Over the next two years, Rhenus Air & Ocean and Wings for Aid will work together to explore the feasibility of a strategic alliance for the ‘last mile’ delivery of relief goods in disaster areas. Both parties signed an agreement this month.
Bridging the so-called ‘last mile’ in disaster areas that are difficult to reach is a major logistical problem. It is estimated that 100 million people in disaster areas are in need of emergency aid every year, 20 percent of whom are poorly served. Wings for Aid responds to this with an innovative delivery system consisting of unmanned small airplanes and smart technology that allows self-landing boxes of emergency aid to land with great precision in otherwise inaccessible places. Rhenus Air & Ocean looks after the logistics needed to get the delivery system to its destination quickly and efficiently, anywhere in the world.
The system can be used for disaster relief, but also for the planned supply of medicines in remote areas. In 2018, the system was tested in the Dominican Republic, delivering 20 kilograms of emergency aid per flight. Based on the positive results, work is now underway on the next generation of unmanned aircraft capable of carrying 120 kilograms per flight, over a distance of 250 kilometres, and then returning for the next flight. Further tests will be carried out in the summer of 2019.
“The goal of our partnership is to combine our growth ambition, by offering innovative logistics solutions, with the drive to also have a positive social impact,” says Frank Roderkerk, Regional Manager Air & Ocean Benelux of the Rhenus Group.
“Our goal is to provide emergency aid where no one else can,” says Barry Koperberg, Director of Wings for Aid, “and to be there within 48 hours, anywhere in the world. The strength and network of Rhenus Air & Ocean will help us achieve that ambition.”
The Rhenus Group is a logistics services provider with global business operations and an annual turnover of EUR 5.1 billion. Rhenus has business sites at 660 locations worldwide and employs 31,000 people. The Rhenus business areas – Contract Logistics, Freight Logistics and Port Logistics – manage complex supply chains and provide a wealth of innovative value-added services.
About Wings for Aid
Wings for Aid is a Dutch start-up that helps humanitarian organisations to reach people in need in the most inaccessible places. Using automatic flights and patented self-landing boxes, Wings for Aid offers new possibilities to oversee situations, overcome obstacles and deliver emergency aid efficiently, exactly where it is needed. In addition to working with Rhenus Air & Ocean, Wings for Aid also works closely with technical universities and the German aviation institute DLR.