Successful start to Quiet Cities 2014

London at dawn

Over 200 delegates at the first day of Quiet Cities 2014 were told that the nature of urban freight must change in order to meet the multiple challenges of the 21st century.

In the first day of the two day global summit, delegates heard speeches from Lord Digby Jones and Sir Peter Hendy, while Stacey Hodge, director of the Office of Freight Mobility at the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDoT)  joined via videolink.

All were united in outlining the booming population of global urban centres, the demand from those people as consumers for immediate satisfaction, and the need for business and government to deliver solutions to these problems.

Ian Wainwright

Ian Wainwright (pictured above), head of freight and fleet programmes at TfL – which proved that out-of-hours could work during the Olympics in 2012 – said: “London is changing, and so is the way we deliver freight. There is rising demand from more customers, and the population of London will rise by 1.7 million by 2031. Doing nothing is not an option. We have to do something different.”

However he did explain that 47% of HGVs in peak congestion hours were involved in construction, and it would be a major challenge to alter that supply chain.

Jason Andrews, of Croydon Borough Council in Greater London, said that its population had doubled in 20 years, and that the town centre would see a large amount of construction activity in the city centre, with a new Westfield shopping centre set to be built over the next five years.

“Congestion risk is one of our biggest priorities,” he said of planning the challenge of such large scale construction activity. The Borough is expecting 14,000 HGV vehicle movements a month over the next four years.


Richard Fleming, logistics director at Sainsbury’s, said that the retailer now had more convenience stores (676) than supermarkets (595) and that was providing a specific urban logistics challenge, particularly as 50% of its convenience stores were subject to planning regulations.

“The consumer wants to shop more, and shop more frequently. That means we need to go [into city centres] more often with smaller loads,” he said, adding that its logistics operation – which comprises of more than 2,000 vehicles, needed to minimise mileage in distributing to this channel of retail.

“We take the ‘Silent Night’ approach. We need to respect communities,” he said.

Stacey Hodge, New York Dept of Transport

Hodge (pictured above) , of the NYC DoT, concurred: “We see opportunities for residents… and benefits for industry.”

Out-of-hour delivery trials have taken place in the city since 2007, with the 2008 recession slowing progress. The first tranche of trials involved retailers Foot Locker and Whole Foods, alongside food distributor Sysco – with drivers reporting that they felt more safe delivering at night in lower levels of traffic, and businesses reporting that vehicles spent less time being stationary, meaning more deliveries could be made by the same driver.

Now the NYC trial involves over 400 companies, including 72 of 121 Dunkin Donuts stores in Manhattan.

The global summit continues today.

DHL launches ‘city safe, city quiet’ gas-powered concept vehicle at Quiet Cities

DHL has launched a compressed natural gas (CNG) concept truck, a Euro-6 two-axle rigid Scania P-280, at the inaugural Quiet Cities global summit in Twickenham today.

The bespoke truck has been designed to be safe, clean and quiet. It runs on a blend of natural and bio-gas, with the capability to run either fuel independently. DHL said that by running a blend of gasses in the engine it will see a 68% reduction in particulate matter (PM) and a 39% reduction in nitrogen oxides (NOx) compared to an equivalent diesel Euro-6 vehicle over the life-cycle of the vehicle.

DHL door

The low-entry cab is fitted with additional side-windows to improve visibility, alongside a four-camera, 360-degree camera system, with an in-cab screen and hard-drive image recording to improve safety.

DHL tail liftNylon components and pneumatic technologies have been used on the roller shutter of the trailer, to reduce noise levels, while a Noise Abatement Society and PIEK-certified tail-lift, run on a motor operating between 60 and 65 db(A) also reduces noise. Furthermore, a directed, tonal, alarm – which allows noise outside the hazard zone to dissipate quickly, has been fitted, running at 5db(A). The tear-drop trailer was supplied by Don-Bur.

Tim Slater, MD, transport at DHL Supply Chain UK & Ireland, said that the truck was part of the operator’s commitment to making transport “safer, cleaner and quieter”.

“While I truly believe this vehicle will be transformational in driving industry towards a better future, DHL will continue to invest in innovative vehicle technology, alternative fuels, accident-prevention systems and driver training to ensure we’re always delivering the best service for our customers and supporting the UK’s environmental health.”



Viewpoint from DHL: Transport’s challenge

Consumers and businesses take freight and transport for granted. It an essential part of daily life and keeps the country running, writes Tim Slater, MD of transport, DHL Supply Chain UK and IrelandDHL-Transport3Jun14-460

While transport is ingrained in our routines – it would be fair to acknowledge that we are not yet close to a perfect system with a number of challenges still facing our industry on a daily basis.
Congestion is a problem that every driver can relate to whether from a commuter or commercial driver’s perspective. And besides the frustration that jams cause, the impact of vehicle fumes on our environment is damaging our surroundings and o
ur health. City centres are particularly being targeted for improvement and this is further enforced by legislation for emissions, with a number of UK cities being vulnerable to heavy financial fines for missing targets.

