LONDON: Britain’s Royal Mail is to create 50 new postal drone routes over the next three years as part of a partnership with UK logistics drone operator Windracers Group.
Subject to regulatory approval, the company will operate Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for Royal Mail to provide initial services to communities across the Isles of Scilly, Shetland Islands, Orkney Islands and the Hebrides.
The UAVs will help further reduce Royal Mail’s carbon emissions and replace its reliance on ferries, conventional aircraft and land-based vehicles for deliveries.
Supported by a fleet of 200 drones, the company wants to provide customers with over 50 routes over the next three years as part of a longer-term plan to deploy 500 aircraft throughout the UK.
Last month a three-day trial used a twin-engined UAV with a capacity of 100 kgs to deliver mail between Tingwall Airport in Lerwick and Unst – a 100-mile roundtrip. Unst has a population of around 630 people and is Britain’s most northerly inhabited island.
“The middle mile of supply and logistics, especially to remote locations, has long been overlooked by the industry and is ripe for innovation,” commented Windracers chairman Stephen Wright. “We’ve spent the last five years focused on developing the most commercially viable essential logistics drones so we’re truly delighted to be working with Royal Mail on this ambitious and pioneering deployment of autonomous aircraft. It puts the UK firmly at the forefront of this exciting sector.”
BONN: Deutsche Post DHL is to invest €600 million in sustainability-related logistics infrastructure including 280 carbon-free delivery depots – 100 of which are scheduled for completion at the end of this year.
In addition to a current fleet of 20,000 electric vehicles, the company also plans to operate 400 biogas-powered trucks by the end of 2023.
Since 2007, its Post & Parcel Germany division has enabled customers to offset carbon emissions with its ‘GoGreen’ service via certified climate mitigation projects.
Now it has expanded the concept with ‘Go Green Plus’ for business customers via carbon-neutral ‘insetting’ – purchasing sustainable fuels, buying and deploying e-vehicles and operating rail services on 144 of the longest lines linking 37 DHL parcel centers in Germany.
Each freight train carries up to 100,000 parcels, saving 1,200 tons of carbon per month.
Despite this level of investment, Deutsche Post says it is still market conditions that dictate whether Germany will be able to provide a universal, carbon-neutral mail and parcel service: “What we repeatedly find is that in practice, sustainability plays no role in public sector procurement,” explained Post & Parcel Germany CEO Tobias Meyer.
“Contracts are awarded solely on grounds of price. We’d really like to see the German government make good on its announcement in the coalition agreement, that the Postal Act will be revised in line with criteria focusing on environmental and social components.”
AMSTERDAM: KLM and 16 other SkyTeam members have accepted a challenge to see which airline can operate the most sustainable medium and long-haul flight this year in order to share best practice “from check-in to baggage belt”.
According to the airline, it wants to encourage employees “to broaden their perspectives and to think outside the box”.
Together with its peers it has devised the following rules for the Sustainable Flight Challenge:
• The challenge is focused on environmental sustainability.
• There are 2 distance categories: long haul > 5000 km and medium-haul 1000 - 5000 km. Airlines may participate in both distances.
• Airlines operate 1 single flight using an existing route per category.
• The challenge starts at the check-in and finishes when passengers pick up their bags at their destination. So, it's not just about an optimal flight, but also about sustainable solutions for freight, supplies, or food.
• Measurements will be compared to the other participating airlines.
• ‘Greatest CO₂ reduction’ awards will be measured against each airline’s own baseline set of reference flights with the same aircraft type in the same distance bound.
• Participating airlines may choose to compensate for any remaining CO₂ emissions from the chosen flights to be carbon neutral.
• Participants in the challenge will be judged in all award categories.
• Participating airlines commit to sharing all innovations on sustainability.
There are three main award categories with five finalists and one overall winner covering ‘Impact’: greatest CO₂ reduction, lowest CO₂ emissions (for flight, ground handling and food and beverage) and best waste management. ‘Innovation’: best inflight, best cargo, best bottom sustainable line and ‘The Boldest Move’. And ‘Collaboration’: best partnerships, customer engagement and employee engagement.
After the ‘Challenge, all the airlines will share best practices and knowledge in workshops covering waste management, optimum flight routes, sustainable ground handling and cargo.
“The challenge is for airlines to collaborate on sustainability instead of competing. United we can inspire, accelerate, and change the industry. And meet our ambitious climate goals,” added KLM.