Summary: UPS’ UPS Returns Manager is a free online tool that allows e-commerce merchants to customize return shipments based on their policy and not have to integrate into their own IT systems. UPS shippers will be able to administer authorized return shipments, set their service level, request a reason for return and view reports on their shipments. The outbound and return packages are linked in tracking, allowing for easier association of the two shipments.
According to the UPS vice president of customer technology marketing, “It’s perfect for any shipper, especially small and mid-sized merchants that lack this capability in-house. UPS is the first logistics provider to offer the ability to create a return shipment through a tracking results page.”
LogisticsTI Take: Certainly a useful tool for online merchants to manage returns and will likely benefit UPS as well thanks to the data generated from merchant’s use of the tool.
Summary: UPS Capital, a subsidiary of UPS, has partnered with Payoneer to launch an online B2B payment service. The service gives customers in more than 200 markets and in 150 currencies the ability to utilize a secure platform to conduct and perform transactions protected by licensed escrow.
According to the President of UPS Capital, “The risk of non-payment is a major challenge for small and mid-sized businesses across borders.”
LogisticsTI Take: As more and more business is transacted via online, not only are secured financial transactions a concern but also currency exchanges. This latest solution adds to UPS’ overall cross-border solution by providing an extra layer of financial security for many businesses, particularly the small-to-medium sized business and further breaks down business concerns in expanding business opportunities outside of home markets.
Summary: Unlike UPS, FedEx will not apply a surcharge to residential deliveries this holiday season. Instead, it will apply surcharges in situations in which packages require additional handling, are oversized or unauthorized. The Holiday season surcharge will be effective Nov. 20, 2017, through Dec. 24, 2017. FedEx Express and FedEx Ground in the U.S. and Canada will increase the surcharge during this period for additional handling by $3 per package, for oversize goods by $25 per package, and for unauthorized shipments by $300 per package.
FedEx’s explanation for not following along with UPS despite the massive increase in volume is that “FedEx has engineered its networks to add sortation and delivery capabilities to accommodate the continued rise in demand for larger, heavier packages, including entire facilities temporarily dedicated to oversized packages”.
LogisticsTI Take: Usually when one announces a surcharge or a change in pricing, the other will follow suite. Not this time. Instead of designated busy periods in which UPS will implement surcharges, FedEx will apply surcharges on packages that require special care such as additional handling, oversized or unauthorized throughout the holiday period. FedEx has been quite vocal regarding the additional influx of oversized packages into its small parcel network and has taken taken steps to alleviate. Do shippers have a choice to accept both UPS & FedEx additional surcharges? yes they do. Check out the USPS, LTL providers and regional carriers for other options.
Summary: According to the press release, DHL eCommerce Vietnam will offer domestic delivery nationwide across the country, managed by hubs and depots located throughout the country. DHL eCommerce’s fleet of vans and motorbikes, coupled with regular air and road connections between its hubs, will support next-day delivery in Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi and other primary markets.
In addition,local e-tailers will be able to assign shipments requiring cash on delivery service through DHL eCommerce’s online portal. Consumers will also be able to open, check and return goods at the point of receipt thanks to DHL’s Open Box Delivery service.
“The Vietnamese e-commerce market represents a huge and relatively untapped potential for local retailers, e-tailers and marketplaces. In 2016, total e-commerce spending hit US$1 billion despite barely over 50% of the population being online,” according to the CEO of DHL eCommerce. “With e-commerce spending expected to grow at around 23% per year between now and 2020 local e-tailers need scalable, high-quality logistics solutions with nationwide coverage more than ever before.”
LogisticsTI Take: Vietnam’s economic rise bodes well for DHL eCommerce’s latest expansion. A strength of DHL eCommerce’s services is the ability to customize services to each country it operates. For example, with Vietnam, the Managing Director, DHL eCommerce Vietnam notes “Only 15% of Vietnam’s e-commerce shoppers paid online in 2016, making cash on delivery a must-have feature for e-commerce to succeed. That, combined with concerns about the hassle of returns and refunds, has made growth an uphill battle for many local e-tailers. We recognize that having a fast and reliable delivery service won’t solve these issues alone, which is why we’ve tailored our nationwide network to seamlessly handle cash payments with next day cash remittance and returns to take the burden off local e-tailers so they can fully focus on growth and customer experience.”
Summary: Yamato Group and JD.com agreed to form an alliance to expand cold chain and cross-border business in China. Under the agreement:
- Yamato Group will take on the role of consultant send mutually small refrigerated parcels between China and various countries as JD.com works to build its cold chain network in China.
- JD.com will utilize Yamato Group’s management resources and its overseas network when importing goods from overseas, primarily from Japan, or exports Chinese products to various countries including ASEAN.
- The two companies will also develop additional comprehensive projects.
LogisticsTI Take: Demand for cold chain services are on the rise, particularly in China as demand for international foods and beverages grows. Much of the demand is attributed to a rising middle class within China as well as perceived safety of such items. In addition, e-commerce is further driving the growth. As such, it is becoming quite a race between JD.com and Alibaba to build out cold chain capabilities.