Safety is paramount

Safety is always a primary concern and top of all of our agendas, especially in urban environments where there are other vulnerable road users like cyclists and pedestrians. Freight vehicles are often bigger, heavier and noisier than the average vehicle, and in densely populated urban centres, noise pollution is a particular concern.
We need to address these challenges, so at DHL we’re aiming to make all our operations, safer, cleaner and quieter. By focusing on vehicle innovation, new urban solutions, increasing collaboration and improving safety performance, we can provide the most sustainable and efficient service for our customers and play our part in addressing some of the key challenges for our industry.

Vehicle innovation

Innovative design and technology within vehicles can simultaneously address a number of the challenges the industry faces, including safety, noise and efficiency.
DHL has invested in redesigning vehicles, reducing the power and fuel needed, for example efficient designs including aerodynamic tear-drop trailers, are now widely-used across our fleets.
Also by including vehicle telematics we have ensured our drivers are aware of how to reduce their fuel consumption. Similarly, we have developed mobile apps that support driver training, make fuel usage transparent and therefore encourage more efficient driving. As a result, our fuel economy has improved month on month for the past two years.
DHL’s global GoGreen commitment aims to reduce C02 emissions by 30% by 2020 and so we need to look to how we reduce our reliance on diesel.
As part of this commitment, we operate the largest dual-fuel fleet in the UK, alongside other innovative technologies including electric and hybrid vehicles to help improve our overall environmental impact.
Electric vehicles are also the quietest type of vehicle, and as such are likely to play a greater role in future urban logistics – especially as government is backing electric and hybrid vehicles with a £40m investment in rapid charging networks and this has the potential to make electric vehicles a suitable city centre transport solution.

New urban solutions_ISM0130

Growing cities are challenged to provide world-class living spaces and passenger transport while maintaining a vibrant economy. Achieving these aims simultaneously requires new approaches to urban transportation.
DHL is establishing consolidation centres throughout the UK to combat urban congestion and reduce vehicle numbers. Consolidation centres, sited outside of urban centres, ensure final-mile deliveries are achieved in the most efficient and safe way, using the most appropriate vehicles. Our experience shows that these operations can reduce deliveries and emissions by up to 65%.
The vast majority of urban customers want their goods in the morning, and at DHL we are increasingly performing out-of-hours deliveries as an excellent method of achieving this while at the same time avoiding peak-time congestions and separating freight transport from other road users. With the correct equipment these deliveries can be conducted in a quiet and sensitive manner. DHL is working with the authorities to create an industry standard for out-of-hour deliveries that will satisfy all stakeholders.

Increasing collaboration

Operating half empty lorries still remains commonplace in the transport industry, despite being a highly inefficient practice. In fact, the most recent figures reveal that 27% of lorries were making journeys with empty loads. Both internal and external pressures are pushing the industry towards improving this rate to 17% by 2050.
One way of driving progress towards this target is greater collaboration between businesses; by sharing transport resources businesses can cut their costs and their carbon footprint.
At DHL, we are continuously seeking to support our customers in achieving their sustainability goals and financial targets. As part of this work, we have identified potential collaborative partners (companies from the same or different sectors) and introduced them to each other supporting this new approach to sharing resources. One great success story from this is our partnership between Nisa and BP. Nisa now shares BP’s journeys for delivering groceries, resulting in £5.5m worth of savings since 2010.

Improving safety performance

DHL has also invested heavily in driver training. We do not settle for basic minimum qualifications, and believe continuous training is vital. In addition to the 35 hours of approved training every five years, we also train our drivers in Smith System Defensive Driving.
This world-leading programme has a proven five-step approach to considerate and safe road use. Our investment in this area has led to a 17% reduction in accidents and collisions over the past two years.
In September, DHL added an additional Driver CPC course called ‘Sharing the Road’. The module was designed by our Training Solutions team and was specifically aimed at raising awareness of vulnerable road users.

The future

At DHL, we’re already making progress on our safer, cleaner and quieter goals. DHL is really excited to be launching a new concept in the coming months as part of our work around the Quiet Cities Summit in November in association with TfL, Route Monkey and Motor Transport.
DHL will continue to invest in innovative vehicle technology, alternative fuels, accident prevention systems and driver training. We are particularly interested in developing new solutions for increasing city populations. This is incredibly important to us as we continue to ensure that DHL is a company both fit for the future and supporting the UK’s future economic and environmental health.

Hushing it up

Out-of-hours deliveries were introduced for the London Olympics and, while not without challenges. were so successful that several firms have continued them. Louise Cole reports

There are many reasons why urban deliveries should be conducted between late evening and early morning. Traffic levels are at their lowest, so the largest vehicles on the road can move without contributing to or being delayed by congestion. Some 80% of road fatalities in London are vulnerable road users, with cyclists the most affected by HGVs – yet 75% of London cyclists cycle during the day. Parking is also less of an issue at night.

The London Olympics & Paralympics compelled many logistics firms to give a powerful demonstration of how out-of-hours urban deliveries could be carried out. According to Transport for London, 15% to 20% of the commercial vehicles typically driving in London between 6am and 6pm disappeared from the roads – 10% of these went to night time deliveries (source: FTA Logistics Legacy).

Many of those who delivered out of hours during the Olympics have carried on doing so – but challenges remain. The London Lorry Control Scheme is still too rigid; logistics firms must often seek individual agreements with local authorities over parking; there is widespread education needed – and hearts and minds still to win –among local authorities, residents and customers.

