Whether startups in Waltham Forest or major international express delivery companies, it seems that delivery companies are starting to look toward cycles and e-bikes for their last mile runs.
DHL is one of the world’s logistics giants and has made a commitment to become a zero CO2 emissions delivery company by 2050. In order to do that it has been introducing a variety of technologies into its global fleets of delivery vehicles. In 2015 DHL started using the ‘Cubicycle’ in the Netherlands. According to Post and Parcel Technology International, “The Cubicycle is comfortable to ride and is surprisingly agile with a tight turning circle. Despite the large container, the bike fits perfectly on bike lanes. The height of the bike has been tailored so that other riders can see over it unhindered. This is a key distinguishing factor of the Cubicycle compared to other existing high volume bicycles.”
For DHL its global road fleet of tens of thousands of road going vehicles around the world, taking CO2 emissions out of the fleet is going to go a long way to tackling the problem.
Not just the big guys
Cycle couriers are something that feature heavily on London’s roads these days. Generally doing runs between companies and their clients’ offices, they are seen as a very effective way to rush documents and other lighter parcels from a-b.
Another increasing trend is for retailer to consumer deliveries to be done by bike. Deliveroo is one example where Londoners can have their favourite takeaways delivered to them by bike. Deliveroo are big enough that many of their cyclists went on strike earlier this year demanding better employment rights…
However, bigger parcels are being increasingly delivered by bike too. Outspoken Delivery have been given a grant by Transport for London to seed their business operating out of Waltham Forest. According to their website, “Outspoken Delivery use specialist cargobikes and electric vehicles to create a fast, efficient and low impact delivery solution for businesses.” They have successful operations running in several other cities nationwide and are aiming at fast growth around London in the coming months.
Speaking to the Guardian Waltham Forest Councillor Clyde Loakes said of cargo bikes, “These bikes are able to get around our network of roads more efficiently than traditional methods of transport, and because it’s locally based perhaps it can respond better to the needs of our residents.”
The cargo bikes in question aren’t just for mega muscled types – many of the machines being used have electric pedal assist systems so they can pull out quickly and safely at junctions.
White vans and congestion
Most last mile deliveries in London are done by white vans. There are statistics suggesting that while car numbers are falling, white vans are growing in such numbers that they are more than compensating for the drop in numbers of cars. This is why there is the push by London’s powers that be to encourage more cycle deliveries.
If the grants and general push by London’s councils do succeed, we may see fewer white vans clogging up the roads and more cyclists doing their jobs instead. Given white van men’s reputations for getting angry with cyclists, that’s hardly a bad thing!
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