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By Albe Pereira

Parcel shipments in the UK totalled an astonishing 2.8 billion in 2020 – a figure only set to climb higher in the years ahead. In fact, one of the most phenomenal trends of the last decade has been the continual reinforcement of just how important parcel and delivery networks are to our everyday lives. This is especially true over the past year in particular, with volumes of shipments intensified by the pandemic.

My name is Albe Pereira, and in my role at BlueCrest I focus on building and implementing innovative automation solutions for postal carriers across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Transport and delivery technology is a real passion of mine. The issues surrounding the efficiency and effectiveness of deliveries and supply chains affect us all. You only need to look at recent headlines around empty supermarket shelves and the growing shortage of drivers to understand their importance.

But what’s really evident is that to keep up with demand, both industry and governments across the world must focus on strengthening their delivery and parcel networks. In a digital age, as ecommerce becomes the default choice for many consumers and businesses alike, many parcel carriers must modernise their networks to keep pace with higher volumes. How we choose to do that is critical to future-proofing supply chains and making them fit for the demands of tomorrow.

Here’s where pioneering technologies like Magway step in.

I recently spoke about Magway and its potential to revolutionise the future of deliveries at Parcel + Post Expo, the leading global event for parcel delivery, e-commerce logistics and postal industries hosted in Vienna. Parcel + Post attracts attention from delivery and supply chain experts from across the world.

Focusing in on sustainability, I walked the crowd through how Magway, as an all-electric zero-emissions alternative to HGVs, can not only help strengthen supply chain networks by moving goods more effectively from point A to point B, but also do this in a much more environmentally friendly manner too.

The response of the audience was emphatic, and rightly so. I honestly believe Magway will have a crucial role to play in leading the sector towards more sustainable and robust deliveries in the not too distance future.

By removing the need for HGVs to transport goods between distribution hubs, Magway has the potential to massively reduce the carbon footprint of our supply chains. By efficiently feeding these hubs with goods, Magway can also help support other exciting improvements in delivery technology and developments – some of which are increasingly commonplace in urban areas up and down the UK, as well as internationally. These include:

1. Super-fast deliveries - imagine sitting at home and you’ve got Sunday lunch on the go, but you’re thinking that you need some dishwashing liquid and the kids probably want some ice cream after dinner. Although you don’t have these items right now, you instead have an app on your phone where you can place the order and 10 minutes later it's guaranteed to turn up at your door. This is already happening today in many of the big cities across the country and is attracting a lot of investment and interest. As it does, it’ll likely become far more widespread over the coming few years.

2. Pop-up centres - feeding these 10-minute deliveries will be networks of mini urban distribution centres and warehouses. Acting as local neighbourhood distribution centres, these pop-up centres will stock a set number of units and be able to service the super-fast deliveries residents and businesses in their immediate vicinity expect. By linking these centres with Magway systems, we can ensure a continual supply of goods and that an ever-expanding range of items are available for purchase.

3. Autonomous deliveries - whilst the urban distribution centres will be fed by systems like Magway, the last-mile will certainly also involve autonomous modes of delivery taking goods to the customers’ doorsteps. Autonomous vehicles, reliant on artificial intelligence and satellite technology, are already making their way into many smart city concepts and developments. There’s no reason they won’t also be deployed to speed-up deliveries in existing urban areas as well.

As we move beyond the pandemic, the delivery sector is continuing to grow at an unprecedented rate and in many exciting ways. It’s a true technological frontier. However, the challenge for parcel and delivery carriers now is to think about how they can scale their systems in the most sustainable way possible. This means not only in ways that are better for the environment but ones that are able to support future demand and customer expectations as well.

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