The key message that needs to be communicated is that HGV deliveries, even of noisy goods, are rarely disruptive – and that out-of- hours deliveries serve all our other policy priorities such as clean air, less congested roads and safety.

DHL Tradeteam

Like many logistics companies, DHL Tradeteam was forced by the 2012 Olympic Games to reschedule as many deliveries into central London as possible. It first ran an out-of-hours trial with Transport for London, the FTA, Noise Abatement Society and Southwark Council, bringing forward deliveries of beer kegs and other drinks to the Swan at the Globe, a central London restaurant. Normal licensing restrictions mean the Swan cannot take delivery of alcohol before 7am, so special dispensation was needed for the trial.

The major problem was identifying and eliminating sources of noise. “Rolling an empty beer keg is like rolling a bell,” says Tradeteam regional operations manager John Crosk. “But a lot of the noise residents hear is the vehicle pulling up, idling engines, talking and so on. So we looked at the whole process and not just the delivery.”

Crews were taught to communicate without speaking: “Eye contact is the important thing,” says Crosk. Radios are turned off on approach, engines on parking. The team tried rubber mats to suppress keg noise but this was only partially successful, so they switched to barrows with pneumatic tyres.

The Swan takes consolidated deliveries, including up to three tonnes of beer (approximately 40 kegs) at each drop. Throughout the whole trial, only one noise complaint was lodged.

Despite the success of the trial, the Swan cannot maintain out-of-hours deliveries. “It doesn’t have any benefit for us as a customer; we are restricted by licensing legislation to post-7am deliveries and earlier drops would require us to pay our teams for an extra hour,” says Carol Dean, project and facilities director at the Swan.

It is important to note the customers for whom this kind of change is untenable long term. However, DHL Tradeteam has continued to service hundreds of accounts between 5am and 7am in London, with 20 routes running out of Enfield (as well as two very late routes) and up to 15 out of Gatwick.

Crosk says the major obstacle is the London Lorry Control Scheme, which forces unnecessary mileage on fleets, wasting fuel and 
raising emissions. “It needs reviewing urgently,” he says.

DHL Supply Chain for JD Wetherspoon

DHL Supply Chain runs a 24-hour operation for JD Wetherspoon, with over one-third of 
all deliveries made before 6am or after 6pm. DHL services more than 900 sites across the UK and Ireland.

It had already identified problems with conventional roll-cages, both in terms of noise and safety, when the pressure for out-of-hours deliveries increased during the Olympics.

“There are a lot of injuries with roll-cages on this kind of high street delivery. The standard security cage also makes about 100dB of noise,” says John Anderson, national transport manager for the Wetherspoon account at DHL.

Anderson and his team started to redesign their cages, adding operator safety features and taking out 5kg in weight by replacing steel elements with low-noise polymers. Wheels became rubber and hinges became plastic, and the six places where metal clanged against metal when nested were identified and modified. The cage now makes 77dB of noise, which Anderson notes is a huge achievement.

Anderson is confident that DHL and its supplier will now make DHL’s ‘Olympic cage’ the first full-security cage to meet the Piek standard for ambient noise, which is 66dB.

The Olympic cage has become standardised across DHL accounts globally, so that kit can be transferred across accounts easily. The Olympic cages also have longer lifespans, improved from three-to-four years to 10, due to the use of high-﷯tensile steel and the plastic/polymer components, which can be easily and economically replaced.

“The roll cage itself is more expensive,” says Anderson. “But the 5kg weight saving gives us an extra 225kg payload on a standard 13m trailer or 370kg on a double-decker.”

Having a cage manufactured in and then imported from China creates 120kg of CO2. The DHL cage, however, can be refurbished to give an extra five years of life, with a carbon cost of 20kg and for half the original purchase cost.

FM ConwayFM Conway Tipper

Infrastructure services company FM Conway routinely repairs London’s roads at night, and demonstrated its skill at doing so quietly when tasked with lifting 34 pedestrian islands to facilitate the Olympic cycle road race. These islands through Hammersmith and Fulham had to be lifted each morning of the two-day race and then re-laid for night-time traffic control.

Since London 2012, FM Conway’s night-time work has steadily increased, almost doubling as a percentage of its overall workload. “We are currently doing a lot of work on Putney Bridge, where we have a high concentration of equipment in an extremely small area,” says Richard Carson, plant and transportation director at FM Conway.

The company made large modifications to its fleet before the Olympics, with rubber linings in the cargo bay for quiet loading and unloading, rubber seals on tail-lifts to stop banging, and hydraulic clamps that compress the body to stop rattling when the vehicle moves. The vehicles are also fitted with white noise reversing alarms and electric sheeting systems, both for noise reduction. It has also invested in driver training for all its employed drivers and subbies, which includes education about noise control.

Its quiet delivery measures won it the Noise Abatement Society’s Enterprise in Quiet Transport Award in 2012.

Since then the company has invested in Euro-6 vehicles for quieter running. “In some instances they cut noise by 10dB against the Euro-5s,” says Carson.

Night-time road repair is essential to prevent huge road congestion during the day. Carson says there are two more crucial benefits: the first is that road repair is extremely dangerous for operatives, and his men are much safer at night when there is little surrounding traffic. And, second, they get 30% more work done when traffic levels are low.

