Expo 2020 Dubai, representing the physical event of many efforts UPS is leading regarding Innovation and Sustainability. The Expo itself is focusing on ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future through sustainability, mobility and opportunity.’ What is the importance for UPS to be present at this global mega event and how are you contributing to these topics?
As the Official Logistics Partner of Expo 2020 Dubai, UPS is an important player in the lead-up to the event. UPS and Expo 2020 announced the partnership in 2017, and we have been planning and providing operational services ever since.
UPS has increased capacity, technology and capabilities to serve customers shipping to and through Dubai. This expanded presence will remain after the event concludes, allowing UPS to support commerce and trade in this fast-growing region. UPS is excellently positioned to help its customers reliably get their valuable goods to the right destination, at the right time, in the right physical condition, and at the right price. Businesses of all sizes in Europe and in Switzerland are and will be looking to continue to trade internationally and they will need a reliable partner to help them successfully reach their customers. The Expo 2020 is a proof point for our global and reliable network. Customers in Switzerland benefit of the capabilities of UPS to enter international markets. This is particularly interesting for small companies that can’t afford their own distribution structures abroad.
Sustainability, Mobility and Opportunity are Expo 2020 subthemes. UPS is operating alternative fuel vehicles like electric-assist four-wheel cycles and tricycles throughout the event. Additionally, all on-site UPS delivery trucks are equipped with telematics, which provides visibility into vehicle performance and enables more control and efficiency across the fleet.
Finally, during the six-month mega event, UPS is using an off-grid charging system to charge its fleet of EVs, developed in collaboration with Arrival, at DP World’s FLOW Pavilion.
Sustainability is nowadays not an option but a must. What initiatives is UPS leading?
At UPS, we conduct our business and operations with consideration for their environmental impact and seek to lead our industry in reducing it. Because our operations depend on vehicles and aircraft to a considerable extent, we focus strongly on making our transportation network as efficient and environmentally sound as possible.
Through a mixture of innovation, technology excellence and partnerships, UPS has developed one of the most sustainable delivery fleets in the world. For more than three decades, we have been exploring the use of alternative fuel and advanced technology to conserve fuel and reduce emissions. Our ‘Rolling Laboratory’ program consists of a specialized fleet with more than 13’000 vehicles. In Europe alone, we now operate more than 300 alternative fuel vehicles. We are using compressed natural gas, bio methane, hybrid electric vehicles, and fully electric vehicles.
UPS and UPSers have a long history of strengthening communities and providing humanitarian relief. Every year, UPS contributes nearly 110 million Swiss francs ($117 million) in philanthropy through The UPS Foundation, and UPS employees give nearly 3 million hours of volunteer service to local NGOs/charities. UPS is committed to funding systemic education and creating opportunities for underserved women, youth, and marginalized communities. By 2030, the company wants to mobilize 30 million volunteer hours for local community engagement and to plant 50 million trees to advance environmental justice and a more sustainable world.
Can you tell us a bit more about UPS off-grid electric vehicle charging systems?
For the first time in its history, UPS is using an off-grid charging system to power its fleet of EVs at Expo 2020. Sunlight is being captured by panels on the pavilion’s roof, with the solar energy flowing through an inverter to an off-grid Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) unit which powers the charging station. Our joint efforts allow us to decentralize the charging system, eliminating the need for electricity in charging vehicles at Expo 2020.
We are always keen on testing new technologies in our operations to become more sustainable. Expo 2020 is no exception and allows us to experiment a lot.
The company is not only changing the power of its vehicles, but as well its typology. Could you tell us more about the newly introduced eBikes and eQuads?
UPS is operating alternative fuel vehicles like electric-assist quadricycles and tricycles throughout Dubai 2020. A four-wheeled e-assist cycle and a three-wheeled eBike are serving the logistics needs of participating countries and visitors during the six-month event and operate between the five UPS customer counters, country pavilions and onsite warehouse to deliver packages, documents and goods for replenishment.
