Road Logistics

Safe and Sound – Prime Mover Magazine


Despite sweeping disruptions impacting the global supply chain last year, FedEx Express Australia, has not wavered from its long-term strategy.

As a business its priorities remain the same as pre-COVID-19 — that is to support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) by making it easy for them to do business and grow, using both digital and human touchpoints.

For customers especially impacted by COVID-19, FedEx Express Australia, as the company is now known following the consolidation of operations with TNT in April, enables them to access newer opportunities and markets as they pivot their business models in the wake of the pandemic.

Part of the business recovery that FedEx is providing for SMEs is digital solutions as more and more companies move towards online transactions.

The onslaught of stay-at-home orders issued around the world over the past year, have accelerated growth of e-commerce, which has driven the digital transformation that was already well underway pre-COVID. This, in turn, has led to increased demand for air and ground deliveries.

“Due to our proactive planning and the ability to flex our network, we did not stop operating at any point during the pandemic and remain well positioned to support the global response to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, as well as the needs of our customers as they stayed home and shopped online,” says Peter Langley, FedEx Express Australasia Vice-President.

FedEx, for its part, helped ensure the delivery of critical medical supplies, personal protective equipment and other essential goods. As the pandemic forced many commercial airlines to reduce flights or even close entirely, this left only a limited number of passenger flights in operation.

Peter Langley, FedEx Australasia Vice President.

It was one of many challenges confronting logistics and freight carriers like FedEx last year, especially at the height of the virus outbreak. Globally, there was a 73 per cent drop in passenger air cargo belly space between February and May 2020.

This led to significant capacity constraints across the entire industry, even as FedEx worked round the clock to respond to increased global demand. Proactive planning was critical.

FedEx continued to flex its Australian and global networks to create additional capacity necessary to respond to the needs of Australian customers and communities according to Peter.

“Owning our own cargo fleet has allowed us to increase the rotation of our flights to and from Australia, changing routes where needed to create efficiencies whilst keeping up with the latest border restrictions,” he says. “We were able to considerably scale up our weekly flights to Australia to keep supply chains moving during COVID-19.”

Safety is paramount at FedEx. All decisions on suitable suppliers of its commercial vehicles, whether these be Mercedes-Benz Sprinters or Renault Masters in the van space or Isuzu or Mercedes-Benz Actros in the light and heavy vehicle space respectively, are made on the basis of safety and the internal process control measures it has in place.

In accordance with this benchmark, the company currently purchases vehicles from several manufacturers who meet the specific requirements inherent in best optimising the application in use.

Its multi-faceted fleet comprises a majority of Pick Up and Delivery (PUD) vehicles, bulk delivery vehicles, semi-trailers and B-double units.

The PUD sector typically comprises smaller trucks, one tonner vans and a fleet of concept vehicles, where the driver of the vehicle can walk through to the cargo area from the driver’s seat instead of using the driver-side door.

These concept vehicles help the drivers select freight (some are fitted with shelving) and the driver can then alight from the passenger side door in the cargo area, down a step and safely onto the footpath, or at least out of most traffic situations. The concept vehicle project commenced in 2017 with the building of three units…



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