Delivery Drones are Arriving, at Last

APRIL 8, 2022

“After nearly a decade of largely unfulfilled hype about flying robots dropping orders at your doorstep,” writes The Wall Street Journal (April 2-3, 2022), “several companies have started commercial operations in the U.S. involving dozens or hundreds of deliveries a day at each location.” The companies are vying to be Americans’ choice when they want a bottle of Advil, a takeout meal, or the next iPhone delivered in under 30 minutes—once federal regulators enable broader rollouts.

Zipline recently started working on deliveries with Walmart at an Arkansas location. Flytrex, an Israeli startup focused on food delivery in the U.S. suburbs, just announced a new delivery station in Texas after 2 years of testing. Wing, a unit of Google, has rapidly increased its deliveries in Virginia as a result of the pandemic. While still small-scale, the operations mean that in a handful of locations, regular people now can try these services for themselves.

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VW Rethinks Globalization

MARCH 31, 2022

For years, Volkswagen thrived as a global company, building its cars all around the world. But as war, health scares and trade disputes roll back decades of globalization, the firm is changing its manufacturing approaches to adapt. VW’s goal now, writes The Wall Street Journal (March 28, 2022), is to shore up access to components and raw materials and to shorten supply chains to make its regional businesses less dependent on faraway suppliers.

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Amazon Air’s Supply Chain Obsession

MARCH 24, 2022

There is nothing like a pandemic and a European war to highlight the value of logistics, writes The Wall Street Journal (March 17, 2022).  Amazon’s growing fleet of planes shows that it is investing hard to deliver—probably at the expense of FedEx, UPS, and DHL.

Amazon’s cargo airline currently makes an average of 187 flights a day, compared with 85 in May 2020.

Since the Covid-19 crisis started, e-commerce purchases have skyrocketed and a lot of belly-hold space in planes has been removed. Many airfreight companies have seized the opportunity to grow. Amazon has taken the lead. It now has as many as 110 jets—less than DHL’s 202, UPS’ 289 and FedEx’s 474 but a lot more than the 50 it had at the start of 2020.

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