For Yamato, it too is building out a cold chain network. In April it establish a relationship with France’s Chronopost. Under the partnership agreement, Yamato will handle parcels from Japan to Paris with next-day delivery service at the earliest. Deliveries will be made by Yamato in Japan and by Chronopost in France. The service is expected to begin in 2018.
Summary: Aramex signed a Master Franchise Agreement with Logix Express PLC to offer logistics and last-mile delivery solutions within the country. According to the press release, Ethiopia is one of the most populous countries in Africa and business and trade is increasing. As a result, there is an increasing demand for express delivery services in the country. Furthermore, the government is active in the encouragement of the export sector, and the establishment of industrial zones.
Aramex Ethiopia will open five outlets in Addis Ababa by August 2017, which will increase the number of outlets in the city to ten. Outside the capital, the company currently operates two outlets in Dire Dawa and Hawassa and has plans to open five new outlets in Bahir Dar, Gondar, Jimma, Dessie, and Mekelle. Aramex Ethiopia also plans to further expand its operations by adding 15 new outlets by the end of 2017.
According to Aramex’s CEO, “As one of the world’s fastest growing economies, Ethiopia is an exciting market for Aramex, and we believe there is vast potential to expand our specialized logistics services throughout the country. With the continued growing demand for logistics and transportation services in Ethiopia, we have already started planning for additional investments in technology infrastructure upgrades, and developing our local human talent to meet the needs of our customers throughout the region and globally.”
LogisticsTI Take: An innovative small parcel/logistics provider, Aramex is investing in emerging markets in Africa and Asia. To date, the company is in 23 African countries. Opportunities in Africa and other emerging markets continue to grow for logistics providers particularly as e-commerce grows. Expect more expansions and investments from Aramex as it expands its reach further in Africa.
Summary: Singapore Post introduced SmartPost, an integrated suite of solutions that has been developed to enhance service levels and customer satisfaction. Utilizing near-field communication (NFC), RFID, digital imaging and electronic notifications, SmartPost is expected to improve operational capabilities and efficiencies from collection to sorting, last mile delivery and quality assurance.
The first phase will focus on delivery of registered mail, SmartPac and other trackable postal items. Postal employees will be issued smartphones loaded with a customized postal delivery app. The app will then help postal employees keep track of deliveries made and generate real-time prompts of standard operating procedures. Customers can receive delivery status updates by SMS or email and receive notifications of where they collect items whose delivery they have missed. They may also be able to collect the item directly at the post office, using an electronic notice on their mobile device instead of a physical delivery note.
LogisticsTI Take: Additional solutions are in process as Singapore Post works towards improve efficiencies and thus costs to deliver quick to customers.
Summary: Targeting the ‘solopreneurs’, small businesses and ‘casual sellers’, PayPal and Canada Post announced an integrated solution allowing sellers to link their PayPal and Canada Post accounts allowing sellers and customers to automatically share tracking and delivery information once a shipping label is created. The solution also lets users schedule a parcel pick-up from Canada Post thus saving time to drop off parcels to customers locally or internationally.
LogisticsTI Take: Simplifying the e-commerce shipping process will definitely benefit and encourage the growth of small business. A good partnership that hopefully will grow further.
Summary: FedEx Express announced the launch of FedEx Self-Service Locker across 35 locations powered by PCCW Solutions’ digital logistics platform in Hong Kong. To access (and at no extra charge to customer), customers reply to their FedEx pre-delivery notification message and indicate their preferred locker location. Then, they will receive a SMS message containing pick-up details and a passcode. Customers will input their mobile phone number and the passcode into the locker upon pick-up.
LogisticsTI Take: Implementing a locker option provides customers with an additional choice in how to obtain their packages. The use of lockers continue to grow throughout the world and will continue to do so simply because of the convenience factor they provide. Not only are they beneficial for customers to pick up 24/7 but also to carriers such as FedEx allowing for multiple deliveries in one spot, thus a cost savings.
Summary: PostNL will serve as the delivery partner for a majority of AliExpress’s packages to the Netherlands. AliExpress is part of Alibaba Group. Through this collaboration, AliExpress will be able to offer customers delivery times within 5 to 7 business days.
According to a General Manager of AliExpress, ” …With Spring as their (PostNL) exclusive sales agent in Asia, we have contacts nearby. This means that we can easily get together and monitor the processes and developments here and adjust when needed.”
PostNL’s Spring Global Delivery Solutions offers businesses in Asia and beyond a host of logistics services. For AliExpress customers, it will give them direct access to the Dutch distribution network.
LogisticsTI Take: Spring Global Mail was formed in 2001 as a joint venture between PostNL’s forerunner TNT, Royal Mail Group and Singapore Post. Singapore Post pulled out of the partnership in 2009, selling its stake to TNT to leave the Dutch operator with a 68% share of Spring, to Royal Mail’s 32% stake. In 2013 the Royal Mail sold its remaining stake to PostNL. Since then, Spring Global Mail has changed its name to Spring Global Delivery Solution and focuses on e-commerce, cross-border small parcel solutions. It has 13 offices around the world and serves as a sales broker for PostNL outside of the Netherlands. It is also preferred sales agent for the Royal Mail outside the UK. A very interesting concept that should serve the post office(s) well in competing for parcels.
