) or minor (42%) way, up from 67% last year.
54% of employers are restructuring to keep up with changing business needs – the key driver of these restructures is a change in the required skill sets.
In skill-short areas, 57% of employers would consider employing or sponsoring a qualified overseas candidate.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) is set to trial self-driving trucks in Phoenix, Arizona and Dallas for a two-week period. TuSimple, a self-driving truck company, has announced that the USPS has awarded it a contract to perform five round trips, for a two-week pilot. This trial will haul USPS trailers more than 1,000 miles between the Postal Service’s Phoenix, Arizona and Dallas, Texas distribution centres. The truck will have a safety engineer and driver on board for the duration of the pilot to monitor vehicle performance and to ensure public safety. TuSimple will run a series of its self-driving trucks for 22 hours each, which includes overnight driving, along the I-10, I-20 and I-30 corridors to make the trip through Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. The freight that flows along I-10 corridor accounts for 60 percent of the total economic activity in the United States. “It is exciting to think that before many people will ride in a robo-taxi, their mail and packages may be carried in a self-driving truck. Performing for the USPS on this pilot in this particular commercial corridor gives us specific use cases to help us validate our system, and expedite the technological development and commercialisation progress,” Dr. Xiaodi Hou, Founder, President and Chief Technology Officer, TuSimple said.
Deliveroo has announced that Amazon is leading a new $575MM Series G shared funding round. This will make Amazon the largest investor in this round. Amazon joins existing investors T Rowe Price, Fidelity Management and Research Company, and Greenoaks. According to the company, this series of funding will bring customers the food they want whenever and wherever they want it, offering even more work for riders, and helping restaurants to grow their businesses by reaching new customers. “Amazon has been an inspiration to me personally and to the company, and we look forward to working with such a customer-obsessed organisation. This is great news for the tech and restaurant sectors, and it will help to create jobs in all of the countries in which we operate,” Will Shu, founder and CEO of Deliveroo said. “We’re impressed with Deliveroo’s approach, and their dedication to providing customers with an ever increasing selection of great restaurants along with convenient delivery options. Will and his team have built an innovative technology and service, and we’re excited to see what they do next,” Doug Gurr, Country Manager, Amazon UK said. The new investment will contribute to:
Growing Deliveroo’s engineering team based in its London headquarters
Expanding Deliveroo’s delivery reach in order to continue offering its service to new customers
New innovations in the food sector, for example through delivery-only super kitchens “Editions”, as well as new formats that will help restaurants expand to new areas at a lower cost and lower risk, bringing more choice to local neighbourhood
Increased support for restaurant partners, and new tools to offer riders flexible and well-paid work
DHL Express and EHang, an intelligent autonomous aerial vehicle company, have entered into a strategic partnership to jointly launch a fully automated and intelligent smart drone delivery solution to tackle the last-mile delivery challenges in the urban areas of China.
This launch makes DHL the first international express company to provide such a service in China.
“We are delighted to be partnering with EHang to set a new innovation milestone with this new fully-automated and intelligent drone logistics solution, which combines the strength of the world’s largest international express company together with one of the leading UAV companies in the world. This is an exciting time for the logistics sector, with continued growth of the Chinese economy and cross-border trade, particularly in South China and the Greater Bay Area, which is home to an increasing number of SMEs and startups. This means there is a tremendous volume of logistics needs, which in turn creates new opportunities for implementing innovative solutions that can continuously drive growth with greater efficiency, sustainability and less cost,” Wu Dongming, CEO, DHL Express China said.
“Together with DHL we are very glad to bring the first smart drone delivery service route to China in Guangzhou; this marks a new beginning in building air logistics for smart cities. Riding on today’s launch, we expect smart drone delivery as an innovative logistics solution to be expanded and realized in more areas, and we look forward to working with DHL in building the eco-system for a multi-dimensional urban air transport system,” Mr. Hu Huazhi, Founder & CEO of EHang, said.
