Freight consolidation centres an important specialism for DHL

A top DHL executive has said freight consolidation centres remain an “extremely important” sector for the business to maintain a specialism in, as he believes they will become more commonplace in the future logistics market.

Vice-president of public sector, Roger Burns, says although there isn’t a vast amount of consolidation activity in the present climate, it still remains an essential area for DHL to explore growth opportunities.

DHL Supply Chain currently operates three freight consolidation schemes in the UK – the Camden Council-led London Boroughs Consolidation Centre, Gatwick Airport and Bristol-Bath (see fact file, below) – and the business is engaged in “ongoing” talks up and down the country as more organisations seek out the benefits that consolidated freight deliveries can bring.

“We believe it is an extremely important area for us as an ethical operator to be represented in and maintain expertise in consolidation,” said Burns. “Sooner or later it will become a much more normal way of operating. Today it is a relatively specialist and small-scale operation, not just for DHL, but for anybody. However, this will change.”

He adds that local authorities and other public bodies are increasingly conducting feasibility studies to see if consolidation centres are the answer to ever-growing congestion on their city streets. “Clearly you have to still deliver goods into the city, but how can this be done in the most environmentally friendly way? Consolidation is one of the mechanisms that city planners will look at,” said Burns.

For a consolidation scheme to succeed as a sustainable operation, it is essential for the initiative to build enough scale to be economically viable, explained Burns, which can be achieved in two ways.

First, through positive encouragement with some seed funding from the local authority, but with a remit of building sufficient scale to become self-funding as soon as possible.

The other way is to build scale through a regulatory environment. “Which is perfectly feasible and we’ve been successful at [achieving scale this way] in operating environments like airports or shopping centres. At the airport, for example, the regulatory environment is built around security. They have a need for consolidation driven by security.”

He added: “It is clearly more difficult to regulate a major city, as the number of users is vast. But you are seeing it to a certain extent in the Bristol-Bath consolidation centre. Bath City Council has brought in an increased level of restrictions for road use in the central areas. With one hand, the council is making it more onerous to use these roads, and on the other, the solution to this is making use of the consolidation centre.”

Burns said DHL is now in discussions with organisations both in London and other major cities about the possibility of freight consolidation. “It’s an ongoing dialogue.”


Bristol-Bath consolidation centre began operation in May 2004 with European funding and now serves 128 businesses with two electric vehicles in operation to carry out last-mile deliveries. To date the scheme has achieved:

  • A 79.5% reduction in delivery trips for retailers
  • 158 tonnes of CO2 and 5,136kg of Nox saved
  • More than 16,224 vehicle trips removed




Urban freight hubs could be a political vote winner, says London courier Fastlane

London-based global courier Fastlane International is calling on the UK’s political parties to introduce urban freight hubs to reduce congestion and emissions in city centres.

The parcel firm said the use of urban consolidation centres could be a vote winner, yet it has not been addressed by any of the major parties in the run-up to the general election.

Fastlane International head of PR, David Jinks, said: “A general election is the ideal platform for setting out bold ideas such as creating city freight hubs. Britain’s busy road freight network is essential to the success of our economy. However, it could be further improved by having HGVs deliver business, retail and domestic goods to freight hubs; rather than taking such large vehicles onto narrow city roads. These items would then be sorted and loaded onto smaller, greener, vehicles for final delivery into shops, work places and homes.”

He added that “in an election as tight as this one”, issues such as the development of urban hubs would be a bold idea to capture voters’ interest.

“In the first four days of January this year, London’s Oxford Street hit its entire air pollution legal limit for the year. Clearly a rethink is needed, and when is a better time for a clear political lead than at a general election?” said Jinks.

Euro-6 gas HGVs displayed at CV Show 2015

Liquefied gas supplier Gasrec displayed the UK’s first dedicated Euro-6 gas-powered HGV on its stand at the CV Show 2015, which took place on 14-16 April.

