PIESHIP incorporates AI to boost last-mile delivery

PIESHIP incorporates AI to boost last-mile delivery
PIESHIP offers its clients warehouse management solutions, utilizes an app for delivering shipments, and provides technical solutions for logistics services. (SPA)
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Updated 23 April 2024
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PIESHIP incorporates AI to boost last-mile delivery

PIESHIP incorporates AI to boost last-mile delivery
  • Saudi logistics startup set to bolster sector through digital solutions

CAIRO: Saudi Arabia’s logistics sector has spawned a new breed of entrepreneurial talent aiming to utilize the most recent technological trends to boost the economic pillar. 

The Kingdom’s last-mile deliveries have been encountering delays and inefficiencies due to slow technology adoption, which has called for new innovations in the sector.  

According to a report by global logistics leader Maersk, the lack of digital advancements in local delivery networks hampers shipment tracking and visibility. 

Additionally, consumer preference for cash on delivery, empty miles, and sudden demand spikes pose financial challenges for last-mile logistics. 

These challenges have spurred the emergence of PIESHIP and its commitment to bolstering the sector through digital solutions. 

Founded in 2023 by Nasser Al-Harthi, Musaed Al-Amri, and Mohammed Mohsen, PIESHIP utilizes artificial intelligence and crowdsourcing to optimize delivery routes and schedules, reduce costs, and enhance customer experience. 

The company offers its clients warehouse management solutions, utilizes an app for delivering shipments, and provides technical solutions for logistics services. 

“By doing so, PIESHIP aims to make last-mile delivery more efficient and reliable, benefiting both companies and their customers,” Al-Harthi, the CEO, told Arab News in an interview. 

PIESHIP is setting its sights on becoming a leader in last-mile delivery services, aligning closely with the fast-paced global shifts toward more efficient, reliable, and cost-effective logistics solutions.   

“Our aim is to become a leading provider of last-mile delivery services,” the CEO articulated, emphasizing the company’s commitment to technological innovation and customer satisfaction to navigate the future logistics landscape. 

Continuous innovation 

To maintain its competitive edge, PIESHIP is focusing on continuous innovation, “by investing in research and development, collaborating with industry partners, and staying abreast of the latest logistics trends and technologies,” according to Al-Harthi.  

The company is particularly excited about the potential of advanced analytics and machine learning to refine delivery processes and enhance efficiency, he added. 

In light of its recent seed funding round, PIESHIP is channeling resources into expanding its technological backbone, team capabilities, and research efforts. 

“These investments are crucial for improving our service offerings and operational efficiency,” Al-Harthi said. 

E-commerce expansion, technology adoption, sustainability, and enhancing customer experiences are pivotal trends that resonate with Vision 2030’s goals.

Nasser Al-Harthi, PIESHIP CEO

He further highlighted the company’s commitment to leveraging these assets to bolster its market presence in Saudi Arabia and potentially beyond.

A shared vision 

Regarding the future of logistics in Saudi Arabia, the CEO sees a direct connection between industry trends and the nation’s Vision 2030 objectives.

The economic diversification plan is focused on making the Kingdom a worldwide logistics hub. 

The government’s National Transport and Logistics Strategy aims to double the sector’s contribution to gross domestic product, making the Kingdom one of the top 10 countries in the Logistics Performance Index. 

A two-day conference held in Riyadh in October saw 52 agreements signed to strengthen the Kingdom’s supply chain and logistics sector, underlining its growth. “E-commerce expansion, technology adoption, sustainability, and enhancing customer experiences are pivotal trends that resonate with Vision 2030’s goals,” Al-Harthi said. 

The rise of e-commerce is particularly significant, with efficient logistics services like those PIESHIP offers being vital to support this sector’s growth, ultimately aiding in the country’s economic diversification and innovation drive, added the CEO. 

With the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 spotlighting innovation, PIESHIP’s technology-centric model is well-aligned for future scalability and market leadership. 

“Our approach, particularly our investment in AI and crowdsourcing, is pivotal in optimizing logistics operations, which will continue to propel our growth in the Saudi market,” Al-Harthi stated. 

On the technology front, PIESHIP leverages real-time tracking and delivery notifications to enhance customer engagement and satisfaction.  

