DHL Express, Pen Aviation Collaborate to Pursue Cargo Drone Delivery

Nov 2021

DHL Express, the leading international courier firm, and Pen Aviation, a Malaysia-based aviation solutions provider, have embarked on a partnership to commercialize time-critical cargo drone delivery using unmanned aerial vehicles. The initiative follows the government’s latest announcement of the 12th Malaysian Plan, which emphasizes the significance of seamless connection and reliability in transportation and logistics.

Both partners, and Raya Airways as the main drone operator, will be participating in the Proof of Commercialization (POC) by the end of 2021, focusing on the first-to-last-mile port logistics segment. The POC aims to demonstrate the cost and time optimization of a fleet of drones to streamline port logistics and goods distribution activities at commercial ports. It was noted that the POC will be conducted in accordance with the Malaysian Civil Aviation Authority’s Civil Aviation Directive CAD 6011, which permits the development of unmanned aircraft technologies.

Under this project, DHL and Pen Aviation will jointly collaborate to certify and utilize the “PEN55V” to move shipments to seaports over long distances. PEN55V is a medium-sized cargo drone that can pick up and drop off packages weighing up to 12 kilograms using three times less energy to fly and does not cause pollution. This is in step with DHL’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 (Mission 2050). In the longer term, DHL also intends to deploy a mixed fleet of PEN55Vs and PEN1360V, a heavy-sized cargo drone developed in partnership with Cavok-UAS.

Managing Director, DHL Express Malaysia & Brunei Julian Neo remarked that cargo drones will be the logistics industry’s next generation of transportation, and that drone technology can help courier services like DHL to reach rural communities, especially in East Malaysia who need critical items such as vaccines, medicines, and medical devices. In December 2020, DHL had also formed a collaboration with Malaysia-based Aerodyne Group on drone delivery services for use in life sciences and maritime supply chains.

(Sources: New Straits Times; The Sun Daily; Digital News Asia)

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