Brazil’s B2W testing logistics drones

Brazil’s B2W Companhia Digital SA retailer is testing drone deliveries between its distribution centres and its stores.

The company is the first Brazil based retailer to test drones in its logistics operations. Local delivery startup iFood trialled food deliveries (in the final mile phase) last year.

“We are working closely with the air space regulation agency, Anac, to help create these rules in Brazil. … We expect to start using drones in our distribution by January 2021,” Fábio Abrate, B2W’s chief financial officer, said in an interview.

B2W, which operates local e-commerce brands Submarino , , Sou Barato and Shoptime, is a subsidiary of brick-and-mortar retailer Lojas Americanas and has more than 1,500 stores across Brazil.

Initially, the group will use drones to move merchandise from its 15 distribution centers and 200 hubs to stores. “Delivering straight in the customer’s house is not something for now,” Abrate said.

Brazil has unforgiving terrain and isolated communities that would make drone logistics an interesting proposition but as ever there are issues about physically getting the goods from the drone to the customer. Until this is worked out in the industry this will be one of the final hurdles to beat to make drone delivery possible.


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