Smart Mile Solutions locates PackRobot delivery terminal in German city

Dutch firm Smart Mile Solutions has installed Germany’s first PackRobot in the city of Nagold, as part of a shared urban delivery platform to encourage sustainable deliveries of locally-produced goods.

The PackRobot is a secure, self-service parcel terminal designed by Estonian tech firm Cleveron, with an automated smart storage system that optimises the use of available space.

This is performed by a 3D lift that picks and delivers the right parcel to a secure delivery slot.

Octagonal shaped, the PackRobot is capable of holding up to 500 parcels on just 4.9 m² of floor space and can be used for high-value and temperature-sensitive packages.

Packrobot picture press releaseCustomers using the Smart Mile Solutions app are able to order goods directly from local businesses and have them delivered to the centrally located PackRobot for pick-up at a convenient time.

App users are also able to use the PackRobot for national deliveries as well, with parcel couriers using the terminal as a final destination for goods rather than delivering directly to an end recipient.

Smart Mile said local businesses are also able to benefit by being able to use sustainable delivery options, such as cycle logistics couriers, to drop their goods at the PackRobot and eliminate the need for traditional delivery methods.

Following its launch in Nagold, the company will expand this scheme into other cities in Germany and across the rest of Europe.

In Germany, Smart Mile Solutions operates through its subsidiary citydibs Deutschland.

A company spokesman said: “The Smart Mile platform puts consumers in control over receiving their online purchases, reduces inner city traffic and carbon emission and stimulates the local economy.”

Freight in the City takes the last-mile debate to Birmingham in March 2017

Save the date for the Freight in the City Spring Summit ‘Improving the last mile’ on 1 March 2017 at Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham.

This exciting, free-to-attend-event will focus on the latest innovation and operational practices to ensure last-mile freight movements are safe, clean and quiet across urban areas.

An exciting line-up of speakers from both the private and public sector will debate the last-mile challenge and explore some of the successful work already taking place in cities across the UK and mainland Europe to address the issue.

The Urban Transport Group (UTG), which brings together and promotes the interests of Britain’s largest metropolitan areas on transport, will be supporting the event in Birmingham.

Jonathan Bray, UTG director, said: “Urban Transport Group is pleased to be sponsoring ‘Improving the last mile’. Getting last-mile logistics right forms part of a much wider debate about what kind of cities we want to live in and how we want them to look and feel.

“This conference presents a great opportunity to explore innovative solutions that enable last-mile journeys to be completed as safely, unobtrusively and with as little environmental impact as possible.”

Alongside the seminar programme will be an exhibition hall dedicated to the latest equipment and technology to enable compliant, efficient city deliveries.

While outside the venue will be a display of some of the newest urban vehicles on the market.

Details of the speaker programme and exhibitors will be released early in the new year, so make sure you are signed up to receive the latest event updates and our fortnightly round-up of urban transport news.

If you are interested in presenting at the Freight in the City Spring Summit on the topic of clean, safe and quiet last-mile deliveries or servicing, then please contact

We look forward to seeing you there.




UK has more traffic hotspots than anywhere in Europe; London most congested city

The UK has more traffic hotspots than any other European country, a new report has revealed.

If unaddressed this will likely cost the economy £62bn over the next decade in lost time, Data company Inrix has claimed.

The study by the data company showed that there were 20,300 traffic hotspots in UK cities, almost 12,000 more than the next country, Germany, and more than the following seven European countries combined.

The Inrix analysis defined a road as a hotspot once congestion forces drivers to reduce their speed by 65% for at least two minutes.

It also identified that London had more traffic hotspots than any other UK destination and had an impact factor 28 times more than an average city.

Using the DfT’s own value of time calculation combined with the hotspot data, Inrix arrived at its eye-watering estimate just days after the transport secretary pledged to spend £1.3bn to relieve congestion and improve the road network.

In a separate piece of research, TomTom warned that congestion was already costing UK businesses £767m a year in lost productivity alone.

It found average journey times were 29% longer than they would be in free-flowing conditions in 2015. This was up from 25% in 2010.

“Traffic congestion may be seen as a fact of life for every driver but, cumulatively, it is taking a heavy toll on the UK economy and this should not be accepted as an inevitability,” said Beverley Wise, TomTom Telematics director.

“Making the most of billable time is key to profitability for any business, so organisations that rely heavily on a mobile workforce must look for ways to maximise the time employees spend actually doing jobs by minimising time spent on the road.”

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announced last week that the government would spend £1.1bn on the local road network, easing congestion and upgrading the roads, plus “a £220m package of smaller improvements” for the strategic road network.
This includes improvements along 18 miles of the A69 from Hexham to Newcastle.
However, Grayling added that £70m of the investment going to highways authorities next year would be coming out of the Pothole Action Fund, “to ensure that work can start quickly to help continue improvements to the country’s roads”.

