City Logistics: With Electricity, Gas and Muscle Strength
Vehicle manufacturers, renters and logistics companies already offer many practical solutions for clean and efficient city delivery.
The search for solutions to city logistics is not just about the protection of the environment and health, but also economic interests play an important role such as the gain of market shares and customer loyalty in the search for greater sustainability. That is good news for the people in the cities, because if economic and environmental objectives match, that accelerates research for new concepts substantially.
Smarter and at full capacity to the customer
"Increasing traffic density not only results in higher pollutant loads, but also in the detriment of our punctuality and consequently angers our customers", Christian Drenthen, Executive Board Member of Global Land Transport at Schenker AG, explained as an example. Therefore, his company bets on concepts that “bring us faster, more efficiently and smarter to customers and reduce traffic, noise and exhaust fumes in the cities at the same time.” This includes cargo bikes and trucks with alternative drives, and Mr. Schenker also tries "to optimize traffic flows intelligently and digitally with platooning or by testing fully automatic trucks.” However, the largest short- to medium-term effect is achieved thanks to the constantly improved utilization of the fleets with efficient route control with the smallest number possible of unladen trips.
DHL is developing sustainable city logistics concepts in collaboration with local communities. "From the CO2-free delivery with our street scooter in entire inner cities to deliver via micro-depot and cargo bikes in individual city districts, we are customizing our solutions to individual conditions on site and developing our offer continuously," Marc Ruffler explained, who is responsible as "Head of Operations" for the operational business at Deutsche Post DHL Group. The parcel service provider Hermes wants to deliver emission-free with the mobility concept "Urban Blue” in 80 major German cities by 2025 and is focusing on a partnership with Mercedes Benz Vans. "In the next few years, we want deploy 1,500 eVito and eSprinter e-transporters on German roads," Michael Peuker explained as Sustainability Manager at Hermes Germany. In addition, his company is testing “alternative delivery by cargo bike in cities such as Berlin and Hamburg and by an electric light vehicle in the Munich area.” The 15,000 parcel shops in Germany would also contribute to reducing emissions significantly, and the creation of secure storage locations will be promoted.
Manufacturers are offering a growing range of vehicles with alternative drives. For example, Daimler also offers also a heavy, battery-powered delivery truck for urban areas in addition to the electrified variants of Vito and Sprinter. “We have already advanced far beyond the theoretical phase and prototypes. Since September 2018, the eActros has been in practical use on the road with customers throughout Germany,” Stefan Buchner reported, Head of Mercedes-Benz Trucks. The participating customers all distribute goods in city traffic, but in completely different sectors and categories. "We want to collect comprehensive insights with this. Our goal is to achieve emission-free and quiet driving in cities locally even with heavy, series-produced trucks starting from the year 2021.”
The commercial vehicle renter PEMA is already offering this option in the current year. From the second half of the year, the company located in Herzberg, Germany, will deliver the first completely emission-free 16-ton Volvo FL Electric to its customers with a range of up to 300 kilometers. This will make it possible for fleet operators to use electric mobility without an investment risk. However, PEMA also has other alternative drive systems in its product range. For example, "Our customers can choose between LNG Drive and Dual Fuel System," PEMA Managing Director Peter Ström explained. The dual fuel system is based on metering gas in the intake tract and reduces diesel consumption. Mr. Ström sees good opportunities for the LNG Drive for city logistics with fixed tours. "Fuel stops can be planned well in the area of city logistics as well as in intra-company transportation and line operations. As a result, the very sparse network of filling stations for LNG hardly plays a role.”