The state of the global economy and its subsequent effect on public spending, together with the environmental imperative that has made carbon reduction a top priority certainly hasn’t hindered the progress of night-time deliveries in Europe.
There is an increasing appetite on the Continent for this simple win-win solution, which improves efficiency, environmental performance and seems to have no drawbacks.
It was with a sense of pride that I, along with the Noise Abatement Society (NAS), the DfT, Transport and Travel Research (TTR) and Sainsbury’s, shared the results of the recently completed Quiet Deliveries Demonstration Scheme (QDDS) with a delegation from the FTA’s Danish equivalent, International Transport Denmark (ITD). Pride, because this simple concept that actually started in Holland has been tirelessly championed and rigorously tested in the UK, sparking interest beyond these shores.
Like FTA, the ITD is not afraid to spearhead initiatives that will ultimately save the businesses in its membership money and time and allow them to meet their own carbon-reduction targets. The Danish contingent, which included the Danish Transport Authority, Business Link South Denmark and a representative from the bread company Lantmännen Schulstad, was keen to understand how the results of the QDDS could translate into Denmark, taking into account the practicalities, benefits and challenges of delivering goods out-of-hours that were found in the UK.
One of the most obvious challenges to overcome was ensuring that the local residents’ right to a good night’s sleep were not compromised by lifting late-night or early-morning delivery bans. Lisa Lavia, MD of the NAS, has played a massive part in ensuring this remains a central component of night-time deliveries. It is partly this background of responsibility for one’s community that has driven its success. Lisa’s enthusiasm for rolling out the scheme is testament to that.
“Interest in the QDDS trials is increasing, with several countries seeking to adapt the scheme locally. We know that if best practice is shared and strict guidelines are adhered to, night-time deliveries are an efficient and pragmatic solution to a growing problem.”
By saving fuel and time, the investment in quiet equipment, such as reversing alarms, and the driver training needed to make night-time deliveries quiet, represents a solid return. But it’s not just businesses that can benefit, everyone would gain from lower road congestion, cleaner air and a more reliable supply chain. Indeed, earlier this year, transport minister Mike Penning backed night-time deliveries, declaring them a ‘win-win’ for the environment and business, stating that if done correctly, delivering out-of-hours need not be a nuisance to residents.
This ministerial buy-in was not lost on ITD’s chairman and owner of the transport company HP Therkelsen, Mogens Therkelsen. “We were impressed by the rigorous and scientific nature of the QDDS trials and it was invaluable to learn first-hand how FTA, NAS and the DfT worked together to create fair and meaningful trials.”
With the Olympics challenging London’s supply chain next summer, there is also a sense of timeliness underpinning the QDDS. How can we deliver more freight with less time to do so? By lifting lorry bans and allowing deliveries to be made at night.
Clearly there is a strong appetite among the Danes to introduce night-time delivery trials similar to those we completed earlier this year. The demonstrable environmental, economic and road safety benefits of delivering goods out-of-hours are hard to ignore and I am sure the FTA will be working more closely with Mogens and the others to help them develop a robust methodology that works for them.
- See our night-time delivery feature inside the Olympic supplement, free with this issue of Motor Transport.