Have you ever wondered why your parcels can’t be bundled so they all arrive together? Imagine how easy it would be if all your Amazon and ASOS shopping, for example, arrived in one delivery, at the time of your choice.
And what if, as well as delivering new PCs and mobiles, the same van also took away your obsolete Amstrad or antique Nokia?
The opportunity exists for parcel companies to create city freight hubs to bring together your orders in one convenient daily delivery. And that is only half the story. The really clever bit is that the round trip includes ‘urban mining’. What exactly is urban mining? Your old Windows 95 PC or cassette player may be valueless junk in your eyes, but in fact it contains precious minerals and recyclable materials. The same van that delivered your new TV or iPhone can take away such recyclable items. These are then delivered into the city freight hub, and then taken away by a partner waste management company in order to reclaim the materials.
Moving to city freight hubs and urban mining means delivery companies, businesses and local governments are going to have to dig-deep and rethink the way the logistics behind your parcel delivery is organised. But it’s by no means impossible.
Two highly successful pilot schemes are already running in Holland. The Dutch towns of Nijmegen and Maastricht have a ‘Freight Circle’ service up and running. It ensures local residents’ and businesses’ deliveries are shipped into one central freight hub, rather than individual homes and shops, where they are consolidated and delivered to the customer at a time of their choice. Unwanted recyclables are then collected for the return journey.
It doesn’t make sense for our city streets to be clogged with numerous delivery trucks, especially those running empty to their depots. Ensuring deliveries are pooled, and the return journey is not wasted, by building in a reverse logistics operation, makes enormous sense.
Holland’s Freight Circle scheme is being supported by the EU funded project LaMiLo (Last Mile Logistics). However, the idea doesn’t really need subsidising. It should pay for itself in the UK by reducing unnecessary trips, saving companies both fuel and driver hours.
During London’s hugely successful Olympic Games the city operated this kind of hub scheme. It meant that, rather than the much predicted gridlock, the Capital’s streets were remarkably empty. Deliveries into London’s stores were pooled together and often moved at night to further reduce congestion.
When this type of scheme is mixed with ideas such as urban mining, all sorts of benefits are unearthed.
Would you like to see your deliveries all brought together and delivered at a time convenient to you? Would you make want to use of the courier’s return journey to recycle unwanted turntables and video players? Let us know what you think! Leave your comment in the Feedback section below.