“The public response to night-time working is much more positive since we have focused on communicating with the public, our ‘macro’ client, and not just with our immediate client,” says Carson. “If people understand the benefits, and we in turn understand their needs, it becomes a positive experience for everyone.”
Carson urges TfL and London borough councils to review the London Lorry Control Scheme, both on the grounds of safety and efficiency. “We want our people to be able to work in maximum safety. Plus we often have to do three times the necessary distance to collect asphalt because we cannot drive through central London. This creates more pollution and makes public road repairs more expensive.”

Clean Linen Services

Laundry service Clean Linen Services supplies more than 500 restaurants and hotels in London, and 3,000 nationally. Its fleet travels approximately two million miles a year using more than 600,000 litres of fuel.

During the Olympics, it anticipated higher volumes of product and traffic, so brought morning deliveries forward by three hours 
and pushed late afternoon services back by three hours.

While not without its challenges, the Olympics experience was so positive that the company has continued running out-of-hours deliveries in the capital wherever possible. Group transport manager Peter Cox says: “Overall this is making our business more efficient. We now estimate 40% of our deliveries in London are outside peak hours.”

Cox says the benefits for the company include improved customer service, journey times, turnaround of goods and fuel economy, as well as altogether smoother operation and parking, and savings from Congestion Charge exemptions. The benefits to the city are less pollution, congestion and noise, and improved road safety.

Since its successful Olympics trial, Clean Linen has invested in quieter, more fuel-﷯efficient Mitsubishi Fuso Canter diesel-electric hybrids. Quieter tail-lifts and the addition of rubber strips to roll-cages also help.

There are still challenges. The capital has shrinking kerb space and unforgiving parking rules. Noise abatement orders can be raised from a single complaint, regardless of the hundreds of non-disruptive deliveries that are carried out. “We have recently had to amend our methods again in one road where we have five long-term clients, in response to a single complaint,” says Cox. “There are also still curfew issues and problems that local authorities could address. We want to carry on with what we are doing and it would be helpful if the restrictions in London were lifted.”

DHL: Collaboration is key to enable quiet deliveries

DHL is at the forefront of the revolution in out-of-hours deliveries, but Christopher Walton discovers why it believes there is still a long way to go until it becomes the norm. By Christopher Walton.

Every day DHL has between 1,100 and 1,700 vehicles going into London. The UK’s largest (non-mail) operator of CVs has approximately 8,000 vehicles, roughly, so that proportion reflects London’s 22% share of the UK’s GDP.

Because deliveries into the capital account for a significant chunk of its Supply Chain business, DHL is at the forefront of the changes taking place in out-of-hours deliveries in London and it led the way during the Olympic Games in 2012.

Philip Roe, MD, innovation, strategy and business development (UK & Ireland Transport) at DHL Supply Chain, told MT that it strives to be the safest, most efficient and customer-focused operator – and if it wants to hit those targets in a quarter of its business, it has got to be leading the way. “If there are things that are changing how that business runs, you have got to be at the forefront of that,” he said. “The Olympics experience and legacy proved that things can be done, and that collaboration can work well.”

Now TfL is making strides in bringing the issue back to the forefront of operators’ business models. Three new out-of-hours delivery trials are to start in London, the first of which includes nine retail stores, four in inner London and five in outer London, and will involve deliveries earlier or later in the day than those being made.

Roe said DHL has had a strong response from customers, and it has a number of customers that want to be involved. “All different shapes and sizes of customers, in different sectors too, not just retail, some in automotive for example,” he said.

Standard practice

All of which begs the question: if there is so much enthusiasm from authorities, operators and customers for out-of-hours deliveries, why aren’t they standard practice? “The case has not yet been made,” said Roe. “Most supply chains are established and designed against a cycle of order, receipt and stock. To disrupt that cycle and to change it means either a big event, such as the Olympics, or a big motivation. That’s why the case has to be made.”

That is why the industry needs the Quiet Cities global summit, Roe said. He wants the summit to be the spark that sees the industry rise to the challenge, and operate out-of-hours in an urban environment in a safe, clean and quiet way. That would mean regulators rising to the challenge of relaxing some restrictions. If this happened, Roe said: “Then we could create a case that is efficient as well as safe, and also meets customers’ needs. Only when we get to the point will we see significant change.”

Operationally, one of the biggest barriers is receipt of goods and how to conduct this out-of-hours.

There are some solutions that have been around for a while, for example, driver deliveries can be made into lock-ups or specified delivery areas (which is how most catering deliveries are done, said Roe). Increasingly some delivery locations in London are operating 24 hours, either for trade, replenishment of goods or for security reasons.“There is certainly not a silver bullet on any of this, but there are different solutions that could be employed. If the hours of operation can be extended, so you are running a vehicle over multiple journeys, then the efficiency case goes a long way towards supporting those extra costs,” Roe added.“Also, it is undoubtedly safer, because it encourages segregation between freight and other road users. It improves fuel economy because you are not standing in traffic, you are moving, and you are not burning fuel unnecessarily.”

Fuel economy is key in a city that is not just congested, but sucks in freight with very little manufacturing output going out of the city in return. Reducing empty running is critical to efficient urban deliveries, Roe said: “One of our customers requires an average of five or six deliveries a day into London, but we collect five or six deliveries’ worth of waste and bring it back and recycle it.That makes that lorry mega-efficient because it is full most of the time.”

