Ever wondered what's going on in the parcels market outside the world of FedEx acquisitions and DPD domination? Here's a few snippets of parcels news from around the globe.
Japanese online retailer Rekuten has introduced a new delivery service which could see orders fulfilled in as little as 20 minutes in certain regions of Tokyo.
The concept is essentially the same as Amazon’s Prime Now service, which offers certain areas of London deliveries within an hour of ordering.
The obvious difference, however, is that Rekuten has sliced two thirds off of an already narrow delivery window. Processing, packaging, dispatching and delivering an order within 20 minutes - can it be done?
The service is available on around 450 products from the retailer’s online store to customers who have spent ¥980 (about £5.30). Those placing orders above ¥2,500 (£14.00) do not have to pay the ¥390 (£2) service charge.
Australia’s Royal Mail equivalent Australia Post has issued a trademark infringement notice to new parcel delivery firm Sendle, claiming that its tagline of “Post without the Office” and general branding was “substancially identical” to that of Australia Post’s.
Launched in 2014, Sendle offers door-to-door delivery of parcels up to 25kg at a flat rate much lower than that of Australia Post’s; it charges AUS$9.75 (£4.46) for package handling and delivery within cities, and AUS$17.60 (£8.05) for delivery between major Australian cities.
According to The Australian, Australia Post charges a base rate of AUS$24.95 (£11.41) per parcel, with an added AUS$5.95 (2.72) per 500g.
The dispute was reported on by The Australian, who said Sendle chief executive James Chin Moody (that’s his real name, we checked) had filed an intention to defend Sendle against the accusations.
"It’s very clear we’re not the post office, it’s pretty ridiculous,” he told the paper. “It’s an example of a monopoly provider trying to use its market power to reduce competition.”
We have a niggling sense of déjà vu here at The Hub. A large postal company headed toward a potential legal battle with a competitor, with both sides adamant the other is to blame?
Na, it couldn’t happen here.
An Israeli industrial designer has come up with a new delivery vehicle concept.
Complete with GPS communication, a self-balancing system and electric “arms”, the autonomous delivery bot TransWheel can only be described as a drone crossed with a unicycle. The machines can operate individually for smaller deliveries, said designer Kobi Shikar, or as part of a band of the robots for larger cargos.
A video on the designer’s website illustrates the ambitious concept of the wheelie critters carrying a shipping container.
Built in LEDs allow the robots to see lights and people in the dark, said Shikar, so they are safe to operate in urban environments.
Finnish mail provider Posti is set to start trialling drone deliveries in populated areas of Europe next month which, according to the company, will be the first time a drone has been flown in a “populated urban environment” in Europe.
The experiment, scheduled to take place between the 2 and 5 September, will see parcels “suited to the experiment” delivered by drone to Suomenlinna, a sea fortress island which forms part of Helsinki.
Posti said that the drones had been specially developed for the Finnish weather conditions, so who knows – perhaps they may even be able to cope with the British summer.