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International Forwarding Association Blog » European Logistics » Advantages of Drone Delivery for Freight Forwarders

Advantages of Drone Delivery for Freight Forwarders

The future of logistics is already here, with freight forwarders leveraging innovative technology to enhance their operations. Drone delivery, once a concept of science fiction, is fast becoming a game-changer in the world of freight forwarding. This cutting-edge solution offers unparalleled speed with real-world efficiency, economic benefits, access to previously challenging locations, and an eco-friendly approach poised to redefine the landscape of contemporary logistics.


Speed of Delivery

In European freight forwarding, drones stand out for three distinct reasons: they are not bound by labour laws that dictate operational hours, they soar above traffic and other terrestrial disruptions, and they are tailored for speedy loading and unloading.

First, unlike trucks which face operational limits due to labour constraints like stipulated work hours and mandatory breaks, drones can operate virtually non-stop. This makes them invaluable during periods of peak demand.

Second, drones aren’t impacted by challenges like roadworks, accidents, or strikes, which can cause unforeseen delays. This means while a truck’s schedule might be upset by these challenges, drones continue undeterred.

Third, their design emphasizes efficiency. Drones, especially those handling small shipments, can quickly load and offload their cargo, sidestepping the lengthy wait times larger vehicles might endure at docks or warehouses.


Reduced Operational Costs

Financial prudence is integral to any logistics operation, and here again, drones make a compelling case. The cost of fuel, often unpredictable and fluctuating, weighs heavily on traditional delivery methods. As drones are primarily electric, they insulate businesses from such market volatility. Moreover, when comparing the maintenance of road vehicles and drones, the latter emerges as more cost-effective. Fewer moving parts equate to reduced wear and tear which in turn leads to infrequent repairs. Then there is the human capital aspect. While traditional deliveries require a human driver, an automated drone fleet sidesteps such expenses: no salaries, no benefits, and no training costs.


Access to Remote Areas

Drones effectively address the logistics challenge of reaching remote areas. For instance, in mountainous terrains like the Swiss Alps or the Scottish Highlands, where winding roads can be treacherous and slow-moving, drones provide a direct aerial route that significantly reduces delivery times. Similarly, for island communities such as those in the Greek Archipelago, which can be disconnected due to limited ferry schedules or weather conditions, drones emerge as a consistent delivery solution. Even in dense forests where roads might be non-existent or prone to flooding, drones can reliably transport essential supplies.


Environmentally Friendly

Lastly, in an era emphasizing green logistics, drones present an eco-friendlier alternative to traditional delivery systems. Operating predominantly on electric batteries, drones have the distinct advantage of zero in-flight emissions, a sharp contrast to the greenhouse gases emitted by most delivery vehicles. They are also considerably quieter, which reduces noise pollution. This is a particularly pertinent benefit for urban locales or deliveries to peaceful natural areas. Moreover, by offering a clean delivery mechanism, drones can play a part in combatting the “urban heat island” effect seen in densely populated areas.