The Scania tractor unit recently entered service with Argos and Gasrec said it has already been trialled by a number of other leading retail and logistics companies.

Plated at 40 tonnes GTW, the unit is equipped with Scania’s nine-litre, Euro-6 engine. Delivering 340hp (250kW) at 1,900rpm and 1,600Nm of torque between 1,100rpm and 1,400rpm. The engine is designed to operate solely on gas (compressed or liquefied) and offers a high thermal efficiency of 40%.

Argos will initially run five of the gas-powered trucks from its base at Magna Park in the Midlands. With an expected range of up to 450km, the vehicles will run on daily return to base operations filling up at a new open access refuelling station that Gasrec will launch later this year at Lutterworth.

They currently use Gasrec’s open access refuelling station at Dirft in Daventry.

Gasrec’s stand highlights the growth in popularity of liquid and compressed natural gas vehicle fuels and the increasingly strategic infrastructure supporting them across the UK road network.

At the CV Show, the company also displayed the UK’s first Daf Euro-6 dual-fuel heavy goods vehicle, an XF Euro-6, 12.9-litre, 460hp small midlift.

Dieselgas (formerly Prins Autogas), which shared the Gasrec stand, is the first company to successfully convert the new Daf Euro-6 vehicle to run on dual fuel (compressed natural gas and diesel).

Experts from both companies were on hand to answer questions about gas technology and conversions.

A version of this story was first published on

Tevva reveals range-extended electric 7.5-tonne urban delivery truck

An electric range-extended low-emission 7.5 tonne delivery vehicle made its public debut at the CV Show last week, attracting an “over-whelming positive response” according to its maker.

Tevva Motors, (originally Teva Motors) was set up by Israeli entrepreneur Asher Bennett in 2012 to develop an electric range-extended 7.5-tonne truck. The prototype, competed in January, attracted “lots of interest and an over-whelming positive response” at the CV Show, according to Tevva’s business project manager Richard Lidstone-Scott.

Claiming pure battery-electric trucks are hamstrung by limited range, Lidstone-Scott said Tevva’s range-extended driveline makes an electric 7.5-tonner operationally viable and commercially attractive. It involves a pair of lithium-ion batteries, mains- charged overnight, powering an electric traction motor with reduction gearbox.This drives the truck’s standard rear axle via a shortened prop-shaft.

The batteries alone provide a range of up to 130km, but a 1.6-litre Ford diesel engine charges the batteries too, typically during the stem part of the route into an urban delivery area where the truck would run in zero-emission mode solely on battery power, returning to base with the diesel engine charging again. A predictive energy management system determines the best use of the diesel engine to deliver optimum battery performance. This strategy is reckoned to prolong battery life to around 10 years, give virtually unlimited daily range and make best use of cheap overnight electricity for charging.

The driveline is supplied by Magtec of Sheffield and the two lithium-ion battery packs come from another UK company, Goodwolfe. Brentwood, Essex-based Tevva installs the driveline into a Chinese-built JAC chassis- cab. The vehicle is priced at £40-£50,000 (excluding battery lease and body) but its total cost of ownership over a 10-year life is claimed to 25% less than a conventional 7.5-tonner’s. The weight of the batteries reduces payload to around 2 tonnes.

The prototype is about to start durability testing at Millbrook. Tevva is currently converting a Mercedes Vario-based parcel delivery truck for UPS, replacing its Euro-3 diesel powertrain with the range-extended battery system. This is destined to return to service with UPS for trials in the South East.

London Construction Consolidation Centre doubles in size as contractors realise benefits

The London Construction Consolidation Centre (LCCC) has more than doubled in size in the past 12 months, which it attributes to building contractors seeking alternative delivery methods to tackle congestion and local authority constraints they face in the capital.

Operated by Wilson James, the LCCC now comprises 12,000m2 of warehousing space – last month taking on a third 4,200m2 unit to handle additional volumes.

