It is said that the last mile for a delivery can encompass 50% of the total delivery cost. Because of this, it is crucial that logistics companies get their last mile delivered in a cost effective manner.
Frontier is one company that has taken the last mile and created an efficient route from its shipping hub in Regina to Assiniboia.
“Assiniboia is about two hours outside Regina,” said Frontier CEO and president Michael Butterfield. “Since we acquired Coutts Courier we have expanded our reach to not only this town but to hundreds of towns in Saskatchewan.”
Currently, Frontier is looking to implement an electronic locker system in a town in rural Manitoba which, if successful, will be implemented in other rural locations inside and outside the province.
“Electronic lockers are gaining popularity in North America as an efficient way to deliver goods to people and save time and money while doing it,” said Butterfield.
Electronic lockers are very popular in Europe and Asia, but have only recently emerged in North America.
Packages are dropped off at the lockers by the delivery company and picked up by the customer with a code sent by the retailer.
The United States Postal Service is also using lockers with its Go Post program, to not only deliver packages but to do pick-ups as well. It’s not known whether Frontier will pick up packages at its locker location.
Other last mile innovations that logistics companies are using include drones and automated delivery vehicles.
In March 2018, SF Express, one of the largest courier companies in China, was granted the first domestic drone operator license in the country. The licence allows the logistics company to access 30% of China’s air space (the remainder is militarized).
In partnership with SF Express, commerce giant JD.com has built a 40 drone delivery network covering 100 villages. Its fastest drone can fly up to 100 km/h with a range of 100 km. Since March 2016, the company’s drones have clocked more than 5,000 hours of flight time.
For a number of years, Amazon has been running a pilot drone program in rural England.
DHL in Germany has built its own electric fleet and Starship Technologies which has developed self-driving container robots for use on campuses, office parks, and some downtowns.