The term “last-mile” is used to define the last stage of logistics, sending the goods or the product to the receiver through a certain medium. As we all know, this is one of the most challenging phases of the logistics industry.
The COVID pandemic dealt a heavy blow to the supply chain of London, and there has been more than one failure, along with thousands of late deliveries. However, to combat this situation, London’s government has recently approved a new last-mile logistics hub.
The Effect of a Last-Mile Logistics Hub
Usually, goods are transported through air cargo, freight rail networks, or freight ships in general. These transportation methods are capable of moving a lot of goods from one place to another fast and efficiently.
However, these mediums are only used for sending goods from one logistics hub to another, but they can’t be used to send them to the final receivers. I’m pretty sure you never imagined that your goods will be delivered via a freight ship to your doorstep.
This is where the last-mile logistics hubs come in. These hubs receive the goods from ships, rails, or air cargo, and they deliver the products to the consumers.
However, it’s seen that the last-mile logistics hub is less efficient, as they comprise up to 53% of the total cost, even when the modern TMS software is used for better management. This is also known as the “Last Mile Problem”.
This problem persists in both rural and urban areas. Then again, another dimension of this problem is often seen in relief programs, where the aid is delivered after a long time.
Another problem that plagues the last-mile logistics phase is unattended packages. Often, it’s seen that the parcels are delivered properly to the doorstep of the receiver but aren’t picked up. If left like that in the wide open for long, then the parcel suffers from decay due to exposure to the weather. Then again, they might also be stolen from their front porch, an act that’s committed by “Porch Pirates”.
However, such a problem can be solved by delivering the logistics system deploys lockers scattered across the entire region, and the products can be delivered to the lockers instead of being delivered to the person. This minimizes the problem and eliminates any possibility of being plagued by porch pirates.
To reduce the cost incurred due to the last-mile problem, autonomous vehicles will soon be deployed by most last-mile logistics systems. This will reduce the cost to a great extent.
By now, hopefully, you have a good idea about how a last-mile logistics hub works.
Plans of London’s Last-Mile Logistics Hub
As we all know, the pandemic has hit the supply chain badly. Plus, due to the massive shortage, the numbers of “Porch Pirates” have increased by a great deal, and the number of scalpers on different e-commerce sites has increased as well.
To combat all of these problems at once, London’s authorities, the Planning and Transportation Community specifically, has approved this initiative. According to this plan, 39 parking lots all across London will be transformed into a Last-Mile Logistics hub, and each of them will be equipped with high-end TMS software for better management and higher efficiency.
These hubs will be used by Amazon Logistics, as they are the leading eCommerce retailers in London as of this moment, and most transactions are done through them.
As for the supply chain, it goes like this. The products and the goods will be delivered to the logistics hubs via transport vehicles, and the products will be delivered to the nearest possible logistics hub to the receiver.
Once they are delivered, they are to be sorted. Then, a rider will be assigned to the different products, and they’ll deliver the packages to the doorstep of the receiver either on e-cargo bikes or on foot.
The population of London has been increasing in the last few years, and the number of vehicles on the road is increasing as well. Other than just reducing the overall cost of the supply chain, this plan aims to reduce the number of transport vehicles in the streets of London.
As the transport vehicle won’t go from door to door, they will only travel only once a day. Then again, the last-mile logistics won’t deliver the goods on transport vehicles, but on bikes or foot. This is a great way of reducing the overall traffic on the roads.
Other than that, the overall cost will reduce as well. As the transport vehicles will follow a definite route to deliver to all the different hubs, they will be able to save fuel on the process.
Then again, the last-mile delivery won’t use any fuel-powered vehicle at all. This will decrease fuel-consumption, which makes this plan sustainable, cost-efficient, as well as eco-friendly.
If this initiative still seems insignificant to you, hopefully, some raw numbers will help you understand the depth of it better. This plan will take at least 85 vehicles off the roads of London each day. Then again, due to this plan, the number of vehicle journeys on the roads of Central London is expected to decrease by 23,000.
As you can see, this plan alone is going to create a huge difference in the roads of London. If this plan is executed successfully, and if it shows the expected results, then the committee will be inclined to make new programs for logistics hubs and for improving the TMS software, all of which can be beneficial to London and its inhabitants.
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