LCCC is currently servicing 15 major construction projects in the capital, including construction works at University College London and the Bloomsbury transformation programme.

The operation has achieved Fors Gold standard and recently won a City of London sustainability award for its work on tackling climate change and air quality.

Bob Dempsey, operations manager south, at Wilson James, said: “Given the severe delivery constraints and the restrictions placed on them by local authorities, more and more major construction projects in central London are realizing the benefits of consolidation logistics. Also coupled with the need for greater certainty of supply as well as delivering sustainability benefits.”

Smart City Logistics tool aims to help local authorities improve urban freight deliveries

An online tool has been developed to help local authorities explore sustainable urban freight scenarios for their city centres.

Smart City Logistics uses geographic information system technology to create an open source platform mapping a range of data including access restrictions, loading and unloading facilities, population, land use and carbon emissions.

It was developed as part of the Last Mile Logistics (LaMiLo) project by the Luxembourg Institute for Science and Technology with an aim to provide information to minimise congestion, CO2 and air and noise pollution from urban freight journeys.

Data is currently available for London, Brussels and Luxembourg with the developers looking to include Bergamo in Italy by the end of May. The tool can be developed for any town or urban environment, however, the maps’ availability would depend on the relevant town data being accessible.

Ian Short, chief executive, Institute for Sustainability, said: “The rise in online shopping trends has driven a dramatic increase in freight deliveries, urban transport of goods taking 20% to 25% of road occupancy. This inevitably impacts on traffic congestion, CO2 emissions and noise and air pollution levels. Finding solutions to manage the last mile of deliveries that work for businesses, consumers and the environment requires an integrated understanding of transport, environmental and socio-economic aspects to arrive at sustainable solutions.”

Using the Smart City Logistics platform, city planners can explore options for suitable locations for logistics facilities such as urban consolidation centres and use the results to inform future planning. Different scenarios can be modelled and compared to current operations to quantify potential savings in terms of road miles, congestion and air pollution.

In addition, the route selection feature identifies the shortest path for a delivery vehicle considering different parameters such as the weight load and access. This can help determine the optimum route for vehicles and help delivery companies save on fuel cost and manage time more efficiently as well as help manage traffic congestion. The platform also gives users the ability to test different potential scenarios based on future projections of number and type of vehicle, and see the variations in CO2 emissions compared to the current situation.

LaMiLo is an programme project part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.


Scottish Government has “no plans to introduce road user charging”

Scottish Government officials have rejected a call from the Committee on Climate Change to bring in congestion charging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The committee’s call was made last week in its fourth report on Scotland’s progress towards meeting emissions reduction targets. In it, the committee noted that emissions from HGVs accounted for 16% of Scotland’s transport emissions, and emissions from vans for a further 10%. It went on to suggest that in order to encourage more sustainable travel habits, the Scottish Government “should consider other options to drive down emissions, such as congestion charging”.

Given that speed limits are likely to be fully devolved to Scotland in the future, it should also evaluate how they might be used in future to help meet carbon targets, said the committee.

In response, a Scottish Government spokeswoman said it intended to carry on dealing with the issue in other ways.

“The Scottish Government has no plans to introduce road user charging,” she said. “Our vision is to work to develop low-carbon vehicle technology, promote active travel choices and encourage a shift to public transport, while ensuring our road network is as efficient as possible.”

Speed limits and their enforcement will form part of a road safety strategic review in Scotland later this year, she added.

RHA director for Scotland and Northern Ireland, Martin Reid, said it supported the Scottish Government’s stance on the issue as congestion there was “not on the same scale” as other parts of the UK where congestion charging had been introduced.

“It’s important to ensure road haulage provides an efficient and environmentally friendly service that promotes wealth creation and employment in Scotland and we want to reduce carbon emissions,” he said. “But we agree with the Scottish Government that congestion charging is not the best way forward.”

FTA head of urban logistics and regional policy Christopher Snelling also backed the Scottish Government’s rejection of the plan.

