Middle-mile logistics company Gatik today announced a multi-year commercial partnership with Georgia-Pacific, a manufacturer and distributor of tissue, pulp and paper-based packaging, and KBX, the transportation arm for Koch Industries and an independent Koch company.
Under the partnership, Gatik will automate part of the Georgia-Pacific-KBX on-road transportation network in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, delivering goods around the clock, seven days a week across a network of 34 Sam's Club locations, according to the release.
The operations involve moving Georgia-Pacific shipments from point to point on predefined short-haul routes using a dedicated autonomous vehicle fleet with 26-foot boxes, representing the first time that class 6 autonomous box trucks have been deployed to disrupt short-haul logistics networks traditionally involving class 8 trucks. By replacing traditional tractor trailers with autonomous box trucks, Gatik’s operations will establish a more responsive and flexible logistics network, increasing the cadence of delivery runs and the flow of goods, while reducing logistics costs and enabling near real-time inventory fulfillment.
The operations will commence in July 2022.
“Our partnership with Georgia-Pacific and KBX is poised to transform regional distribution architecture that has traditionally relied on class 8 platforms,” said Gautam Narang, CEO and co-founder, Gatik. “By integrating our class 6 autonomous solution into KBX’s sophisticated infrastructure across Dallas-Fort Worth, Gatik will be able to deliver Georgia-Pacific products to a vast network of Sam’s Club locations with unparalleled reliability, speed and consistency.”
“We are looking forward to testing this transformational technology to deliver Georgia-Pacific brands like Quilted Northern bath tissue and Dixie products to Sam’s Clubs,” said Hayes Shimp, vice president of sales for Georgia-Pacific. “Once proven, we believe autonomous deliveries will enable us to remove cost and complexity from the supply chain so that we can better serve Sam’s Club and their members.”
“KBX is focused on providing services that increase capacity and reduce costs in a safe, efficient way for the customers we serve,” said Paul Snider, president of KBX. “Our partnership with Gatik will enable us to redefine the traditional class 8 short-haul market and deliver Georgia-Pacific goods with even greater speed and efficiency. We’re excited to see these operations form the foundation of KBX’s Autonomous Vehicle Program, as we prepare for wider-scale adoption of autonomous trucks to meet customer demand.”
Gatik opened the doors to its autonomous trucking facility in Texas in 2021, and has established a long-term presence in the state. The company’s operations are anticipated to create over 500 new jobs by 2025, including operational, technical, and business roles. Gatik’s operations with Georgia-Pacific and KBX in the Dallas Fort-Worth area represent a hyper-efficient and customer-centric model designed to address shifting consumer behavior through higher asset utilization on the supply chain’s middle mile, according to the announcement.