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Online expressions of interest are flooding in daily from representatives at local authorities, freight operators, retailers and academic institutions looking to attend the one-day exhibition and seminar programme at London’s Alexandra Palace on 27 October.

A top line-up of vehicle manufacturers including Mercedes-Benz, Daf, Volvo, IsuzuIveco and Dennis Eagle will be showcasing their latest urban vehicle designs, while equipment makers such as Brigade Electronics, Tachodisc and Route Monkey will demonstrate how to enhance existing fleet operations.

Seminars will focus on highlighting best practice examples of getting goods into city centres in a clean, quiet and safe manner, with an impressive line-up of industry experts and academic leaders on hand to highlight successful initiatives taking place across Europe.

The expo is organised by Motor Transport publisher Road Transport Media, which last year hosted the successful Quiet Cities Global Summit at Twickenham Stadium.

Andy Salter, MD at Road Transport Media, said: “For all those involved in this sector, whether as a policy maker, consignor or commercial vehicle operator, it is essential everyone is aware of the implications and future requirements for urban logistics. Freight in the City is a forum to bring all the key stakeholders together to share ideas, information and solutions.”

Local authorities’ collaboration with freight partnership promotes sustainable urban deliveries in the North East

Interview: Freight in the City met with the North East Freight Partnership to find out how its role is helping its regional cities adopt more sustainable working practices for the essential movement of goods.

The North East Freight Partnership works with local government, businesses and operators to encourage sustainable movement of goods throughout the region.

Now in its 11th year, the partnership represents freight interests across seven local authorities: Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland.

FreightintheCity spoke to Paul Davison (pictured), principal consultant for sustainable freight and logistics at Aecom, which operates the scheme on behalf of the North East Combined Authority, about its achievements to date and future goals.

“We usuallyPaul-Davison---Aecom aim to undertake around 10 to 12 initiatives each year that encourage the sustainable movement of freight in the North East of England,” he says. “The whole partnership is geared towards efficiency and effectiveness of moving goods.”

Cycling Ambition

Newcastle, like other major cities, is preparing itself for a rapid increase in the number of bicycles on its roads. It is one of the government’s Cycle Action Cities, and following an initial £5.7m from the Cycle City Ambition Fund has been allocated a further £10.6m in government funding to improve its infrastructure to support the rise in cyclist numbers.

While fatalities involving HGVs and cyclists in the North East are still comparatively rare compared with London, the partnership is keen to address the challenge of shared road space before it becomes an issue.

Free-of-charge vulnerable road user training courses have been made available for operators, which comprise part-classroom and part on-road bike riding for HGV drivers to raise awareness of the difficulties cyclists face navigating busy roads and junctions.

In addition, the partnership is keeping a close watch on the impact any infrastructure changes will have on freight deliveries, such as the introduction of red routes on key roads into the city, with segregation where feasible for cyclists.

“There are changes taking place, but we don’t yet know what the implications will be for loading/unloading and access to the city generally. But the partnership is the perfect vehicle to address any issues if they do arise,” says Davison.

“Any loading and unloading challenges would be most pronounced in Sunderland and Newcastle city centres. But we haven’t got a sense yet that there is an issue. We’re keeping an eye on it.”

The partnership has already taken part in consultations with the engineers carrying out the infrastructure works to listen to the needs of freight deliveries.

Adopting Fors

When Transport for London announced it would be placing the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (Fors) into private management to drive its reach outside of London and across the UK, the North East had a head start with adopting the initiative.

“The North East was a vanguard for the national expansion of Fors,” explains Davison.

Following an exercise back in 2012 looking at the different types of accreditation scheme available for the freight sector, the partnership opted for Fors and began to promote its benefits to local authorities and major contractors across the region.

“We have seen membership rise significantly since then, despite the fact we are not a logistics hub on the scale of somewhere like the East Midlands or London. With the support of the partnership, we’ve been able to encourage uptake,” Davison explains.

Discussions have already taken place with all the local authorities about writing the Fors standards into their contracts. “This is an aspiration we wish to address with authority procurement teams.”

Fors Practitioner workshops are available free of charge through the partnership, with advice and guidance available to help operators achieve bronze entry level standards.

In terms of the fee structure introduced earlier this year, Davison says there has not been a drop-off in membership levels so far, but a clearer picture will be painted at the end of the first full year of charging.

The Construction Logistics & Cyclist Safety (Clocs) scheme is also starting to gain ground in the North East, as construction firms sign up to its standards, which align closely with the silver Fors accreditation level.

“The aspiration is that it is industry-led and we support Clocs in the same way we support Fors,” adds Davison.

Cleaner deliveries

Encouraging the take-up of low-emission goods vehicles and cleaner fuels is another aspiration for the partnership, although the lack of vehicle choice and higher upfront costs have so far not seen much penetration in the North East’s freight sector.

