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planned safe and efficient

ways to serve Shanghai (PVG), Beijing (PEK) and Seoul (ICN). Many of these flights deliver PPE and medical supplies from Asia to U.S. soil, as well as mail, clothing and hard goods.

Issue 7 2020 - FBJNA “We essentially started

our own little airline,” said Tom Howard, a manager at American’s Integrated Operations Center, who led the development of the operation. “We had to build all of this out and coordinate how it flows

with our scheduled passenger service because, well, we’re a passenger airline.” “It’s satisfying to know that

we are both keeping American in

the air and keeping the world economy afloat,”

Supply chain management

professionals say most haven’t reached a “pandemic normal”

With just eCommerce the last volume

skyrocketing to 40% to 60% in

six months,

logistics professionals have had to make vast changes in getting products from point A to point B amidst the pandemic. So, is this the new normal? According to Thomas Goldsby, the Haslam Chair of Logistics at the University of Tennessee, the industry hasn’t quite gotten there yet.

“I think we’ll only be in the

“new normal” once we figure things out,” he said. “Here we are six months in, and we haven’t figured much out.” In a virtual panel discussion

on August 20 with PARCEL Forum, the leading educational conference for logistics professionals, M. Dave Malenfant, Director of Outreach & Partnerships for the Center for Supply Chain Innovation at Texas Christian University, Benoit Montreuil , Professor & Coca-Cola Material Handling & Distribution Chair at Georgia Institute of Technology, and

Thomas Goldsby, sat down with Joel Dunkel,, President of Event Evolution, producers of PARCEL Forum, to delve into what the logistics industry will look like aſter COVID-19.

eCommerce Is Here to Stay Throughout the

other than a few large

organizations, have simply been responding to the global crisis in order to survive. But what few have done is to think about readiness--to be ahead of the game. “Thinking about the new


eCommerce became an essential way of

life, and the

growth of online sales will only become bigger and bigger. This trend is challenging the logistics industry to restructure the supply chain to handle distribution, to separate direct-to-consumer from direct to-retail operations, and to approach frontloading inventory. “Most distribution centers are

not geared to do eCommerce, but we have to do something pretty darn quick. Otherwise, the industry will be caught,” says Malenfant. Being agile or resilient is

more important than ever. The reality is that most companies,

normal is understanding that we will never again be in the position to assume life is in a steady state that will not change. We will always need to be conscious of the fact that we will have to be ready for future disruptions,” says Professor Montreuil.

Automation Is the “New Normal”

Companies that will be successful aſter the pandemic are those that are agile by automating the process with the use of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), digitizing the entire supply chain, and the ability to perform true predictive analysis. “If there is an upside to

said Dennis Fiddler, a customer

service manager at American’s cargo facility in Miami. “We ensure countries are able to supply others with essential supplies. Although it feels like our borders are further apart because of COVID-19, our team is able to shorten that distance

what’s happening in the logistics environment, we recognize that warehousing, distribution, and logistics is way behind in


I believe what this has done is raise the level of urgency to

start doing automation,

whether it’s robotics in the warehouse or whether it’s using artificial intelligence and machine learning. I think that’s what the new normal is going to be. We’re going to see much more automation in modular distribution and a new definition of what the last mile or last quarter mile will be,” says Malenfant At Georgia Tech, they call

this growing trend “vector-free logistics,” whereby avoiding the people, equipment, or products propagating the pandemic while at the same time not being burdened by inefficiency, rigidity, and unsustainability as a result. This concept includes touchless operations and digitalization, robotization and automation, and autonomous transport. “This will completely change

the way logistics,

transport, and supply chains are going to be run,” says Professor Montreuil. “Robotics has been around for a very long time, but the

during this time of need.” What initially started as

a few test flights has since flourished, quickly becoming a

dependable service for

customers as demand around the world continues to grow. This

September, more than

business proposition just hasn’t been there,” says Professor Goldsby. “Now, I think there’s going to be a much more ready case for that. Then, you look at things like robotics as a service, that can offer much greater flexibility, the ability to flex up and flex down. Once you have decided to embrace robotics, doing so on a contingent basis that can accommodate sharp increases as well as presumably some decline, I think that affords a lot of flexibility and freedom we before.”

