Geodis reduces freight journeys and emissions in Paris through Distripolis scheme

An urban delivery initiative deployed across Paris by French operator Geodis has reduced its freight journeys by 20% and CO2 by more than 1,000 tonnes a year.

Geodis sales director Kevin Huskie (pictured) told delegates at the Freight in the City Spring Summit that the Distripolis programme is designed to lessen the effect of freight deliveries on an urban environment.

It was developed in 2011 as a way for Geodis to lead by example in promoting more sustainable city deliveries.

As France’s largest logistics operator, with a 40% market share, Huskie said the company believed it had a responsibility to drive change and encourage more sustainable urban deliveries.

Before it implemented Distripolis, Geodis used multiple distribution centres on the outskirts of Paris for its key divisions, such as express parcels, groupage and reverse logistics operations. Each one would send multiple vehicles into the city centre throughout the day.

But with Distripolis, Geodis uses one main consolidation centre on the outskirts of Paris, with goods travelling during the night into smaller city centre ‘blue bases’ of less than 250m².

Own or subcontracted ultra-low-emission vehicles or power-assisted tricycles are used to make the final mile delivery from these inner-city bases.

The advantages to the urban community have been improved traffic flow, due to fewer trucks on the roads; reduced air and noise pollution; a more attractive city centre that still meets local businesses’ needs; and compliance with all local regulations, such as time-restricted deliveries.

Huskie said the initiative had “massively reduced road miles and made a big difference in Paris”.

“The target was to remove 1,700 tonnes of CO2 emissions. In year one, we achieved a 365-tonne reduction of CO2 and are now achieving more than 1,000 tonnes.”

Geodis wants to roll out Distripolis in Lille, Strasbourg and Marseille, and aims to reach every city in France.

However, because the UK marketplace is much more fragmented, Huskie believes collaboration is the key to achieving a similar effect here.

Earlier this year, Geodis announced an extension to its UK night-time deliveries initiative.