Welcome to the November 1st edition of Warehouse & Logistics News. Consumer demand for online shopping grows and grows, and so does the need for flexible, robotic storage and retrieval solutions. On our front page AutoStore, the unique, space saving automated storage and retrieval system powered by Swisslog, is enjoying unprecedented adoption globally as ecommerce customers demand more flexibility in their warehouses. Swisslog has now sold over 130 projects worldwide, making the company the number one AutoStore integrator.
As readers will be aware, pallet networks as we know them began here as a British concept and the idea has caught on around the world. Meanwhile the major networks continue to gain ground back here where they started. As we report in our Pallet Networks feature, Palletforce has turned in a 45% increase in its European volumes and extended its European coverage from eight to 24 countries.
Whether it’s ecommerce or grocery supply chains or whatever, people in the business have been saying to us for years that running logistics operations in London is uniquely complex, with the high population density and slow moving traffic. But at the same time everyone wants their logistics operations to be cleaner and greener, and the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), which comes into effect in London next April, could be just the catalyst (pun intended) to bring that about.
In our Logistics Supplement in the centre pages, Graham Nagus, head of LCV at Renault Truck, goes along with the idea that electromobility is the future, but says that if we are to increase adoption rates of electric vehicles in the UK and meet the government’s ‘Road to Zero’ targets, we need a strategic roadmap that clarifies the key issues of urban planning, establishing a national charging infrastructure and investing in our power networks.
With only limited charging points for electric vehicles currently in place in London, there’s a lot of work to be done between now and 25 October 2021 when the ULEZ area expands to take in the Inner London area bounded by the North and South Circular Roads. But with 44 cities in the UK having air pollution levels that exceed World Health Organisation guidelines, logistics businesses serving London will be able to take their valuable learnings to their colleagues in the rest of the UK.
And finally, just before we went to press I visited Germany to see HUBTEX, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of specialised electric multidirectional sideloaders, order picking solutions and special equipment for handling long, difficult and bulky goods. HUBTEX has a global network of over 60 sales and service partners, including subsidiaries in France, England, Belgium, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, and expects revenue to grow 10% this year. We’ll have a full report in our next issue.