haven’t seen

Brick and Mortar Will Become Forward

Distribution Centers

While the idea of hyperconnected city logistics has existed for several years- -a

concept that harmonizes

omnichannel fulfillment, eCommerce, and brick-and- mortar retail for smarter, more efficient delivery of


there hasn’t been a lot of traction to advance these technology sets at scale. However, there is already a shiſt in focus from the “last mile” to the “last quarter mile,” according to Malenfant.” During the pandemic, it has been easier to achieve fast


1,000 scheduled cargo-only flights will be accompanied by more than 1,200 passenger flights also offering cargo services — giving Cargo customers access to more than 2,200 flights throughout the month.

delivery in the final quarter mile because urban centers are not congested. However, when the economy opens again, delivering in the last quarter mile may well cripple the delivery network as it sustains this increased growth in eCommerce. “I think we’re going to see

a hybrid, where brick-and- mortar will become forward distribution centers,” says Malenfant,

“because some of

the smaller players cannot afford to totally restructure their distribution centers for eCommerce.” For In order for the logistics network to work efficiently, small companies as well as large will have to place product closer and closer to the consumer, building out a network of micro-fulfillment centers that crisscross across cities

and allowing large for very

territories, fast

movement of items. That creates opportunities for third- party logistics providers who can consolidate and deliver products from many vendors on a more economical scale. Professor Montreuil noted,

“The game is changing. Each company must be proactive and ask itself, ‘How can we be part of the new normal?’”

Air-City, powered by SEKO, has launched a new international parcel delivery service into the United States aſter gaining approval from U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) to process Section 321, Type 86 (T86) ocean imports through SEKO Logistics’ Container Freight Station (CFS)

in Long Beach,

California. The approval enables Air-

City and SEKO Logistics to offer marketplaces, merchants and direct-to-consumer brands fully-

trackable, 20-22 day, door-to-door deliveries across the U.S. for the inbound ocean shipments from China, Asia and Australasia that qualify under the increased $800 de minimus threshold and conditions. This enables the shipment of articles imported by one person, on one day having an aggregate fair retail value in the country of shipment of not more than $800 to be exempted from duty and tax. In addition to the faster end-to- end transit times and shipment

visibility, Air-City and SEKO say this new service will produce savings of 25-50% compared to the Universal Postal Union (UPU) rates, that have soared up to 150% into the United States from July 1, 2020, when the U.S. began setting their own inbound postage rates. Air-City and SEKO plan to

extend this service to include shipments arriving at other U.S. west

coast ports, along with

offering ground transportation to Mexico and Canada. The new CBP approval means that Air-

City and SEKO can now process T86 entries for ocean shipments, in addition to their T86 existing approval for goods imported by air.

“Since SEKO partnered with

Air-City last year, we’ve seen a

significant acceleration of

our inbound international e-commerce business from China into the U.S.,” said Chris Zheng, Executive Vice President at Air- City Powered by SEKO. “With the changes happening in the market, we reached out to U.S. Customs at Long Beach to participate in their Section 321 Type 86 Test to move Section

321 imports through

Air-City’s value-added, ‘express-like’ replacement for international postal services is a time definite, trackable alternative that quickly pivots from air to ocean in response to consumer demand. (SEKO photo.)

SEKO’s Container Freight Station in Long Beach, versus having to use the off-site public Container Examination Station (CES).” SEKO is confident that

marketplaces, merchants, and direct-to-consumer brands

will recognize the value of this subsequent approval, along with the time and cost benefits. Zheng explained that this value-added, ‘express-like’ replacement for international postal services is

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