In 2012, we started using electric assisted cargo bikes in Hamburg. Meanwhile, these vehicles are in use in more than 30 cities worldwide to reduce emissions. We started at a time when there was no pressure to do it. We figured it out and did it because we could. We learned, we optimized and we used what we learned to scale the project in Hamburg and to transfer it to other cities.
UPS communicated its ambitious goals to become Carbon Neutral by 2050. What are the planned efforts to reach this goal?
With our global footprint and customers in more than 220 countries and territories, we have seen how climate change, air quality and other socioeconomic challenges intersect. On 10 June 2021 at the Investor Relations conference, we announced a new set of companywide ESG targets. These include our pledge to be carbon neutral across scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions in our global operations by 2050. Our interim 2035 environmental sustainability targets include:
UPS has a rolling laboratory strategy for its fleet of alternative fuel vehicles around the world, which means that we are constantly evaluating and experimenting which alternatives offer a sustainable way of making deliveries while being feasible for the business and meeting the needs of our customers. Since 2009, UPS has invested more than 700 million Swiss francs ($750 million) in alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles and fueling stations.
UPS’s normal operating model is based on consolidation within our own network and optimizing capacity utilization on planned routes. This is how we achieve our industry-leading margins and ensure the most efficient service for our customers around the world. The UPS Access PointTM network (more than 29’000 locations across Europe and around 550 in Switzerland) also addresses the challenge of urban logistics by making deliveries more efficient and reducing the need for a driver to make return visits when customers are not at home.
Additionally, UPS is successfully combining human and electric power by deploying tricycles (conventional and electrically assisted Cargo Cruisers and Cyclo Cargos).
How are you seeing the Future of Innovation at UPS? Do you have some concrete projects in the pipeline?
Technology powers every service we offer and every operation we perform. Our technology initiatives are driven by our customers’ needs. UPS is a global leader in developing technology that helps our customers optimize their shipping and logistics business processes to lower costs, improve service and increase efficiency.
For example, we offer a variety of online service options that enable our customers to integrate UPS functionality into their own businesses not only to conveniently send, manage and track their shipments, but to provide their customers with better information services. Technology is also the foundation for process improvements within UPS that enhance productivity, improve reliability and efficiency, and reduce costs.
Question: Over the last year UPS contributed as well to the prevention and cure of COVID-19, could you tell us a bit more?
UPS was involved in the fight against COVID-19 from the very beginning. The UPS Foundation shipped two million masks to Wuhan in January 2020 while the rest of the world was considering the impact of what was yet to be declared a pandemic. Fast forward to the first vaccine deliveries to Canada and you see a commonality: Our smart global logistics network was up, running and ready.
We are ideally positioned to serve customers in Healthcare and Life Sciences with our vast delivery network. With major dedicated health care facilities in Roermond (NL) and Budapest (HU), UPS and UPS Healthcare are investing heavily in infrastructure and capabilities.
Question: What are your impressions from your first months that you are living in Switzerland? What are your wishes for 2022 from a personal and a business perspective?
Since my arrival in Basel in Switzerland in June 2021 I have settled in well. However, there was the Corona crisis that challenged all of us on various levels. On a personal basis, I found it very difficult to be able to do nothing, knowing that my parents were in the highly affected area in Padova. That is why, from a business perspective, I was very happy and proud about the fact that UPS got involved in the fight against COVID-19 in the very beginning of the pandemic (see above). Our top priority was a global and simultaneously sustainable approach of the situation.
When looking at the future of our business, I think it is a huge advantage that the Swiss market is very stable. Since my assignment in Switzerland, I have learned that people living here attach great importance to high quality. That is why I find it important that we sustain and improve continuously the quality of our services. Besides that, we should continue extending our UPS Access PointTM network to offer our customers better accessibility to our services.
Since my arrival to Switzerland, I have been visiting our subsidiaries and meeting our employees to get a better picture of this interesting market and the needs of our customers. I am also looking forward to getting to know better the Swiss people, landscapes and culture.
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