“It’s certainly the wrong way to try and deal with carbon emissions – after all, it’s a congestion charge, not a carbon charge. It’s about effective management of urban areas, and not primarily about carbon,” he said.

Encouraging car drivers to use alternative modes of transport was an important part of freeing road space up for essential users like disabled drivers, tradespeople, freight vehicles and buses, agreed Snelling. “But congestion charging is not the right way to go about that because inevitably, it includes everything,” he said. “There are much more imaginative ways to go about managing car use.”

Video highlights last-mile delivery pilots across European cities

An EU-funded project exploring sustainable last-mile deliveries has launched a video to highlight a series of pilots taking place across cities in north-west Europe, including London.

The LaMiLo scheme, comprising private logistics firms, local authorities and researchers, is aiming to demonstrate the economic, environmental and social benefits of consolidating deliveries and using more eco-friendly transport options for the final mile, such as electric vans or bicycles.

Ian Short, chief executive at the Institute for Sustainability in the UK and LaMiLo lead partner, said: “While most organisations extend their supply chains to large retailers, many do not focus on last mile deliveries to homes or smaller shops. Finding solutions to manage the last mile of deliveries that work for businesses, consumers and the environment is increasingly important as the way we shop continues to evolve.  With 60% of home deliveries failing, the Institute has been working with partner organisations on a range of pilots to look at how the process can be streamlined.”

In the UK, the video shows how the London Boroughs Consolidation Centre based in Edmonton, headed up by Camden Council and currently operated by DHL, serves deliveries from more than 70 suppliers into 300 council buildings in the capital.

The video also looks at a public-sector-run consolidation centre pilot in Brussels that is managing retailers’ goods for consolidated delivery using low-emission vehicles and demonstrating how both private and public sector organisations can work together towards efficient and sustainable urban logistics ; and in the Netherlands testing a potential solution to the issue of failed deliveries to consumers. This includes delivering goods at a convenient time and offering a service to collect valuable, recyclable waste on the return journey.

Also highlighted is the work being done through the project to engage with private and public sector organisations, as well as end users, to understand their main constraints for change and help influence their behaviour to adopt more efficient and sustainable practices.

By measuring the environmental impacts of the pilots and sharing the learning, LaMiLo said it will be able to achieve more efficient and coordinated freight deliveries, which, in turn, will translate into fewer trucks on our roads, reduced costs and better air quality.

TfL launches out-of-hours deliveries toolkit at Quiet Cities

New guidance for fleet operators considering out-of-hours deliveries was launched by TfL at Quiet Cities yesterday

‘Getting the timing right’ is a toolkit for all stakeholders involved in re-timing freight deliveries – including hauliers, local councils and businesses – and outlines the benefits and issues to consider when rescheduling deliveries, from finding suitable sites and staffing issues through to engaging with local residents.

It is an industry-led guide that pulls together all the lessons learned and data gathered by the Re-timing Deliveries Consortium, which comprises TfL, freight operators, retailers, trade associations and several London boroughs.

It outlines benefits for operators as:

  • Fewer PCNs by delivering at times when restrictions do not apply
  • Fuel savings, by avoiding congestion
  • More efficient use of fleet
  • Less stressful journeys for drivers

However it urges operators to take into account the following considerations:

  • Analyse delivery options
  • Talks between customers and local authorities
  • Identifying suitable locations
  • What customer requirements are for each delivery
  • The impact on whole supply chain
  • Staff training
  • Equipment investment

London’s Transport Commissioner Sir Peter Hendy (pictured), said: “London, through the 2012 Games and the Re-timing Deliveries Consortium, has proved that innovative attitudes can have a real impact. Moving deliveries to the right time will make the difference, improving road safety and relieving pressure on congestion.

“The sheer number of people at the inaugural Quiet Cities event shows that the appetite for this change is there, not just in London, or the UK, but across the globe.”

