Greening the way

New emission-free delivery solutions are being pioneered in Europe by global logistics company Dachser. The pilot projects build on new electro-mobility concepts and adapt city logistics processes to tomorrow’s needs, offering positive prospects for traffic alleviation in choked city centres.

A Dachser undertaking in Stuttgart, Germany, sees highly manoeuvrable cargo bikes serving the last mile. Bright yellow Pedelecs built by veloCARRIER, a partner in the project, have been designed to carry loads of up to 250 kg. Heavier work is done by a compact, all-electric Fuso eCanter 7,5-t truck, which will soon be joined by Daimler’s eActros, an all-electric 18-t vehicle.

The cargo bike riders manage deliveries from a micro-hub to areas of the city where traffic is restricted, while the eCanter delivers heavier loads to shopping centres and retailers’ branches. The vehicle has a range of about 100 km and can carry loads of up to 3,5 t.

Other pilot projects are underway in cities such as Berlin, Tübingen and Freiburg, as well as in Paris, France, and in Málaga, Spain. “Dachser is not looking to take a one-size-fits-all approach,” says a statement issued by the company. “Rather, we want to come up with a range of solutions, each of them focused on optimising deliveries, routes and times.”

According to Michael Schillig, COO of road logistics at Dascher, the deliveries of tomorrow will involve the coupling of tried-and-tested logistics systems with new ideas. “We liaise closely with universities, research institutes, business associations and start-ups to spot innovations early on and implement them quickly.”

Schilling adds that the scale of Dachser’s research and development work in the field makes it clear that sustainable city logistics will come at a cost. “We are investing today to ensure our customers benefit from pioneering, zero-emissions supply chains. It will take a great deal of effort to get the technology and the processes right, and logistics companies will have to factor in these additional costs in the future.”

He says based on the knowledge gleaned in Europe, networks in other parts of the world may be able to leapfrog developments in last-mile deliveries through application of a modular toolbox that Dachser is pioneering.

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