“Our AI-driven algorithms play a crucial role in navigating delivery hurdles, ensuring timely and accurate deliveries, and offering our users an unprecedented level of transparency and control over their shipments,” explained the CEO.   

PIESHIP is positioning itself within Saudi Arabia’s competitive landscape by focusing on efficient and reliable last-mile delivery services.  

“PIESHIP differentiates itself from traditional logistics companies by offering a more flexible and cost-effective solution tailored to modern businesses’ needs,” Al-Harthi explained.   

With a keen eye on the last-mile delivery segment, PIESHIP aims to address the complexities and high costs associated with this crucial phase of the logistics process. 

Collaboration with governmental and regulatory bodies is a key component of PIESHIP’s strategy to enhance its service offerings and expand its reach within the Kingdom.  

The CEO said: “PIESHIP works closely with local transportation authorities to comply with all relevant regulations and licensing requirements.” 

Beyond compliance, PIESHIP seeks to forge partnerships that extend its service range, notably with e-commerce platforms like Salla and Zid, to provide integrated delivery solutions to their merchants. 

In response to the evolving logistics market, PIESHIP is committed to continuous innovation to meet the changing demands of businesses in Saudi Arabia and potentially new markets. 

“The company plans to invest in new technologies and strategies that can help it improve its operational efficiency, expand its reach, and enhance the customer experience,” Al-Harthi stated. 

Looking ahead, PIESHIP is exploring opportunities to extend its services beyond Saudi Arabia, targeting markets with similar logistics landscapes and a strong e-commerce presence. 

While the immediate focus remains on solidifying its position in the Saudi market, Al-Harthi acknowledges the potential for international expansion. 

“Future expansions into markets with similar logistics challenges and opportunities are considered,” he noted, highlighting the importance of a robust e-commerce sector and favorable regulatory environment in selecting target markets for PIESHIP’s growth.


Pakistan GDP grows 2.09% in Q3, supported by agriculture

Pakistan GDP grows 2.09% in Q3, supported by agriculture
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Pakistan GDP grows 2.09% in Q3, supported by agriculture

Pakistan GDP grows 2.09% in Q3, supported by agriculture
  • Pakistan’s central bank in latest report projected real GDP growth of 2-3% for the fiscal year 2024 
  • Provisional 2024 financial year growth in agriculture estimated at 6.25%, 1.21% for industry and services

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s economy grew 2.09% in the third quarter of the financial year 2023-2024, supported by higher growth in agriculture, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics said in a press release on Tuesday.

The estimated provisional growth rate of gross domestic product (GDP) for the financial year ending June 2024 is 2.38%, the bureau said in a statement. That compares with a revised 0.21% economic contraction in the 2023 year when political unrest, a combination of tax and gas tariff hikes, controlled imports, and a steep fall in the rupee currency rapidly pushed up inflation.

Last week in its half yearly report, Pakistan’s central bank projected real GDP growth of 2-3% for the fiscal year 2024.

There was no comparable year-ago third quarter GDP data as Pakistan only began releasing quarterly growth numbers from November. That was done in compliance with the structural benchmarks of the current $3 billion bailout program agreed with the International Monetary Fund and completed last month.

The bureau revised the first and second quarter GDP estimates for financial year 2023-2024 to 2.71% and 1.79% respectively, compared to earlier estimates of 2.5% and 1%.

The provisional 2024 financial year growth in agriculture was estimated at 6.25%, and 1.21% for both industry as well as services, it added.

“The healthy growth of agriculture is mainly due to double-digit growth in important crops,” the bureau said, adding that bumper crop of wheat, cotton, and rice contributed to the positive result.


IMF expects UAE’s economy to grow by 4% in 2024

IMF expects UAE’s economy to grow by 4% in 2024
Updated 1 min 40 sec ago
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IMF expects UAE’s economy to grow by 4% in 2024

IMF expects UAE’s economy to grow by 4% in 2024

RIYADH: The UAE’s gross domestic product is set to expand by 4 percent this year, driven by robust domestic activities and relatively high oil prices, an International Monetary Fund has forecast.

In its latest Article IV end of mission statement, the IMF noted that the Emirates is experiencing strong growth in domestic sectors, including tourism, construction, and financial services. 

