Sustainability has become a cornerstone of Loblaw’s growth strategy. The Canada-based grocer has long pursued more efficient operations, and recently announced that it has entered a multi-year agreement to partner with tech company Gatik. The two will deploy a fleet of autonomous delivery vehicles in Toronto, Ontario, beginning in January 2021. With the tech expertise of Gatik, Loblaw will now offer a new delivery solution that is both reliable and contactless.
“As more Canadians turn to online grocery shopping, we’ve looked at ways to make our supply chain more efficient. Middle-mile autonomous delivery is a great example,” said Lauren Steinberg, Senior Vice President, Loblaw Digital. “With this initial roll-out in Toronto, we are able to move goods from our automated picking facility multiple times a day to keep pace with PC Express online grocery orders in stores around the city.”
According to a press release, this deployment marks the first autonomous delivery fleet in Canada. The news follows a successful 10-month-long on-road pilot in Toronto, with one autonomous delivery vehicle in play.
To meet Loblaw’s unique retailing needs, Gatik upfits Ford Transit 350 box trucks with refrigeration units, lift gates, and its proprietary autonomous self-driving software for urban, suburban, and highway driving. Gatik will be operating its vehicles, five in total, for Loblaw up to seven days a week, 12 hours a day, on five routes with fixed pick-up and drop-off locations. All vehicles will also have a safety driver as a co-pilot.
“Loblaw is one of Canada’s leading grocery retailers, and we are proud to be selected to play a key role in enhancing the safety and efficiency of its already robust supply chain,” said Gautam Narang, CEO and Co-Founder of Gatik. “Retailers know the biggest inefficiencies in their logistics operations often exist in the middle-mile, typically between automated picking facilities and retail locations. This is where Gatik lives and succeeds and is the reason we’re able to offer immediate value to our customers. We are delighted to partner with Loblaw in addressing this critical piece of their supply chain.”
To date, Gatik has completed more than 30,000 revenue-generating autonomous orders for multiple customers across North America, leading us to believe that this partnership will be one for the ages.
Is this the first of many steps toward a more autonomous grocery landscape? Keep an eye out for more reports from Deli Market News.