Tim Slater, MD of Transport UK & Ireland at DHL, said: “By sharing best practice and innovative technologies, such as our new concept vehicle, retiming of deliveries to out of the peak can become a reality; ensuring reliability, easing congestion and improving road safety.”

A Quiet Cities delegate from Tesco revealed that working with the Re-timing Deliveries Consortium had enable the supermarket to move 45 stores in London to accepting night-time deliveries, while a Sainsbury’s representative stressed that collaboration across the whole borough is key, as something as simple as adding a dropped kerb can enable a new access point for out-of-hours unloading.

Delegates also wanted to find out more about individual case studies, as well as calling for construction freight to be included in future research. Some also asked about the possibility of a required standard to adhere to, so as to ensure compliance from all operators.

By Hayley Pink

Quiet Cities 2014 closes on a high

Day two of Quiet Cities concluded the global summit, providing delegates from logistics operators, logistics customers and policy makers and implementers with solutions to enabling out-of-hours deliveries.

As well as hearing presentations from event partner DHL, the Noise Abatement Society and Volvo Trucks delegates were able to explore a variety of low noise technologies exhibited in the shadow of Twickenham stadium.

Natalie Chapman, head of policy – London – at the Freight Transport Association, also revealed some of the details behind the Retiming Deliveries Consortium in the capital, that has been engaged in out-of-hours delivery trials with Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s in the boroughs of Camden, Richmond and Kensington and Chelsea.

Chapman said that the consortium had faced multiple challenges since its launch in January, ranging from local elections to nervousness about resident complaints, but conceded that moving to retimed deliveries would not be a quick process: “It requires a lot of buy-in at all levels,” she said.

She also revealed that Transport for London would be providing a matchmaking service for London Boroughs and businesses in order to facilitate out-of-hours deliveries. Interested parties should email to find out more.

Tim Slater DHL

Tim Slater, managing director, transport UK and Ireland at DHL Supply Chain (pictured above), said that all stakeholders in out-of-hours deliveries needed to “raise the bar in standards, be it vehicles, training or behaviours” adding  that DHL had “a leadership challenge” and that together, with all parts of the supply chain, “we can shape the future of logistics”.

Gloria Elliott, chief executive of the Noise Abatement Society, posed the question: “Other forms of environmental pollution are not tolerated? So why not noise?” while Per-Uno Sturk, the noise and vibration specialist at Volvo Trucks explained it would require ten trucks built today to make the same amount of noise as one truck built in the 1970s.

Sam Clarke, director of Gnewt Cargo, explained to delgates that the delivery specialist was already handling a large volume of goods seven days a week, and unlocking the out-of-hours delivery window would make up for the absence of an eighth day.

Outside Brigade Electronics; Carrier Transicold; Daf; DHL; Michelin; Moffett; Paneltex,  Transdek and Route Monkey showcased a wide variety of low-noise technologies including DHL’s ‘city-safe, city-quiet’ truck.

Brigade showcased its broadband reversing alarms, while Carrier Transicold showed one of its range of PIEK-compliant refrigeration systems. Mitchelin’s new X Multi D range of tyres have a 5 db reduction in noise levels while Moffett’s electric truck-mounted forklifts run at a noise level below 60 db (A).

Paneltex showed an electric 5.5t Isuzu Forward that runs of Kuehne + Nagel’s contract with Whitbread that has a range of 120 miles while Transdek demonstrated the capabilities of its Double Deck Urban Eco Trailer, that has 100% more load capacity than a typical 18-tonne rigid.

Silent Daf

Daf exhibited the CF Silent, which runs at a noise level of no more than 72 db(A). Engine software limits the torque and engine speed, while gears are changed at a lower engine speed reducing revving.

Route Money outdoors

Meanwhile Route Monkey showed the capability of its planning and scheduling software in a BMW i3 (pictured above). Goodyear, IMS, Jimmy Beam Down Lights and K Hartwall also exhibited in the indoor areas at Twickenham stadium.