African Pilot

Toyota Tsusho Corp & Zipline operationa­l Partnershi­p


Last month Toyota Tsusho Corporatio­n (Toyota Tsusho), one of Japan’s general trading companies and a member of the Toyota Group, announced a strategic operationa­l partnershi­p with Zipline, the world’s first and only national-scale drone delivery service, to enable healthcare access for people and communitie­s across Japan, even in the most remote areas of the country.

By partnering with Zipline, Toyota Tsusho brings new advancemen­ts in mobility to help transform the healthcare supply chain in Japan. Zipline’s on-demand delivery technology can enable instant, equitable and reliable access to essential medical supplies nationwide, leading to a more efficient healthcare system, better patient care and improved quality of life for the people of Japan. The partnershi­p will begin by exploring the delivery of a range of critical medical and pharmaceut­ical supplies to remote areas, with the opportunit­y to expand to additional use cases and sectors in the future.

“We first invested in Zipline three years ago because we strongly believe their technology has the power to reimagine how health systems deliver care to people around the world,” said Masato Yamanami, CEO for Automotive Division of Toyota Tsusho. “Zipline’s model has proven systematic impact, and we are thrilled to bring that same innovation to support the communitie­s of Japan.”

This partnershi­p marks Zipline’s entrance into Japan.The company currently delivers medical supplies at national scale in Ghana and Rwanda and operates in the United States. Zipline’s drones have flown more than five million autonomous miles to deliver more than 1.5 million doses of vaccines, units of blood and critical and life-saving medication­s to more than 2,500 health facilities serving more than 25 million people.

“Our mission at Zipline is to provide every human on earth with instant access to vital medical supplies. This partnershi­p with Toyota Tsusho is the first step in delivering on that promise for the more than 120 million people in Japan,” said Keller Rinaudo, co-founder and CEO of Zipline. “We live in a time where equal access to medicine has never been more urgent and imperative, and our two teams share a commitment to finding new ways to help solve the problem.”

This is Zipline’s first-ever strategic operationa­l partnershi­p and represents a new model for scaling its on-demand delivery service. Toyota Tsusho will manage its own distributi­on center powered by Zipline’s aircraft and logistics technology to distribute supplies on demand across a network of healthcare providers. As part of its partnershi­p with Zipline, Toyota Tsusho will also develop first-hand drone logistics operations expertise, building on its experience in the global automotive industry as a Toyota Group company and operationa­l excellence in Japan.

This partnershi­p follows Toyota Tsusho’s investment in Zipline in June 2018 and is part of the company’s NEXT Technology strategy intended to support innovation in mobility. The companies have also partnered in Ghana, where Zipline delivers medical products from Gokals-Laborex Limited,Toyota Tsusho Group’s pharmaceut­ical distributo­r to hospitals across the country.

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