Khan sets out congestion-reducing measures for London roads

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is to introduce a host of measures to tackle the city’s road congestion.

The mayor’s plans include faster repairs to London’s roads; lobbying government for greater powers to manage the city’s roadworks; a review of 200 traffic signals’ timings to reduce delays and the use of cameras at pedestrian crossings to cut the time traffic is held at red lights.

The mayor also aims to give buses greater priority, improve information for road users via using social media and smart technology, and cut the cost of public transport.

The plans will run alongside other more long-term strategic approaches being developed as part of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, due to be published in spring 2017.

Khan said cutting congestion was vital to London’s future prosperity.

He said: “We need to be much smarter in how we use our roads and tackle the causes of congestion head-on.

“Today I’m setting out practical and immediate steps we can take to reduce disruption, including better prioritising buses on our streets, better information for road users, and substantial improvements in how roadworks are coordinated.”

Natalie Chapman, FTA head of policy for London said: “FTA strongly welcomes the mayor’s focus on managing congestion, and hopes that this approach will produce benefits for Londoners.

“The capital needs more than 360,000 tonnes of goods moved on its roads every day – construction materials to build new homes, food and drink to restaurants, clothes to shops and of course the waste to be taken away – so, it’s in everyone’s interests if these goods can get where they need to be efficiently.”

Simon Moore, CBI director for London & South, said businesses will welcome the measures but warned that “in the longer term, bolder solutions will be required to increase our deteriorating road capacity”.

Jack Semple, RHA director of policy, said: “It sounds good. London, and central London in particular, have faced a significant worsening of severe congestion and if these measures recognise that essential vehicles such as lorries and buses have to move about the city more quickly, that is a good thing because previous measures over many years have resulted in slowing traffic.

He added: “There is a great deal to be done. Scrapping the London Lorry Control Scheme would help as far as goods movement is concerned. I was recently at a freight Forum meeting in London at which one of the boroughs called for more lorries to be used to deliver, rather than vans, as a way of cutting congestion.”

London Lorry Control Scheme review will take into account technological advances in HGV design

A wide-ranging review of the London Lorry Control Scheme (LLCS) will take into account technological advances in HGV designs when it decides whether exemptions should be considered.

Following the first steering group meeting to discuss the scope of the review, council representatives agreed that the scheme’s effectiveness, as well as its impact on the freight industry will be included.

A review of this size has not been conducted before during the scheme’s three decades and the aim is for recommendations to be put to London Councils’ (LC) transport and environment committee later in 2017.

An LC spokeswoman said: “It will look at the management of freight, evaluate how the scheme can assist with the reduction of congestion and ensure noise pollution continues to be kept to a minimum in residential areas during unsociable hours.

It will cover routing, signage, hours of operation, extent of restrictions, enforcement, permissions and exemptions, taking into account technological advances in HGV design as well as traffic management and planning techniques.”

The FTA has pointed out that LC is likely to come under pressure from mayor Sadiq Khan, who is keen to resolve the Capital’s air quality issues.

The LC spokeswoman added: “The review will aim to ensure that the scheme continues to provide essential environmental benefits and protection for

Londoners as it has done for more than 30 years and will make sure the scheme plays an integrated role with other existing and emerging freight and environmental management initiatives being led by the boroughs and the Mayor of London.”

Transport for Greater Manchester wants to hear about your delivery challenges

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has recently established a Freight Forum and opened an online survey to understand the issues facing operators in the city.

The RHA and TfGM would like to know what operational issues are faced on a daily basis, the specific location of these issues and thoughts on what can be done to improve the situation.

They would encourage operators and retailers to give their drivers and store staff, as well as management, the opportunity to have input to this survey.

If you would like to be involved or updated regarding future GM Freight Forum events and developments, you can register your interest by emailing

M62 and M6 congestion hotspot to trial £7m traffic management system

Highways England is to start work on a £7m pilot scheme to cut congestion along the M62 near Warrington in Cheshire this month.

The project at Croft Interchange – where junction 21a of the M6 meets junction 10 of the M62 – aims to give drivers more reliable journeys along the eastbound M62, one of the busiest commuter congestion hotspots in the region.

From next summer, smart motorway technology, such as electronic information signs and variable mandatory speed limits on the M62, will be used alongside traffic lights on the motorway link roads from the northbound and southbound M6.

Andy Withington, Highways England programme delivery manager for the North West, said: “This is an opportunity to combine existing technology and traffic management systems in a novel way to see whether we can give drivers using the frequently congested eastbound M62 lower journey times during peak hours and smoother, more reliable journeys.”

The new system will be monitored for up to one year, and if successful, could be used on other motorway to motorway slip roads in the UK.

Large elements of the pilot project will also form part of the permanent M62 junction 10 to junction 12 smart motorway system between Warrington and Manchester, which is due to start construction during 2018/2019.


