The supply crunch that has dogged the global shipping industry could worsen before it gets better, with new challenges ranging from crew retention to wage inflation. That’s a warning from executives at Wah Kwong Maritime Transport, a privately owned shipping company based in Hong Kong. They caution that contrasting approaches to containing the virus continues to disrupt the turnover and repatriation of seafarers landing at ports around the world. “There’s a real squeeze that we’re starting to see in terms of the disappearing applications for seafarers,” William Fairclough, managing director at Wah Kwong, said in an interview. “For certain types of ships, it may become very difficult to actually find the crew and you may get delays because of that. That’s conceivable, it’s never been the case before.”
The Postal Service announced today that it placed its initial Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV) delivery order with Oshkosh, WI, based Oshkosh Defense at a cost of $2.98 billion. The first order is for 50,000 vehicles – a minimum of which will be for 10,019 battery electric vehicles (BEVs).
“We are pleased to be moving forward with this much needed investment in our fleet,” said Postmaster General and USPS Chief Executive Officer Louis DeJoy. ”Since I came on board a year and a half ago, we have continuously evaluated and adjusted our vehicle purchase strategy based on our future network initiatives, ongoing review of BEV application to our operational strategy, and our financial outlook as we undertake our ongoing implementation of the Delivering for America plan. Based upon this work and our improving outlook, we have determined that increasing our initial electric vehicle purchase from 5,000 to 10,019 makes good sense from an operational and financial perspective. Many of our 190,000 delivery vehicles on the road are more than 30 years old and lack basic safety features which are standard in most vehicles today. The safety of the men and women of the Postal Service is our number one priority, and they have waited long enough for the NGDV. We owe it to our carriers and the communities we serve to provide safer, more efficient vehicles to fulfill our universal service obligation to deliver to 161 million addresses in all climates and topographies six days per-week.”
DeJoy added, “Today’s order demonstrates, as we have said all along, that the Postal Service is fully committed to the inclusion of electric vehicles as a significant part of our delivery fleet even though the investment will cost more than an internal combustion engine vehicle. That said, as we have also stated repeatedly, we must make fiscally prudent decisions in the needed introduction of a new vehicle fleet. We will continue to look for opportunities to increase the electrification of our delivery fleet in a responsible manner, consistent with our operating strategy, the deployment of appropriate infrastructure, and our financial condition, which we expect to continue to improve as we pursue our plan.”
Unlike the current Long Life Delivery Vehicles (LLV) the NGDV will feature air conditioning, improved ergonomics, and some of the most advanced vehicle and safety technology — including 360-degree cameras, advanced braking and traction control, air bags, a front-and rear-collision avoidance system that includes visual, audio warning, and automatic braking. The vehicles will also have increased cargo capacity to maximize efficiency and better accommodate higher mail and package volumes.
It is expected the NGDVs will begin appearing on carrier routes in late 2023.