However, the success of out-of-hours deliveries will ultimately come down to one thing, according to Roe: collaboration. That means collaboration between regulators, operators, the owners of the goods and the receivers of the goods. “It is fundamental. It is key to making this happen.”

Working to keep the noise down

Ian Wainwright
Christopher Walton talks to TfL’s Ian Wainwright to discover why the industry needs to embrace out-of-hours deliveries.

There have been several milestones in the evolution of logistics: privatisation; the curtainsider; containerisation; palletisation. Then there has been primary and secondary distribution and, more recently, multichannel distribution. Now the industry is on the cusp of the next step change. Out-of-hours deliveries need to become the norm in the very near future, and the evolution is under way.

Ian Wainwright
Ian Wainwright, head of freight and fleet at TfL

MT spoke to Ian Wainwright, head of freight and fleet at TfL, to get a better understanding of why rescheduled deliveries will be the industry standard, and not the exception, and why London is leading the change, not just in the UK but around the world.

“During the London 2012 Olympic Games we proved that it is possible to do out-of-hours deliveries, that they do not necessarily disturb people,” said Wainwright.

“There is often a lack of understanding between the different parties. Operators frequently do not challenge their customers because they are not in the position to; they need to explain ‘we can do this more efficiently and we can save you money’.”


Wainwright believes that TfL has a role to play in squaring the circle. Although the two weeks of the London Games created an urgent need for retiming deliveries, there is an even more pressing concern for out-of-hours deliveries. “Lots of people understood that there was a burning platform [during the Games]. It had to be different. We are now in a situation where, by 2031, we will go from 8.3 million people in London to 10 million; another 1.7 million people – a 15% increase.

“If everyone is to have the same standard of living, freight activity has to go up by 15% and the internet accounts for 20% of orders. So more stuff is coming in. And it’s coming in between 7am and 11am,” Wainwright explained.

“Retailers are making decisions about properties on a footfall basis,” he said. “Nobody usually cares about the logistics, and they pick the site and logistics thinks ‘how are we going to deliver to that?’”

To that end, TfL has confirmed three new out-of-hours delivery trials are to start in London. The trials will focus on three distinct areas: the possibility of a long-term change in delivery behaviour; options to change the delivery conditions imposed through the planning process; and demonstrating the use of various pieces of quiet delivery equipment. The first of the trials includes nine retail stores; four in inner London and five in outer London, and will involve deliveries earlier or later in the day than those currently being made.
“There is a lot of misconception in London that you cannot deliver out of hours, which is wrong. There are individual sites where you cannot deliver because of a planning condition, or a noise abatement notice, or a tenancy agreement, and a range of things about the technical aspects of delivering to that site. However, London is open for business overnight and we want to enable that to happen in a way that doesn’t disturb residents,” said Wainwright.

“The London Lorry Control Scheme only applies to vehicles over 18 tonnes and it is only a routeing scheme. So while you may have to go a different route to get around it, it won’t stop the delivery. There is still this feeling, because the scheme was introduced in 1986 as a ban, that it bans deliveries. It does not ban deliveries. So we have got to work on perceptions,” he conceded.

Best practice

When TfL revealed last autumn that it was launching out-of-hours delivery trials, it also created an Out-of-Hours Consortium, comprising: three London boroughs, two retailers, the FTA, the RHA and London Councils. The group aims to demonstrate best practice and offers guidance on collaboration and new ways of working. Regular progress reports will be published.

“We want to look at how we can potentially move some supermarket activity [to different times of day],” Wainwright said of the consortium. “Supermarkets want flexibility in terms of delivery times and a lot of the stores they have, such as convenience stores, are not sites you would do 24/7.

“We are having some local successes but it is slow and we are not going into any details about that until the Quiet Cities global summit [see box] because we need to get the relationships right to know which boroughs and supermarkets need to talk. Be it about parking, driver behaviour, or planning.”

Back to normal

Wainwright said that after the Games a lot of operators and customers reverted to what they knew. All the success of out-of-hours deliveries during the Games was congratulated as a job well done as normal working practices resumed. “There was a willingness with the Games to challenge customers and tell them they were not going to receive goods for two weeks [unless they were retimed]. Now we are saying that within 20 years the need for retiming deliveries will be every day,” said Wainwright.

Change for the better

But customers and operators – be it hire and reward or own-account – do not want to hear that their way of doing business is wrong. “It isn’t wrong, but it can change for the better,” Wainwright said.

“We have to give people enough information so they understand what is coming, so they can make the right investment and recruitment decisions to enable them to deal with how cities are in the future. And, yes, this is London today but increased densities in terms of residential developments will happen in Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow, and any other city. People will have to get used to that.

“A lot of the solutions that exist will make Barnstable or Bury St Edmonds or Burton-on-Trent nicer places too if people are doing things at different times of the day,” he added.

Europe to see more electric vehicle recharging/refuelling points

The European Parliament has approved rules forcing the establishment of more electric vehicle recharging points and alternative fuel stations on the continent.

In a vote on 15 April, it agreed to implement a new directive that will oblige member states to submit minimum proposed levels of refuelling and recharging stations, with EU-wide standards including the use of common plugs for electric vehicles and standardised refuelling equipment for hydrogen and natural gas.