Summary: The agreement between the two companies include the following:
- To promote cross-border chilled and frozen transport business between Japan and France.
- Share by both companies’ technology and know-how in chilled and frozen transport.
- Set up of new standards to enhance the quality of chilled and frozen food transport.
As highlighted in the press release, Yamato Group started a nationwide door-to-door chilled and frozen transport service for small parcel in 1988. The service expanded to Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia. In addition, the Japanese company has worked with the British Standards Institute to establish an international standard for refrigerated parcel delivery services.
Meanwhile, Chronopost, a member of DPD Group, has been expanding such service throughout France since 2015.
LogisticsTI Take: Both companies offer specialized cold chain services for the food and beverage industry. In addition, Chronopost has acquired a niche pharmaceutical logistics provider, Biologistic, which also provides some specialized cold chain services. The global cold chain is expected to surpass $500 billion by 2025. Many logistics providers have invested and continue to do so to create a safe, global network to address this growth.
Summary: Rakuten and Japan Post will strengthen their collaboration in e-commerce logistics to reduce the redelivery of parcels by examining various measures to increase the efficiency of deliveries and pick-ups. The following are being considered:
Expanding parcel pick up locations such as convenience stores, post offices and lockers
- Implementing designated pick-up locations
- Expanding notification services
- Awarding Rakuten Super Points when parcels are picked up the first time
To promote these measures, Rakuten and Japan Post will offer special delivery fees for purchases made with Rakuten Ichiba merchants.
LogisticsTI Take: Redelivery is costly for all carriers around the world, hence the rise of alternative delivery locations. However, while such locations may be popular in certain parts of the world, it may not be the case at other locations. In addition, space at these locations are a premium and consumers are often encouraged to pick up items within a certain amount of time.
Summary: In Thailand since January 2016, DHL eCommerce plans to enhance its nationwide coverage with next day delivery in remote areas and extend pick-up service to small e-commerce merchants. According to the Managing Director, DHL eCommerce Thailand, “The e-commerce market in Thailand is currently second largest in Southeast Asia and expected to grow 22% annually till 2020. Along with this remarkable growth, there are increasing demands for cost-effective and high quality logistics solutions to meet rising consumer needs.”
Over the past year, DHL eCommerce Thailand has made significant investments including its eCommerce 3,222 sqm central hub in Bangkok and a domestic delivery network across Thailand with a capacity to handle over 15 million shipments annually. For merchants, DHL eCommerce offers access to Cash on Delivery (COD) with daily remittance as well as access to a multilingual call center and IT integration of online orders to allow shippers to prepare orders for delivery into the DHL network.
LogisticsTI Take: DHL eCommerce continues to expand services around the world – domestically within countries as well as via cross-border in conjunction with DHL Express. Other providers including UPS and FedEx are also expanding their global e-commerce solutions. With the growing number of providers offering such services one wonders the profitability for providers as well as costs to customers.
Summary: LeShop.ch, Volvo and Swiss Post have developed a system in which parcels from LeShop.ch can now be delivered to the boots of parked Volvos. The delivery method is now available in Zurich, Bern, Geneva and Lausanne.
Volvo In-car Delivery works with a digital key which provides temporary access to the vehicle. Users register for In-car Delivery, order their goods at LeShop.ch and then select their Volvo as the delivery location. The parcel carrier locates the car by geolocation, opens the boot using the temporary digital key and delivers the order. The customer then receives a notification of delivery and the digital key expires. With In-car Delivery, the customer does not need to be present at a specific delivery location or delivery time.
LogisticsTI Take: Similar services are being offered by others. In 2015, Amazon teamed up with DHL and Audi for limited deliveries in Munich. In 2016, DHL, Daimler, Amazon, Allyouneed fresh and Fashion ID teamed up for last mile delivery of items to Smart cars in select German cities.
This service is indeed an alternative solution for last-mile delivery. According to the Managing Director of Volvo Car Switzerland, “Our networked vehicle technology, In-car Delivery…not only improves customer benefits, but also enables online shops to deliver more efficiently, and ultimately our customers save on delivery charges.”
Summary: In cooperation with China’s SF Express, Nova Poshta has launched an express delivery service from China to Ukraine. According to the post office, customers can order delivery from such Chinese online businesses as JD.com and Ali Express.
In November 2016, Nova Poshta delivered over 500,000 Chinese parcels to Ukrainians. Sellers pay for delivery. Customers that select free delivery from SF Express and SF eParcel can use the delivery service. Tracking is also available.
Once goods arrive in the Ukraine at the Boryspil airport, they are inspected by the customs service. Nova Poshta then takes full control of the cargo and is responsible from arrival to airport to front door delivery. The 2017 goal is to deliver over 2 million parcels from China.
LogisticsTI Take: Cross-border e-commerce continues to rise as more express providers partner with post-offices for final mile delivery. Look for more partnerships such as SF Express and Nova Poshta as Chinese express providers, in particular, expand cross-border service between China and Europe and to other regions/countries.