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3PLs are boosting their final-mile and ‘white glove’ services in Europe, as e-commerce makes greater inroads into traditional forwarding.
This morning SEKO Logistics said it had doubled the size of its second-largest European operation to 80,000 sq ft, at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Logistics Park.
The aim is to put its entire cross-border e-commerce, omni-channel and international transport and fulfilment solutions under one roof.
SEKO also said the Amsterdam operation would spearhead the development of the company’s final-mile and ‘white glove’ services across the continent.
The news followed an announcement yesterday by XPO Logistics that it has expanded its last-mile logistics service for European-bound heavy goods with the launch of new routes to France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK.
The company said it expected last-mile deliveries to surpass 750,000 this year, “largely propelled by the ecommerce boom”.
Chief operating officer Troy Cooper said: “Consumers are buying more large items online, including furniture and appliances. These are home deliveries that often require white glove services such as assembly, installation and testing.
“We’ll leverage our proprietary technology and successful business model that have made us a last-mile leader in North America.”
Demand for last-mile services has risen 50% in the past 18 months, according to a white paper from Eye For Transport (EFT).
MD of retail and consumer at DHL Supply Chain John Boulter said that, due to heighted demand, the company had invested heavily in two-man home delivery services.
“There’s a need for crews to enter homes and provide services beyond drop-off, such as installation,” said Mr Boulter. “This final-mile service can have a huge influence on the overall customer experience, and it is crucial delivery teams are sufficiently skilled.”
In its report, EFT said that while B2B was still driving a “significant” percentage of growth, B2C shipments were the primary source of the surging demand. With some 48% of consumers “demanding” next-day delivery and 23% same-day, the pressure on shippers and their logistics partners were continuing to intensify.
By far the largest challenge, according to the report, remains delivery efficiency, with one in four operators surveyed by EFT citing its impact.
The report also highlights ignorance among the logistics providers polled: 56% believed full visibility was the most important thing for their customers. But retailers put full visibility second on their list of demands – 66% saying next-day delivery is the pivotal service.