In a bid to supply new capacity to a last-mile delivery sector that is striving to adopt to sudden spikes in demand for “essential” goods during the Covid-19 crisis, some logistics tech firms are repurposing their platforms to focus on grocery and healthcare instead of retail and passenger traffic.
The Canadian logistics software company Descartes today said it will share a complimentary list of pool distribution operators that can help shippers and logistics service providers (LSPs) looking to quickly increase their delivery capacity with highly-skilled resources.
Waterloo, Ontario-based Descartes says many of the pool operators who are its clients serve the specialty retail market, and are now experiencing a severe downturn in their business because stores are shuttered. At the same time, there is still a significant demand for last-mile and home delivery services—especially with widespread travel bans and work from home rules intended to slow the spread of Covid-19. So Descartes says it can help businesses on both sides of the equation by sharing its list of pool distribution providers with those who need excess capacity.
Likewise, Berkeley, California-based AxleHire, a same-day and next-day delivery platform provider, has donated its services to help feed healthcare workers at a local hospital by providing free delivery of over 250 meals donated by one of their clients, a meal-kit vendor.
The donation comes as AxleHire has seen its same-day delivery volume increase by 800 to 900% in recent weeks due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The company now plans to expand its free delivery program in the coming weeks to reach more hospitals and broaden its support of healthcare practitioners.
And Columbus, Ohio-based Share Mobility is repurposing its passenger transportation network to move freight instead of people. The firm was originally founded to offer a transportation solution that bridges the gap between mass transportation and individually owned, single-occupancy vehicles. Share’s software creates efficient routes that group together riders going the same way at the same time, targeting employers, schools, municipalities, and senior living communities.
However, the company is now reallocating its resources to help essential distributors and transportation companies deliver prescriptions, groceries, and health supplies. "There are critical supplies that need to be delivered and the current infrastructure is just not built to deal with the increased demand," Share Founder and CEO Ryan McManus said in a release. "Businesses are scrambling to get people the food and medicine they need, so it makes sense to do what we can to help them solve this problem."
Beyond its own fleet of vehicles in Ohio, the company is also working with other transportation companies across the country—enabling them to turn their own fleets of "people-moving" vehicles into supply delivery vehicles using Share's software platform. "Our software is built to help businesses route inbound requests to available vehicles," McManus said. "Whether they need help getting people to their jobs or bringing food, medicine and other essentials to their homes, we can adapt. Now we want to help other transportation companies do the same."