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Global Logistics Focus Sept.21, 2015

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60A THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE SEPTEMBER 21.2015 SPECIAL REPORT GLOBAL LOGISTICS FOCUS 2015 at the forefront of the drone delivery busi- ness, last year launching a pilot project on the North Sea island of Juist, delivering medications and other urgently needed goods by DHL parcelcopter. The research project was the first time in Europe that a flight by an unmanned aircraft was oper- ated outside of the pilot's field of vision in a real-life mission. Amazon in 2013 announced plans to deliver packages to U.S. customers using drones, although that has yet to materialize. Google last year used a fixed-wing drone aircraft to deliver packages that included chocolate bars, dog treats and cattle vaccines to farmers in the Australian outback. The rules for f lying unmanned aircraft dif - fer among jurisdictions, but are generally not conducive to developing drone-based delivery systems. There are restrictions on height, routes and times, and regula- tors aren't convinced that drones can operate safely in large numbers in built-up areas. Posti's Next Eagle piloting system contains technolog y to enable safe f ly- ing in challenging conditions, including a laser-based observation system to prevent collisions and multiple parallel communi- cations links between the operator and the helicopter to ensure the connection is never lost. The trial was conducted in pa r tnership with, one of Finland's largest e-tailers, and has been authorized by the Finnish Transport Safety Agency operating under the Min- istry of Transport and Communications. W.W. Grainger Acquires European Online Specialist INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTS DISTRIBUTOR W.W. Grainger this month closed its acquisi- tion of U.K.-based Cromwell Group, an independent distributor with online sales channels in Europe, for approximately $425 million. The Chicago-based company said it would use its supply chain expertise to accelerate Cromwell's growth online and to expand its own European online sales business. "We have demonstrated that when we have a broad product line and supply chain scale as we do in the U.S., we can develop a profitable online model very quickly," Jim Ryan, chairman, president and CEO of Grainger, said in a statement. "Cromwell's solid foundation will enable us to accelerate the growth of the online model in Europe within the next six months." Grainger, a $10 bil- lion business, distributes maintenance, repair and operating products, including industrial parts and components, in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Leicester, England-based Cromwell has a similar business, distributing more than 80,000 indust ria l products t hrough 54 U.K . branches and 12 international branches. The U.K. company has the added dis - tinction of being the official "purveyor of industrial supplies to Her Majesty the Queen" under royal warrant. Cromwell's annual revenue is approximately $440 mil- lion. Cromwell will operate as a subsidiary of Grainger, the companies said. Samskip Buys Up Swedish Multimodal Firm E U R O P E A N C O N T A I N E R L O G I S T I C S company Samskip snapped up the remain- ing shares of Van Dieren Sweden, a mul- timodal transportation company that it has partly owned since 2007. The acquisi- tion will g ive Samskip an even larger presence in Scandinavia, both in domes- tic markets in Norway and Sweden and in pan-European transport networks. "The acquisition of the remaining shares from Van Dieren Sweden is the next step into intensif ying Samskip's presence in the Nordic reg ion a nd f ur t her enha ncing ef ficiencies," Johan Log tenberg, man - ag ing director of Samskip Van Dieren Multimodal, said in a statement. Terms of t he t ra nsact ion weren't disclosed. Samskip, based in the Netherlands but founded in Icela nd in 1990, ha s been building out its intermodal rail network in Europe, adding services linking various markets. The company this year launched a dedicated service to move containerized goods by rail between Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Milan, Italy, building on efforts by Rotterdam, Europe's largest container port, to extend transportation links inland. Samskip Van Dieren last year created a direct intermodal rail link bet ween Scandinavia and France and Spain, launching a rail shuttle between Duisburg, Germany, and Bettembourg, Luxembourg. That service provided estab- lished intermodal connections for Samskip between Lyon and Le Boulou in Southern France, the Duisburg region and Denmark and Sweden. JOC

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