Before COVID-19, the World Economic Forum estimated that approximately 40% of global air cargo was transported in the hold of passenger planes, and the remainder carried by specialist aircraft. Since the pandemic there are far fewer planes available to transport goods, and freight rates have risen. Also, goods take a much longer time to reach destinations not on major trade routes, since cargo operators primarily use hubs.

There are some upsides to the situation, though; jet fuel and gasoline prices have dropped and digital payments have surged. Working with partners to roll our out Contactless solutions has given us an enhanced understanding of the inner workings of their supply chains. Everyone now recognises the importance of safeguarding their staff and customers. They can see why automated reporting and paperless documentation are critical to seamless operations.

Should customers be concerned about the risk of Covid-19 transmission from contaminated packaging?

Since the pandemic started, we’ve closely monitored and assessed the scientific guidance on packaging’s transmission risks. Numerous studies, such as in The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine have indicated that COVID-19 particles can survive for prolonged periods on common packaging materials. Postal workers, travelling from household to household, can spread Covid-19 just by doing their job. 

The onus is on us to keep the supply chain COVID-free. This protects our logistics workers and the people they interact with. Our specialised Contactless solutions were designed specifically to limit person-to-person contact and reduce social contact at drop-off centres and parcel touchpoints. The beauty of our digitalised solutions is that they also reduce bottlenecking and sequencing time, and underpin paperless exchange to reduce infection risks. Our Contactless solutions also support effective contact-tracing to track a suspected parcel’s entire journey, and which hubs and personnel were in contact with it.

Such innovative and easily adopted technologies can significantly mitigate dangers posed by the pandemic. 

What are the longer-term trends you’re anticipating post Covid-19?

No one can tell how the logistics industry will change exactly. We do expect that the heightened emphasis on safety will continue even after the pandemic’s initial impact. We also expect that sustaining environmentally friendly transportation will continue being a priority. 

Fortunately, the most effective safety measures – such as frequent handwashing and PPE – are generally cheap and simple to install. Decarbonising or going fully green may be trickier, but we’re noticed a skyrocketing demand for digital technology. Logistics providers are seeking technological solutions to optimise their supply chains while addressing environmental challenges and the COVID-19 transmission risk. A common assertion is that technologies able to achieve this are just pipedreams or solutions for the future. The truth is that we do currently have active technologies to reduce emissions and other negativities.  An example is our GeoEngine, which uses natural language processing across 65 languages and more than two billion addresses to reduce average re-deliveries by more than 80%. Another is our LogisticsEngine, which increases average distance utilisation by more than 40%. Such technologies provide a win-win. Reducing vehicle congestion brings down costs, emissions, contact risks, and COVID-19 transmissions.

Jonathan Savoir, Co-founder & CEO, Quincus
Katherina Lacey, Co-founder & CPO, Quincus