However, with the North East Combined Authority shortlisted to bid for a share of the government’s Ultra Low City Scheme fund, encouraging the shift to low-emission vehicles is certainly a significant priority for the region.

“As technology gets more trusted and certain, we will be exploring more alternative fuels across the partnership,” says Davison. “We’ve also supported the government’s longer semi-trailer trial. We researched into it for members and looked at the impact/benefits.”

Last-mile alternatives

One successful scheme the partnership managed was the use of cycle logistics for last-mile deliveries in Newcastle city centre, as a trial for possible wider roll-out across the region. This looked at the possibilities of cycle cargo carriers, rather than purely cycle couriers. “Very much the movement of goods rather than just parcels and letters,” explains Davison.

“If they have electric-assist on the bikes and they are geared a certain way, they can carry quite a substantial load of around a quarter of a tonne, which is usually enough for most city centre movements. It obviously won’t replace an HGV but where the air quality is at its worst is in the city centres, using more zero-emission cargo bikes over vans would certainly help,” he adds.

Last November, a workshop was held to inform businesses looking to use cycle logistics of their options and how to go about launching such an operation. A local bakery wanted to take the notion for a ride, and with the help of the partnership, procured the equipment that is now being successfully operated in Newcastle.

Consolidation is another idea popular with local authorities, however, the reality of a trial retail scheme carried out at Eldon Square in Newcastle city centre three years ago found little appetite from operators wanting to use the facility.

“The city just doesn’t have the same issues in terms of congestion that you see in London, so operators didn’t see the benefits of using it.”

It was closed within 12 months, and has discouraged further discussion on consolidation in city centres, he adds. However, if a low-emission zone or congestion charging were introduced, it might be looked at again. There is a commitment to an LEZ in the recently adopted Core Strategy and Urban Core Plan for Gateshead and Newcastle and the concept will be revisited during the lifetime of the plan.

Looking ahead

Current initiatives in the North East include a wide-scale trial of different types of cycle safety technology, including side proximity sensors and RFID tagging, which will be tested until April next year and include liaising with operators and cycling groups alike.

“It will enable us to help operators and see what type of technology is out there, what the impact has been on driver behaviour and the perception of cyclist,” adds Davison.

The partnership is also looking to work with researchers at Newcastle University on a piece of technology attached to a vehicle that enables it to take a priority route by co-ordinating with urban traffic management systems, for example, to control traffic lights. It has so far been tested on non-emergency vehicles, but will now be used on freight vehicles during the trial.

“It will be interesting to see what impact it has on the supply chain during the trial period,” says Davison. “Also the unit will tell you how long before a light turns green, for example, so you can manage acceleration and braking more efficiently to reduce fuel.”

Future plans for a brand-new truck park on the A1 are also afoot, with talks taking place with operators to find the optimum location. “We’ve had a few closures of sites recently and there have been some indiscriminate parking causing issues,” Davison explains.

Any such scheme is likely to need public funding to get underway, with a longer-term view for it to be self-funding.


Clean Air Better Business helps organisations slash emissions and save costs through freight management

Clean Air Better Business (CABB) has launched a practical toolkit to enable local authorities, businesses and freight operators to understand what measures they can take to reduce emissions from their freight activities in the capital.

Organisations are encouraged to assess and improve their impact on London’s air quality and develop their own delivery and servicing plans, which can reduce HGV movements, realise financial savings through consolidation of orders, and enhance road safety and air quality for all city users.

Access to a zero and low-emission supplier directory, free eco-driver training and information about existing schemes to slash emissions and improve supply chain efficiency are provided in the toolkits, alongside advice on how to incorporate actions into procurement policies.

Case studies highlight successful initiatives already explored through the CABB programme and the benefits gained. For example:

  • The Bloomsbury, Holborn and St Giles Business Improvement District consolidated its waste collection service for 200 businesses with a hybrid vehicle. This reduced waste collection trips by 60%, or 84,000 vehicle road km;
  • A joint procurement deal between the Natural History Museum and Science Museum for cleaning and waste services has slashed costs and reduced the number of vehicles coming to the site.
  • James McNaughton opted for an electric delivery vehicle to replace its existing diesel one, which resulted in estimated savings of £5,000 in fuel and 14 tonnes of CO2 per year.

CABB is a project run by the Cross River Partnership (CRP) – a public-private partnership that was originally formed to deliver cross-river infrastructure projects such as the Millennium Bridge, but has since diversified to deliver a range of externally-funded, multi-partner regeneration projects in the capital.

