In Good Time: From the first to the last mile

last-mile-delivery-is-made-by-electric-bus-and-e-bike-making-the-12send-service-carbon-neutralIn recent years, forwarders and express providers have found innovative ways to consolidate and move shipments within the bellies of passenger aircraft. Rarely, however, have these urgent shipments been routed through an airline’s baggage system. A potentially revolutionary service, known as “12Send,” may be the first to tap into this virgin territory, providing another option for the growing time-sensitive market.

Last December, Netherlands-based logistic firm Parcel International launched 12Send as a new intra- Europe, same-day delivery service in cooperation with KLM and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS). The 12Send service offers first-mile pickup from online sellers in the Schiphol catchment area, places the parcels in a trackable tote (measuring 60 x 40 x 35cm, see photo at right) and drops the packages into Schiphol’s baggage system. From there, the system routes the parcels to the appropriate aircraft flying to cities within KLM’s European network, much like a piece of passenger luggage. At the destination airport, 12Send takes over again by retrieving the parcel from the airport and providing last-mile delivery to the consumer, using electric vans or e-bikes.

An initial pilot program for same-day service operated successfully for two months last fall on KLM routes between AMS and Barcelona, before the service was expanded to destinations “Europewide.” From its AMS hub, KLM offers multiple daily flights to most major European cities, enabling 12Send to offer same-day delivery within Europe by 11 p.m., for packages received before 11 a.m.

Could 12Send be the answer for airlines hoping to connect e-freight to the abundant belly capacity that goes unused on short-haul passenger flights? Proceed to baggage claim to find out.

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