TfL Retiming Deliveries Consortium wins ‘noise oscar’ at John Connell Awards

The success of the TfL-led Retiming Deliveries Consortium has been recognised by the Noise Abatement Society (NAS) at its 15th annual John Connell Awards, known as the ‘Noise Oscars’.

An event held last night at the Palace of Westminster saw the consortium pick up the Quiet Cities Collaboration Award for its work in helping shift freight deliveries out of peak times.

The category, which was sponsored by Freight in the City, recognises innovation, best practice and collaboration in sustainable urban deliveries, with a specific focus on minimising noise.

TfL’s Retiming Deliveries Consortium is made up of representatives from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Camden Council, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, London Councils, FTA, RHA, Noise Abatement Society, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and Ashfords LLP.

It was set up in October 2013 to lead the way for retimed deliveries, promoting and encouraging retiming without noise disturbance through guidance tools, engagement and collaboration.

To date, deliveries to 237 premises have been retimed in London, equating to 80,000 deliveries, across 27 boroughs, working with 25 businesses and 77 consortium sites.

The programme is due to be incorporated in the forthcoming mayor’s transport strategy for London.

Ben Plowden, director of surface strategy and planning at TfL, said: “We’re delighted that the hard work of our partners in the Retiming Consortium has been recognised by this John Connell Award. Deliveries keep a city functioning and by everyone working together we can move some lorries out of peak time – improving the reliability and safety of the roads – while still respecting our neighbourhoods.”

Gloria Elliott, chief executive of NAS, daughter of John Connell, said: “NAS congratulates Transport for London on its Retiming Deliveries Consortium to reduce congestion and emissions without causing noise disturbance to residents. A successful example of collaboration that is effecting substantial positive change in central London.”

Presenting the award was Andy Salter (pictured first left), MD at Freight in the City publisher Road Transport Media, who added: “The winner of this year’s Quiet Cities Collaboration Award has demonstrated what can be achieved by true collaboration across stakeholder groups in the urban logistics sector.

“Only by effective partnerships will business, local authorities and the public make true gains in minimising noise disturbance.”

Food chain Pret A Manger also celebrated at last night’s event by winning the Quiet Logistics Award, which recognises advances in low noise technology in transport to facilitate quieter deliveries and services.

The John Connell Awards are named after NAS founder John Connell, who lobbied the Noise Abatement Act through Parliament in 1960 when noise became a statutory nuisance in the UK for the first time.

Geodis to move more deliveries to evenings after successful trial

Geodis UK wants to roll out its retiming of deliveries to evening time after a successful year of doing so with a major client.

Kevin Huskie, sales director at Geodis UK, told delegates how the company had worked with a fashion retailer to move deliveries to 38 of its stores, most of which are in city centres, out of daytime hours over the course of the year.

This, he said, had been “very successful” and something Geodis plans to do more of.

He said: “The benefits are clear to the customer, and our goal is to try and move daily deliveries for other retailers. We have 70 depots all over the UK working during the day, and we want to move some of that into the evenings.

“That’s our challenge, now that we’ve seen that it can work.”

Huskie also outlined some of the challenges that operators were up against when delivering at night.

These included having to use two-man crews because there’s no one in the stores to help unload deliveries, having to work with local police who tried to move the vehicles on, and even simple obstacles such as acquiring keys for the store and finding light switches once inside.

Another problem at night, he added, was looking out for pedestrians that were “less sober than they would be during the day”.

Freight “absolutely essential” to London economy, says Shawcross

London needs to find new ways to tackle issues caused by its “essential” freight movements, was the message from deputy mayor of London for transport Val Shawcross as she opened the Freight in the City Expo at Alexandra Palace this morning.

Speaking at her first freight industry event in her role, Shawcross told delegates that while the mayor’s office recognised that some of its new policies would be challenging for operators, “we all need to do things differently in order to cope with the growing demands of the roads, and to continue to ensure London gets the clean and safe deliveries that it needs”.

Shawcross outlined plans to move more freight by rail and river, and said she wanted to speak to operators about retiming deliveries to outside of peak hours where possible, as well as working with the industry to achieve more consolidation of freight in London.

She also highlighted air pollution as one of the mayor’s “biggest challenges” and priorities, and that air quality “isn’t just a London problem. It is a national problem”.

Shawcross said that 79% of Londoners had supported mayor Sadiq Khan’s move to bring forward the beginning of London’s ULEZ, and that 71% supported the decision to increase the size of the zone to cover all of Greater London.

Shawcross added: “I want to make it really clear we understand that freight is absolutely, absolutely central to sustaining London’s global competitiveness.

“Part of my job has got to be working out how we can ensure that freight is embedded in how we think about London’s growth into the future, and how we do it in a modern way.

“I look forward to working with the industry in the years ahead to ensure deliveries are made in the most efficient way, in the safest and cleanest vehicles.”