Under EC proposals, just under 800,000 publicly accessible electric vehicle recharging points, all using a common plug, will need to be established before 2020 – including more than 120,000 in the UK. EC figures show there were just 11,749 points across the Union in 2011, including 703 in the UK.

The EC also wants LNG refuelling stations to be installed every 400km along the roads of the Trans European Core Network, and for CNG refuelling points to be available Europe-wide at maximum distances of 150km by 2020.

EC vice president Siim Kallas said: “This is a milestone in the roll-out of clean fuels in Europe. This vote sends a clear signal that Europe is putting clean fuels at the heart of its transport policy and the drive to develop a transport system fit for the 21st century.”

The DfT told MT this time last year that it supported the EU’s efforts to harmonise technical standards for alternative fuels but that it was “not convinced that setting targets for the deployment of technology-specific infrastructure is the most effective way of building consumer confidence in new technology”.

Infrastructure is key to low-carbon vehicles

Dual-fuel vehicle usage may increase following the DfT’s £11.5m funding, writes George Barrow

The uptake of gas-powered trucks has increased, with several high-profile operators, including DHL, Howard Tenens and United Biscuits, adding dual-fuel vehicles to their fleets.
Away from the large fleets, uptake has been slow, and that has largely been due to the scarcity of refuelling stations in the UK, where gas road fuels – CNG, LNG and biomethane – are in short supply at retail and wholesale levels. The lack of infrastructure has been seen as a major stumbling block for those unable to house and fund gas filling stations, but seed corn funding is beginning to generate interest in the technology. This has come in the shape of an £11.5m contribution by the DfT – administered by the Technology Strategy Board – to the Low Carbon Truck Trial aimed at encouraging the uptake of low-carbon CVs.

On trial

Thirteen consortia, including hauliers, universities and testing facilities, are involved in the trial, which hopes to generate evidence of the benefits of low-carbon vehicles, increase understanding, and develop the technology. It should also initiate a publicly accessible refuelling network in the UK.
A total of 354 vehicles will be involved in the trial: 339 dual-fuel vehicles, five dedicated gas trucks and 10 powered by used cooking oil. Among the 13 active trials, there are 85 trucks reporting data, covering more than 1m km per month and consuming, on average, 900,000 litres of diesel, 527 tonnes of natural gas, 48 tonnes of cooking oil and 41 tonnes of biomethane. The majority are fuelled at private depots with refuelling stations, but 26 public-access fuelling stations are scheduled to be created, with 18 new sites and upgrades to eight stations.
Several suppliers, including CNG Services, Gasrec and the Gas Alliance Group, plan to increase the availability of renewable biomethane gas, with a number of new plants and refuelling sites. Fifteen biomethane generation projects are scheduled for this year by CNG Services with 20 planned for 2015, while LNG specialist Gasrec – which liquefies methane from anaerobic digestion in landfill – has six open access sites planned this year and four for 2015. These are in addition to its 10 refuelling sites in operation and will help supply the 60kg of biomethane used on average by each truck per day. “A year ago we were fuelling about 40 vehicles,” said Ben Sawford, Gasrec commercial officer. “Now we are fuelling about 500.”
Ed Carter, National Grid commercial relationship and development manager, said supply is key to the growth of gas-powered trucks. National Grid’s Isle of Grain LNG facility is the largest terminal in Europe, with a 15 million tonnes/year capacity. “LNG has potential as a clean, cheap fuel,” he said. “Qatar is a main source of LNG, and the quality of the methane is well within the requirements for the truck market. Next year looks like a turning point, with potentially a large supply coming from Africa, Australia and the US.”
Availability and infrastructure in the UK transport sector is set to expand as the trial continues. The last trial will finish in early 2016, but the government’s decision in December to maintain the duty differential between diesel and gas road fuels for 10 years will add a financial argument to the increasing practicality of running dual-fuel or gas-powered vehicles for the long term. However, Jon Horsley, lead technologist for low carbon vehicles at the Technology Strategy Board, said the differential should not be seen as a permanent crutch, but that the more evidence gathered in the trial, the more likely it is to inform future interventions.

Compliant vehicles

If dual-fuel vehicle usage takes off, converters and OEMs will have to create Euro-6-compliant vehicles as supplies of Euro-5 units for conversion dry up. Dual-fuel conversion suppliers Hardstaff and G-volution will have Euro-6 compliant versions this year, while Iveco and Mercedes-Benz are working on products, with a range of CNG/LNG Iveco products expected this year.
Nick Blake, Mercedes-Benz sales engineering manager, said while it is the role of manufacturers to develop technologies, legislation will govern policy. “We develop for a world market, so have to bear that in mind while looking to future legislation.”

Industry reaction

As part of the Low Carbon Truck Trial, a study was conducted by Cenex, the Department of Business Innovation and Skills’ low-carbon centre of excellence, to gauge users’ reactions to the low carbon vehicles.
The study showed that driver acceptance is significantly higher than their pre-trial perception of gas trucks, with an overwhelming majority believing they were better than they thought they would be. 80% of drivers said they were proud to be part of a fleet exploring new technology.
Operators also noted the wider acceptance of the vehicles by their staff, reduced CO2 emissions and lower operating costs. However, many pointed to a lack of infrastructure and reliability in fuel supply.

