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DHL, UPS Tackle Growing Need for Lightning-Fast Delivery

Driven by the need for increased delivery options and capacity for express shipments, DHL Express and UPS are taking steps to address demand.

DHL Express is partnering with Reef Technology to pilot the use of four new low-power electric-assisted e-Cargo Cycles for deliveries across Miami. The three-wheeled cycles are equipped with an accompanying cargo container and are capable of pulling up to 400 pounds or 60 cubic feet in volume.

The two companies are bringing the environmentally friendly e-Cargo Cycles to Miami as part of the DHL GoGreen strategy to reduce its carbon footprint. DHL’s short-term goal is to implement clean pickup and delivery solutions for 70 percent of its operations by 2025.

Each e-Cargo Cycle enables DHL to take one conventional delivery van off the road. This reduces road traffic, noise and pollution, while still providing fast, efficient deliveries for customers.

Reef’s mission is to leverage the power of proximity by reimagining parking facilities by creating last-block mobility and logistical hubs that serve the needs of cities, residents and businesses. Reef manages the hubs that will serve as the home base for the e-Cargo Cycles that DHL is using during this pilot. Reef’s infrastructure provides congestion-reducing buffering zones and environmentally conscious parking, micro-fulfillment and delivery solutions to enable the frictionless movement of goods and services.

Greg Hewitt, CEO of DHL Express U.S., said the new vehicles “significantly reduce the challenges associated with urban business deliveries, improving safety, productivity and costs.”

Starting in 2015, when it introduced the four-wheel Cubicycle in Europe, DHL implemented the City Hub concept that supports cargo bikes within urban areas. For the Miami e-Cargo cycle pilot, a DHL straight truck equipped with a customized trailer will carry up to nine cargo containers for the e-Cargo Cycles.

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The containers are delivered to the Reef Hub, where they will be quickly connected to the e-Cargo Cycles for last-mile inner-city deliveries in the morning. The containers can then be reloaded for outbound shipments in the afternoon. The four e-Cargo Cycles being deployed in Miami will result in an expected reduction of 101,000 kilograms of equivalent carbon dioxide annually.

Pushed by increasing next-day-air volume, UPS is expanding its express air network to Gary/Chicago International Airport starting Nov. 2, in time for the peak holiday shipping season.

The airport will be served by a UPS Airlines Airbus A300 that has a maximum payload of more than 120,000 pounds and can carry more than 14,000 UPS Next Day Air packages.

“The Gary/Chicago International Airport is well-positioned to add additional capacity and flexibility to the UPS network, helping businesses in Northern Indiana and the Chicago area compete at e-commerce’s fast pace as they serve their customers,” UPS Airlines president Brendan Canavan said.

Nationwide, Next Day Air average daily volume grew 20.5 percent in the first quarter of 2020, the fourth consecutive quarter of double-digit increases.

Each weeknight, the UPS “browntail” will depart Gary late in the evening with a load of packages bound for UPS Worldport, the company’s global air hub in Louisville, Ken. After sorting at Worldport, the aircraft will return early the following morning carrying thousands of express shipments scheduled for delivery later that same day.

UPS anticipates employing about 60 people at the airport, including ground handlers, administrative positions, aircraft maintenance technicians and management employees. Some will be current UPS employees who transfer to Gary, while others will be new hires.

An airport facility approved this week includes 14,000 square feet of office space in the airport’s passenger terminal and a 150,000-square-foot ramp area, with enough space to park two A300s.