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This week in logistics: Parcelforce, Whistl and Clipper invest to grow, Amazon Air prediction rocks market


A round-up of the week’s news, including an acquisition by Whistl, Parcelforce upgrading its Manchester depot and some sobering predictions for rivals of Amazon.

Whistl ups customer service capabilities with acquisition

Whistl has acquired a UK-based fulfilment and contact centre company as it looks for new areas of growth.

Spark Ecommerce Group, based in Gateshead, will be rebranded Whistl Fulfilment.

The company offers both inbound and outbound contact centre functions, as well as an order fulfilment operation. Clients include the likes of FitFlop, Micro Scooters and PGA European Tour.

Nick Wells, CEO of Whistl, said: “Spark brings to Whistl great people, great brands and a shared philosophy of providing outstanding customer services to our clients. This is a great time to become part of the Whistl family.”

Clipper revenues rise due to fulfilment and returns growth

Retail logistics specialist Clipper saw group revenues up 14.1% year-on-year to £227.9 million in the first half of the year.

The company attributed the growth to strong performance in its management services for fulfilment and returns, where EBIT was up 17.1% to £6.2 million.

The half year has seen the firm win contracts with Sports Direct and Halfords, as well as what it said was organic growth with customers such as Asda, ASOS, Wilko, Browns and Silkfred.

It has also invested in automation projects across its estate as well as in new facilities in the UK and Poland.

Steve Parkin, Executive Chairman of Clipper, said: “The Group continues to be exceptionally well-placed to benefit from the continuing migration to online retailing and the increasing propensity for consumers to choose click-and-collect services when placing orders online.”

Parcelforce upgrades facility in Manchester

Parceforce moved its Manchester depot to a new facility, increasing its capacity in the local area.

The facility, based at Stakehill Industrial Estate, features an automated sorting system and will support collection from local clients as well as drop off.

A spokesperson said: “The relocation of the Manchester depot ensures we can support the delivery of a high level of service in the area.

“The design of the new depot gives us the best use of space and productivity and integrates services from depots and direct customers. Just in time for peak, we are prepared for a busy festive season in the area.”

Amazon Air potential rocks rivals

This week saw Morgan Stanley analyst Ravi Shanker claim that Amazon’s air freight business could sap revenue from FedEx and UPS, which currently handle up to 50% of Amazon’s package volumes.

In an investor note, Shanker claimed Amazon Air could mean 2% of lost revenue for UPS and FedEx in 2018, rising to 10% in 2025.

“For now, investors are focusing on Amazon’s last-mile efforts but we believe the challenge in Air is just as relevant,” he wrote.

Amazon now has 27 aircraft in the air, with a total of 40 to be in place by mid-2019.

At the time of writing, the share prices of FedEx and UPS were both down around 6% since 3 December.

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