Night-time proves the right time to deliver

A throw-away comment from a truck driver about night-time deliveries last week summed up perfectly one of the reasons why delivering out-of-hours makes a lot of sense.

“Night-time deliveries are f***ing great; there’s no idiots getting in your way on the streets,” this driver called to his mate as I walked past him incognito. I was having a snoop around various parts of London during the twilight hours last week, accompanied by the MD of the Noise Abatement Society and the director of Transport & Travel Research, both of whom have been heavily involved in quiet delivery trials over the past couple of years (see p3).

With the Olympic Route Network in force between 6am and midnight, it was predicted that the majority of deliveries in London would take place at night during the Olympics. There were fears of operators fighting for kerbside space. This certainly wasn’t the case on the night I was out on the streets of London. Things did get a little busier from 1am onwards but nothing like I was expecting.

What was good to see was the number of different operators’ liveries I spotted, proving many were giving out-of-hours deliveries a try.

A pre-arranged stop-off at a Carlsberg delivery near Marble Arch provided a good insight into the benefits for the drivers of doing night work. The three-man Carlsberg crew all spoke enthusiastically about how delivering at night enabled them to get around London a lot quicker. They also said their customers were happier to stay on a bit longer at the end of their day to receive the delivery rather than go home and then come back during the morning to receive the drinks order.

With the quiet delivery experts on hand we certainly observed some good quiet delivery practices – lengths of rubber hose on load securing chains for instance – but overall it appears there is a lot more work to be done by operators in training and explaining to drivers the importance of implementing quiet delivery behaviour. Most deliveries were being carried out as though it was broad daylight, with a lot of shouting from drivers and careless slamming and banging going on.

Luckily, there appear to have been very few reports of noise complaints from residents during the Games.

Improved efficiency, improved safety and reduced vehicle emissions are real benefits of operating at night, so if all it needs is a little more driver training to enable operators to continue delivering at night, this is surely something to which the industry can commit.

Silent night

If a retailer wants to consider handling deliveries outside the traditional peak delivery window, there are numerous hoops to jump through and, until now, the potential benefits have not seemed worthwhile. But the results of the DfT-funded Quiet Delivery Demonstration Scheme (QDDS) trials have shown there are a significant number of benefits available – both commercial and environmental.

Faster round-trip journey times; reduced vehicle turnaround times at stores; better fuel consumption from less time spent stationary, idling in congestion; improved shift productivity from drivers and vehicles; increased product availability in store; less congestion; better local air quality and fewer carbon emissions. To any transport operation, this list of benefits is music to the ears.

The brainchild of the Noise Abatement Society (NAS) and the FTA, the QDDS was set up in November 2009 in conjunction with the DfT to investigate the potential benefits from relaxing delivery curfews for quiet deliveries. After a thorough selection process, trials at six sites belonging to Tesco, Superdrug, Asda, Morrisons, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s, took place over a 15-month period, ending in March this year. Although only four of the trials were completed, valuable lessons were learnt.

Alternative times

The scheme was managed by freight specialists at transport consultants Transport & Travel Research (TTR), with other members of the project team consisting of NAS, the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) and AEA Technology.

Chris Douglas, QDDS project manager and director of TTR, tells MT: “From an operational point of view, out-of-hours deliveries make a lot of sense. If you can run your operation at an alternative time of day where there is less idling time and quicker average speeds, you’re going to save fuel. Rather than try to shoe-horn deliveries into a small, highly-congested window, common sense says we should try to use other delivery windows. It needs to be done in a way that includes best practice – both technological and behavioural.”

James Hookham, MD of policy and communications at the FTA, agrees: “These trials show that quiet night-time deliveries can be done, but it’s not a question of a blanket lifting of existing delivery restrictions as every site is different and has different issues. Sometimes residents’ complaints are justified, sometimes they’re not. We now have a toolkit to show operators and retailers how they can apply to conduct their own night-time trials, which is encouraging for those who want to extend delivery windows.”

The Process

Before each trial was allowed to proceed, a working group was formed for each site, usually consisting of the store manager, local environmental health officer, someone from the QDDS project team, and the logistics/transport manager from the retailer or its third-party operator. The working group would agree the objectives for the trial and NAS would conduct a site assessment report, highlighting the key noise risk areas. In the case of Trial 1 at Sainsbury’s in Bournemouth, Dorset, the key noise pollutants were from roll cage movement, yard gates, the vehicles themselves, and unloading activity.

Driver charter

A series of actions was agreed by the working group and incorporated into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). A driver charter was developed by Sainsbury’s to brief drivers on behavioural practices when delivering to the store during the trial, such as switching off reversing alarms and engines when not moving vehicles. During the trial, weekly reports were circulated and Bournemouth Borough Council arranged for a resident to complete noise logs, which were distributed to the working group members. The members of the group remained in contact during the trial and, on review, the trial was deemed a success.

No complaints were received throughout the trial and an effective working relationship was established between Bournemouth council and Sainsbury’s. Another success was the involvement of ‘direct deliverers’ (bread and milk) in the trial and the willingness to disseminate best practice (including the contents of the driver charter) in their own businesses.

The noise-monitoring results indicated that the introduction of operational best practice can have a minor effect on the whole delivery and loading /unloading procedure. But the major contributors to noise levels remain the vehicle engine on arrival, on-site manoeuvring and departure.