The report further noted that UAE’s oil GDP will also expand this year if the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, collectively known as OPEC+, decide to ease the previously proposed output cuts. 

“Economic growth in the UAE is broad-based, led by robust activity in the tourism, construction, manufacturing, and financial services sectors. Foreign demand for real estate, increased bilateral and multilateral ties, and the UAE’s safe haven status continue to drive rapid growth in housing prices and an increase in rents while adding to ample domestic liquidity,” said the IMF in the statement. 

In its previous projection in April, the organization predicted that the UAE’s economy would grow by 3.5 percent in 2024. 

The UN financial agency added that the impact of geopolitical tensions in the Emirates so far is still minimal, and the country’s response to the recent flooding was rapid and effective. 

IMF further pointed out that the inflation rate in the UAE is expected to be contained at 2 percent in 2024. 

According to the study, the UAE’s fiscal and external surpluses are expected to remain high this year due to relatively surging oil prices. 

“The general government surplus is projected to be around 5 percent of GDP in 2024 and public debt is on track to decline further toward 30 percent of GDP, benefitting from active debt management strategies,” said IMF. 

It added: “Capital spending is expected to meet ongoing infrastructure needs, and the introduction of the corporate income tax will support non-hydrocarbon revenue with its full implementation in the coming years. The current account surplus is projected at around 9 percent of GDP in 2024.” 

The international financial institution also noted that accelerated public and private investment and structural reforms in areas like renewable energy and technology could further accelerate economic growth in the Emirates. 

However, the IMF noted that the UAE’s economic outlook is subject to uncertainty and external risks, including those related to geopolitical tensions, global growth, and commodity price volatility. 

The study highlighted that banks in the Emirates have considerable capital and liquidity buffers, while credit growth is resilient despite higher domestic interest rates. 

“The efforts to digitalize the financial system and payment landscape are welcome and should continue to follow a risk-conscious approach. Initiatives to develop and regulate the virtual asset industry should be informed by a careful assessment of macroeconomic and financial stability risks,” said the IMF. 

The report concluded by saying that gradual fiscal consolidation and further structural reforms will ensure the UAE’s economic prudence and medium-term sustainability. 


Saudi Power Procurement Co. signs two power purchase agreements with Japan’s Marubeni

Saudi Power Procurement Co. signs two power purchase agreements with Japan’s Marubeni
Updated 9 min 45 sec ago
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Saudi Power Procurement Co. signs two power purchase agreements with Japan’s Marubeni

Saudi Power Procurement Co. signs two power purchase agreements with Japan’s Marubeni

TOKYO: The Saudi Power Procurement Co. signed two power purchase agreements with a consortium led by Japan’s Marubeni Corporation on Tuesday in Tokyo. 

The deals are part of the fourth phase of Saudi Arabia’s National Renewable Energy Program, supervised by the Ministry of Energy. 

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud, Saudi Minister of Energy and Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry SAITO Ken were present at the signing. 

The agreements pertain to the Al-Ghat wind power project, with a capacity of 600 MW, and the Waad Al-Shamal wind power project, with a capacity of 500 MW. These agreements were signed during the Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 Business Forum, held in Japan on Tuesday. 

On this occasion, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud, Saudi Minister of Energy, expressed his gratitude to King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Chairman of the Supreme Committee for Energy, for the support, assistance and follow-up provided by the leadership, which aids the Ministry of Energy and its system in achieving the goals of Saudi Vision 2030 in the energy sector. 

Prince Abdulaziz stated: “I am pleased to announce that the Al-Ghat project has set a new world record for the lowest cost of electricity production from wind energy, with a cost of 1.56558 US cents per kilowatt-hour, equivalent to 5.87094 halalas per kilowatt-hour. The Waad Al-Shamal project achieved the second-best global record in this field, with a cost of 1.70187 US cents per kilowatt-hour, equivalent to 6.38201 halalas per kilowatt-hour.” 

The minister added: “The annual energy produced by both projects will be sufficient for the consumption of 257,000 residential units, demonstrating the significant success of these projects in enhancing energy efficiency in the Kingdom.” 

