- Gatik's autonomous box trucks will move Georgia-Pacific shipments to 34 Sam's Club locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area as part of a multi-year commercial partnership, the company announced last week.
- Beginning in July, the Class 6 trucks will operate on predefined, short-haul routes for the on-road transportation network of Georgia-Pacific and 3PL KBX, both of which are owned by Koch Industries. Deliveries of Georgia-Pacific brands like Quilted Northern bath tissue and Dixie products will occur around the clock, seven days a week.
- The partnership will double the number of Georgia-Pacific fulfillment runs to the Sam’s Club stores from 1-2 days per week to 2-4 days per week, according to a blog post from Gatik. Its trucks will operate up to 300 miles per day while serving multiple runs.
Gatik’s deliveries to Sam’s Club expands on its existing partnership with the retailer’s parent company Walmart. Gatik's autonomous box trucks are deployed for Walmart delivery routes in Arkansas and Louisiana. A Bentonville, Arkansas, route moving orders between a Walmart dark store and a Walmart Neighborhood Market location is now operating daily without a safety driver, Gatik announced in November.
“Through our work with Gatik, we’ve identified that autonomous box trucks offer an efficient, safe and sustainable solution for transporting goods on repeatable routes between our stores,” said Tom Ward, EVP and chief ecommerce officer for Walmart U.S., in a statement accompanying the announcement.
As retailers look for higher-frequency deliveries, Gatik said its smaller autonomous box trucks "will establish a more responsive and flexible logistics network" with improved delivery flow and reduced costs.
"It’s a hyper-efficient, customer-centric model designed to reduce overstocked items, create more space for in-demand items and increase sales of available goods to Sam’s Club customers," Gatik said in its blog post.
The runs will initially include a safety driver before Gatik phases them out, eliminating concern over driver availability in one leg of the retailer’s supply chain. Although self-driving trucks have made headlines for their long-haul applications, Gatik touts its technology as being purpose-built for repetitive, short-haul routes.
Working with Gatik will form the foundation of KBX's push to adopt autonomous trucks on a wider scale, KBX President Paul Snider said in a statement.
“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," Snider said.
The partnership further bolsters Gatik's activity in Texas. The company opened an autonomous trucking facility in Fort Worth last year to make middle-mile deliveries for Fortune 500 firms.