DHL, Huawei enter ambitious automation partnership

Deutsche Post DHL Group and Chinese technology conglomerate Huawei Technologies are collaborating on a range of supply chain services for customers using “industrial-grade internet-of-things hardware and infrastructure.”

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The internet of things (IoT) refers to physical devices, such as vehicles, buildings and other items, that are embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators and network connectivity that can communicate with each other. That shared information is then utilized to automate and streamline processes. For example, sensors in refrigerators can read bar codes of products and make sure the milk is fresh and the beer is adequately stocked. (If it could read you’re emails, it might notice your  upcoming poker night and suggest you order an extra 12-pack.)

Deutsche Post DHL estimates that the IoT could generate up to US$1.9 trillion in additional value for the global logistics industry by 2025. The logistics company sees the new technology as a way for operators to “better monitor and optimize their supply chain processes with low-cost networked sensors and devices.”

Under the MOU, Huawei and Deutsche Post DHL Group will collaborate on developing cellular-based IoT technology. The projects will tackle ways to connect numerous devices across long distances with minimal power consumption. Connected devices will share data and to increase visibility in warehousing operations, freight transportation, and last-mile delivery.

The agreement assigns Huawei’s connectivity experts and network infrastructure accessible to Deutsche Post DHL Group’s automation projects in warehousing, freight and last-mile delivery services.

“Spending on connected logistics solutions is expected to more than double between now and 2020, and many logistics providers, including Deutsche Post DHL Group, have already begun to explore internet of things applications in their supply chains, including everything from enhanced asset tracking to driverless delivery vehicles,” said Markus Voss, COO and CIO of DHL Supply Chain.

DHL has already opened its €90 million Advanced Regional Center in Singapore in 2016, featuring almost-entirely automated picking and storing infrastructure that the company says is 20 percent more efficiently than its human equivalent.

Those interested in learning more about air freight in 2017, should join us at Cargo Facts Asia in Shanghai, 25 – 26 April.  To register, or for more information, go to

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