Global logistics operator UPS have been trialling a new way to reduce vehicle movements in the dense city streets of Hamburg, Dublin and Leuven. Once every day, an on-street storage container – the rear of a short articulated truck – is placed in a pre-arranged central location. The container is pre-loaded with all of the packages to be delivered to the central area that day and becomes UPS’ delivery hub. From here, cargo bikes or trikes can load up, deliver and return multiple times per day, without the time penalties involved in travelling to and from a depot on the edge of the city. Another advantage of a very central location is that deliveries on foot also become a possibility.
Logistics operators typically spend the second half of their day collecting packages to be delivered the next day; naturally at this point the container plays it’s role, acting as a drop off point for the bikes, trikes and foot delivery workers. The container is then driven to an out of town depot where the packages are sorted and join the logistics chain.
The idea was first piloted in Hamburg; following the success of this trial, there are now four such containers on the city’s streets. Dublin and Leuven followed. During Dublin’s 6 month trial period, the Council are hoping to prevent 150-200 daily vehicle movements in the city centre. The aim in all of the cities would be to find permanent locations for containers to be located; perhaps off street. But for now the objective of the pilot projects is to test the general concept. UPS haven’t published figures on any targets associated with the pilot projects, such as reductions in emissions, vehicle movements or finanical savings, so it will be interesting to see if any results are published once the trials conclude.
We’ve covered consolidation centres before in RIPPL articles and there are a few models out there, including those in which several companies share the same facility. Larger operators such as UPS are better equipped to set up their own facilities, but will this prove. It will be fascinating to see how this trend develops in different cities, each of which has it’s own issues and political realities; especially where public space is at a premium. After all, although there’s no question that consolidation centres do provide myriad benefits to cities by reducing vehicle movements, they do still require space to be sacrificed. Whether or not this space is public or private depends upon the reality on the ground in each city and on each individual street.
Innovations: consolidation, containerisation, emissions reduction
Cities: Hamburg, Dublin, Leuven
Countries: Germany, Ireland, Belgium
UPS Pressroom “UPS begins a six-month test in cooperation with local authorities”
UPS “Sustainability Solutions”
UPS Longitudes “Narrow Streets, Unlimited Innovation”
FREIGHT in the CITY “UPS urban delivery projects address congestion and air quality in cities”
Hamburg.de “Modellprojekt: Nachhaltiges Lieferkonzept für die Innenstadt wird ausgeweitet” (German)
Paketda! “UPS beliefert Hamburgs Innenstadt aus Paketcontainern” (German)
UPS on Youtube “City Logistik bei UPS: Nachhaltiges Zustellen in Hamburg” (German)
Dublin InQuirer: “A search for ways to ease conflict between delivery vans and cyclists”
The Irish Times: “Container to be placed in Dublin city to cut down on delivery vans”
Supermarkt blog: “Das Ende der Paketwagenpolonaise: UPS will die Zustellung in der Innenstadt neu erfinden” (German)
Hamburger Abendblatt: “Paketdienst UPS testet die Paketzustellung zu Fuß” (German)