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Drone Delivery Canada revs up commercial operations

Drone Delivery Canada (TSXV:FLT), fresh off a financing deal, plans to target couriers as it scales up its commercial business.

The Toronto-based company announced on April 2 that it will pursue business in eight new verticals as it scales its operations beyond existing pilot programs with rural communities.

“We are also seeing an increase in traction with our international customers globally as our drone delivery system continues to be validated globally,” said Drone Delivery Canada (DDC) vice president Michael Zahra. “Our proven system is seen as a commercially viable delivery infrastructure solution to companies looking to reduce costs and dramatically improve logistics.”

Apart from couriers, DDC wants to take its drones and flight platform to the mining, agriculture, forestry and construction industries.

DDC has four drone models. The largest, the Condor, can deliver up to 400 pounds of cargo as far as 124 miles away. The drones operate on DDC’s proprietary flight system.

Canada’s 36 million people live across 3.8 million square miles – an area slightly larger than the United States. Furthermore, two-thirds of Canadians live within about 60 miles of the U.S. border, leaving vast swathes of territory where drones could offer a more cost-effective way for deliveries.

[DDC] is “trying to address problems in last-mile logistics for rural and northern communities,” said DDC strategic advisor Deepak Chopra, the former CEO of Canada Post, in a company video. “These communities are underserved or served at a very high cost.”

DDC will begin serving two towns in the Moose Cree first nation in Northern Ontario later this year. Its Sparrow aircraft will deliver payloads of up to 11 pounds between and Moosonee and Moose Factory, roughly 12 miles apart. The payloads will include letters, parcels, medical supplies and other items.

Chinese e-commerce firm JD.com has also been making leaps with its drone delivery program. In January, it began deliveries in rural Indonesia.

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Nate Tabak, Canada Correspondent

Nate Tabak is a journalist, editor and producer in Toronto. He covers Canada for FreightWaves, with a keen interest on the cross-border economic relationship with the United States. Nate spent seven years working as an investigative editor and reporter based in Kosovo. He covered everything from corruption to the country’s emerging wine industry. He also reported across the Balkans and investigated Albania’s multibillion-dollar marijuana industry with a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Nate grew up in Berkeley, Calif. He enjoys exploring Toronto with his wife and is always looking forward to his next meal.

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