The EHang Falcon smart drone, with eight propellers on four arms, is designed with multiple redundant systems for full backup, and smart and secure flight control modules. Its high-performance features include vertical take-off and landing, high accuracy GPS and visual identification, smart flight path planning, fully-automated flight and real-time network connection and scheduling. As a fully-automated and intelligent solution, the drones, which can carry up to 5kg of cargo per flight, take off and land atop intelligent cabinets that were specifically developed for the fully autonomous loading and offloading of the shipment. The intelligent cabinets seamlessly connect with automated processes including sorting, scanning and storage of express mail, and will feature high-tech functions such as facial recognition and ID scanning.
Descartes, a global software-as-a-service solutions provider for logistics-intensive businesses has announced that it has acquired Core Transport Technologies NZ Limited, a NZ electronic transportation network that provides global air carriers and ground handlers with shipment scanning and tracking solutions.
CORE has been connecting commercial airlines, ground handlers and the wider logistics community with trading partners and government postal authorities around the world for more than ten years.
Customers use CORE’s network to accurately track international mail, parcel and cargo shipments as well as US domestic mail and parcel shipments. CORE’s solutions leverage mobile technologies and data analytics to help customers automate processes and increase operational efficiency.
“As US domestic and international ecommerce continues to grow, more demands are being placed on carriers and their partners to deliver efficiently and report events in real-time. The CORE acquisition complements our recent investment in Velocity Mail, helping us to better serve the logistics service provider community working with postal authorities around the world. CORE’s solutions also extend beyond mail and parcel shipment tracking, with air cargo tracking solutions that we can add to our Global Logistics Network,” Ken Wood, EVP of Product Management at Descartes said.
“We continue to look for opportunities to add customers, solutions and content to our Global Logistics Network to help our customers manage the lifecycle of shipments. By combining with CORE, we’re strengthening our position in the growing domestic and global ecommerce market. We’re also adding new solutions to our Descartes Global Air Messaging Gateway that we believe will present a compelling opportunity for our global air cargo community to enhance real-time tracking and visibility of air shipments.,” said Edward J. Ryan, Descartes’ CEO.
CORE is headquartered in Nelson, New Zealand. Descartes acquired CORE for up-front consideration of $US 21.0 million, plus potential performance-based consideration. The up-front consideration was satisfied with cash from Descartes’ existing acquisition line of credit. The maximum amount payable under the all-cash performance-based earn-out is $US 9.0 million, based on CORE achieving revenue-based targets in each of the first two years post-acquisition. Any earn-out is expected to be paid in fiscal 2021 and fiscal 2022.
Skyborne, a Brisbane-based drone company, has secured $US2.45 million in international capital investment to expand its tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle business into overseas markets. Innovation Minister Kate Jones said Skyborne received a grant through round two of the government’s Ignite Ideas program to develop their ground-breaking tri-tilt-rotor UAV, Cerberus GL. “Since the government first partnered with Skyborne in 2017, they’ve created an extra 10 positions in Brisbane and are scaling up to export their technology overseas. This is a great example of a company that’s successfully leveraged government support to attract significant international investment from a private investor based in Abu Dhabi to continue growing its business and get closer to commercialisation,” she said. The Cerberus GL UAV weighs less than six kilograms and has the capability to provide user aerial support on the battlefield, being classed as the lightest armed tactical UAV of its class, with applications in defence, counter-terrorism and law enforcement. Skyborne Technologies CEO and Director Dr Michael Creagh said that although the Cerberus GL weighed less than six kilograms it was capable of providing aerial fire support at the squad and platoon level. It could also be used to deploy flash or smoke grenades to assist with counter-terrorism and law enforcement initiatives. “It has been an amazing two years for Skyborne under Advance Queensland’s Ignite Ideas program, securing a Series A round of investment to expand our engineering team and manufacturing capabilities to deliver a commercialised product to interested parties,” Dr Creagh said. “Raising capital for the next generation of tactical UAVs is not an easy undertaking and without grant programs like Ignite Ideas, companies like ours face an even greater struggle.” Skyborne Technologies Chief Business Officer and Director Adrian Dudok said the support from the Queensland Government and recent capital raise has allowed Skyborne to employ seven additional staff and move to a larger commercial premise to support in-house manufacturing. “With the continued support from the Queensland Government, Skyborne will contribute towards the focus on strengthening Queensland’s defence and manufacturing industry. The export opportunities are endless and we’ve received some serious interest from the US and Middle East.”