He noted that these projects are part of the objectives of the National Renewable Energy Program, which aims to utilize renewable energy sources available throughout the Kingdom to contribute to displacing liquid fuels used in the electricity production sector and achieving the optimal energy mix for electricity generation, with renewable energy sources expected to account for about 50% of the mix by 2030.


Saudi crude exports reach 9-month high: JODI

Saudi crude exports reach 9-month high: JODI
Updated 21 May 2024
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Saudi crude exports reach 9-month high: JODI

Saudi crude exports reach 9-month high: JODI

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s crude exports reached 6.41 million barrels per day in March, according to an analysis from the Joint Organizations Data Initiative.

This figure increased by 96,000 bpd, or 1.52 percent, compared to the previous month, marking a nine-month high.

Furthermore, the data indicated that the Kingdom’s crude production fell to 8.97 million bpd, reflecting a monthly decrease of 0.42 percent. 

This can be linked to the voluntary oil production cuts adopted by members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies, known as OPEC+. Saudi Arabia announced in March the extension of its 1 million bpd cut, initially implemented in July 2023, until the end of the second quarter of 2024.

The Ministry of Energy said that the Kingdom’s production will be approximately 9 million bpd until the end of June.

Meanwhile, refinery crude output, representing the processed volume of crude oil yielding gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and heating oil, fell by 4 percent compared to the previous month, reaching 2.56 million bpd, according to JODI data.

Saudi Arabia’s direct burn of crude oil, which involves using oil without substantial refining processes, decreased by 53,000 bpd in March, representing a 14.7 percent fall compared to the preceding month. The total direct burn for the month amounted to 307,000 bpd.

The Ministry of Energy aims to enhance the contributions of natural gas and renewable sources as part of the Kingdom’s goal to achieve an optimal, highly efficient, and cost-effective energy mix.

This involves replacing liquid fuel with natural gas and integrating renewables to constitute approximately 50 percent of the electricity production energy mix by 2030.


Oil Updates – prices fall on demand fears over Fed’s rates path

Oil Updates – prices fall on demand fears over Fed’s rates path
Updated 21 May 2024
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Oil Updates – prices fall on demand fears over Fed’s rates path

Oil Updates – prices fall on demand fears over Fed’s rates path

TOKYO: Oil prices extended losses in Asia trade on Tuesday, with investors anticipating lingering US inflation and higher interest rates to depress consumer and industrial demand, according to Reuters.

Brent crude futures fell 57 cents, or 0.68 percent, to $83.14 a barrel by 9:13 a.m. Saudi time. US West Texas Intermediate crude slipped 58 cents, or 0.73 percent, to $79.22 a barrel.

Both benchmarks fell less than 1 percent on Monday as US Federal Reserve officials said they were awaiting more signs of slowing inflation before considering interest rate cuts.

“Fears of weaker demand led to selling as the prospect of Fed rate cut became more distant,” said analyst Toshitaka Tazawa at Fujitomi Securities.

Fed Vice Chair Philip Jefferson said on Monday it was too early to tell whether the inflation slowdown is “long lasting,” while Vice Chair Michael Barr said restrictive policy needs more time. Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic said it will “take a while” for the central bank to be confident that a price growth slowdown is sustainable.

All in all, the Fed officials’ comments pointed to interest rates staying higher for longer than markets expect. That has implications for the oil market as higher borrowing costs tie up funds in a blow to economic growth and demand for crude.

On the other hand, the market appeared little affected by political uncertainty in two major oil-producing countries.

“While there has been an upmove over some uncertainty in Iran, prices have since pared back some gains, as investors price for the status-quo in terms of policies for now and that any wider regional conflict remains off the table,” IG market strategist Yeap Jun Rong said in an email to Reuters.

Investors are focusing on supply from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its affiliates, together known as OPEC+. They are scheduled to meet on June 1 to set output policy, including whether to extend some members’ 2.2 million barrels per day of voluntary cuts.

“Prices remain in wait for a catalyst to drive a breakout of the current range, with eyes still on any geopolitical developments, along with oil inventories data this week,” IG’s Yeap said.

OPEC+ could extend some voluntary output cuts if demand fails to pick up, people with knowledge of the matter previously told Reuters.