In terms of operational efficiency, Sainsbury’s reported improvements in fuel consumption of 5.7% for night-time operations compared to daytime equivalents. The store also reported trading benefits of night-time deliveries with improved stock replenishment and availability, as well as better utilisation of store staff.

“The successful outcome of the trial demonstrates that working together in this way can deliver sustained results, which all parties can be satisfied with,” says Morag White, environment manager, logistics, at Sainsbury’s. “Following the trial, the delivery times have remained as they were, overseen by both parties, which continue to monitor store delivery performance.”

Lasting legacy

With the London 2012 Olympics heavily affecting deliveries next summer, many retailers need to look at ways around the Olympic Route Network (ORN) restrictions, and night-time deliveries are seen as an option.

“The Olympics are an ideal opportunity for well-managed, well-controlled, out-of-hours deliveries,” says Douglas. “There’s an ideal opportunity with the Olympics to review how deliveries take place and if best practice can be implemented in 2012, hopefully we can create a lasting legacy to service premises.”

Hookham is hopeful the QDDS results will show TfL that there is a workable solution for night-time deliveries. “We’ve pushed the boundaries back a long way with these trials. Retailers that need to extend their delivery window during the Olympics should download the guide and ensure they understand any restrictions in place on their sites. Is it a planning consent; is it a curfew restriction – they need to know why it’s in place so they can find the best way to tackle it.”

Jerry Ward, manager of legal operations at John Lewis Partnership, says: “We have to look at out-of-hours deliveries as we have a Waitrose and John Lewis store opening soon at the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, close to the Olympic Park. We’ve also got a couple of Waitrose stores affected by the ORN.

“We’re trying to get information from TfL about the Olympics so we can plan, but it seems to take a long time to come through to the relevant people. We’ll look at the QDDS guide for retailers,” adds Ward.

Cost case

Wincanton has been running what it calls silent deliveries for WH Smith for the past eight years, and largely manages this through behavioural training rather than expensive quiet kit for its fleet.

Gareth Smith, Wincanton solutions director, says: “We could do more, such as investing in special quiet equipment, but with councils reticent on allowing night-time deliveries, it’s not worth it. We mainly do it through driver training – but that only takes you so far.”

Smith says it is frustrating that London boroughs make their own decisions on delivery curfews. “We might be able to deliver out-of-hours in one borough, but in the next we’re not allowed. We could do with a collective agreement among all the boroughs. That would make it worthwhile for us to invest in sliding doors, for example, rather than close-and-shut doors.

“The work we do for WH Smiths is successful – we don’t have complaints from residents. We support the trials that have been done,” adds Smith.

“For the future of high-street deliveries, we believe 50% of deliveries should be done out-of-hours. We can be more efficient and effective if we’re not caught in traffic, plus there’s less carbon being emitted. Also, there is improved safety as there’s less chance of accidents as there’s less traffic around and fewer cyclists and pedestrians.”

Consolidation centres

Smith predicts that in the future we will see pre-retail consolidation centres outside city centres. “Investing in quiet equipment is a significant capital investment, so perhaps we need to consider shared user activities on the high street. A pre-retail consolidation centre would have the final mile deliveries pre-loaded on high-spec, low-noise vehicles.”

Hookham adds: “If we don’t want all the retail outlets to be built out of town and we want to keep town centres thriving, then it should be made as easy as possible for retailers to receive deliveries.”CM06DHR

Douglas’s advice to retailers and their transport partners is to be realistic about where to consider introducing out-of-hours trials. “There may be too many sensitivities and it won’t be feasible. But for every one that isn’t, there will be lots of sites that will be perfect for quiet out-of-hours deliveries.”


  •  Provide as much in-depth information as possible (in the structure of an application form) to the local authority.
  •  Appoint a competent person to produce a site assessment report to review store delivery practices and to implement improvements to mitigate key sources of noise.
  •  Comply with all elements of the MoU prepared for the trial and ensure all store staff are made aware of the trial and its importance.
  •  Produce a driver charter to remind drivers of their obligations when delivering to where the trial is taking place.
  •  Liaise with the local authority and appoint a competent person to install noise-monitoring equipment for the duration of the trial to demonstrate that noise levels are being monitored.
  •  Engage with local residents before, during and after the trial to establish good communication links and keep residents informed of general store activity.
  •  Collate key data before and during the trial for analysis to assess and present the benefits of the new delivery times on store performance and transport operational efficiency.
  •  Be responsive to local residents’ concerns and make efforts to address complaints.
  •  Ensure own vehicles and those of suppliers do not arrive at the store too early, in advance of the agreed delivery window, and avoid vehicles waiting near to residential properties.
  • For curfews imposed through planning restrictions, retailers need to invest time in completing application forms and assembling supporting documents to ensure full compliance with the statutory processes. Retailers also need to be aware that despite their efforts, there is no certainty that restrictions will actually be revised.
  •  When planning store developments, consider the proximity of service yards and delivery bays to residential properties, effectively designing out potential conflict as far as possible.
  •  Be aware that breaches of existing restrictions or of those in place during the trial may lead to closer scrutiny of their activities by local authorities.
  •  Be aware of the delivery curfew restriction types and develop an understanding of how to deal with each.