For further information contact CRP air quality champion: Uto Patrick

UPS urban delivery projects address congestion and air quality in cities

UPS is undertaking a series of delivery projects in major cities worldwide to tackle the congestion, air quality and logistical challenges associated with the increase of people moving to urban areas.

The global parcel firm’s latest corporate sustainability report said that today, half of the world’s population resides in urban areas, but by 2050, two-thirds of all people will make cities their home.

It added: “The result is overwhelming congestion, local air pollution, and demand for goods, creating logistical challenges that will need both economically feasible and environmentally sustainable solutions.”

UPS said it is already working with its customers, governments and local city planners to develop plans for intelligent transportation systems and pushing for smart mobility and more agile city infrastructures.

For example in London, which already operates both a congestion charge and low-emission zone in the city centre, UPS is working with the EU’s Freight Electric Vehicles in Urban Europe (FREVUE) project to transform its delivery network.

Part of this initiative has seen the parcel firms converting certain delivery trucks from diesel to electric power to eliminate tailpipe emissions. UPS is currently operating 28 electric vehicles in the capital, with 40 more planned in the next few years as it works towards its goal of running an all-electric fleet in London.

UPS also operates electric vehicles in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Hamburg.

In addition, the company will look to expand its UPS Access Point locations to drive down the need for individual home deliveries. These are central pick-up and drop-off points for parcels located at shops and petrol stations.

Final-mile consolidated deliveries are also a key focus for UPS as it looks to drive down vehicle miles. UPS said collaborating with local authorities and advocating standardised regulations among cities is essential to enable delivery firms to “innovate in the most efficient manner possible”.

The operator is working with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s (WBCSD) Zero Emissions Cities project to promote global action to create low-carbon cities. It is also exploring the use of an electrically assisted tricycle called a Cargo Cruiser, which addresses both air quality and congestion concerns. It is designed to travel in and around pedestrian areas of a city by operating from a container that is brought into the centre once daily. The Cargo Cruiser concept has been tested in Hamburg, Germany (pictured) since 2013 and UPS hopes to expand this initiative to other cities by the end of 2015.


CIVITAS urban transport projects focus on clean fuels, reducing impact of freight and tackling city congestion

A series of sustainable urban transport studies will take place as part of the latest phase of the EU co-funded CIVITAS initiative.

CIVITAS – which takes its name from city, vitality and sustainability – was launched in 2002 to help shape transport measures and policies and create cleaner, more efficient transport in cities.

It has helped introduce measures to make urban transport more eco-friendly in more than 60 European metropolitan areas, dubbed ‘demonstration cities’.

Examples include a new traffic control system in Bologna, Italy and a waterborne goods operation in Bremen, Germany.

The EC has now called on CIVITAS to carry out projects in three key areas: transforming the use of conventionally fuelled vehicles in urban areas; reducing the impacts and costs of urban freight; and tackling city congestion.

Around 40 million euros in co-funding has now been granted for 10 chosen projects, with four focusing directly on the urban freight sector. They are:

  • CITYLAB: will support cities and private companies developing new services and business models for improved sustainability and profitability of their logistic activities.
  • NOVELOG: will enable city logistics policy formulation and decision-making as part of the city’s sustainable urban mobility planning, and support implementation and adoption of appropriate measures.
  • SUCCESS: will improve knowledge and understanding of freight distribution and service trips for the construction sector and demonstrate impacts in terms of transport and environmental efficiency.
  • U-TURN: will identify opportunities for collaboration and innovative logistics sharing strategies and showcase their impact and results.

Further details about each scheme are expected to be announced shortly.

The latest phase of the CIVITAS initiative is scheduled to run until 2016, and more cities are encouraged to collaborate with their European counterparts by taking part in the scheme.

Birmingham City is the latest UK member to sign-up, joining 17 other UK local authorities and organisations already on-board with the scheme.

For more information about the projects or how to join the UK network, contact or call 01543 416416.


Industry experts and top academics to speak at Freight in the City Expo

Industry experts and top academics heading up successful urban logistics projects from across Europe will be speaking at the inaugural Freight in the City Expo this autumn.

Driving down harmful emissions will be the focus of seminars in the ‘Clean’ arena, asking how far national governments and local authorities have to go to achieve acceptable levels of air quality. Speakers will explore viable alternative fuels for commercial vehicles, whether low-emission zones can be an affective tool, and how you can improve your CSR rating and prove its credentials with the correct practices.

Delegates interested in making freight deliveries safer in their city centres for all road users can find out which equipment really works on their fleets, how to ensure your vehicles and drivers are fully compliant with the latest regulations, such as London’s Safer Lorry Scheme, and learn how town design and infrastructure can improve shared road space.

Finally, those visitors attending the ‘Quiet & Efficient’ seminars will hear experts exploring what the cities of the future will expect from urban freight movements and how they will cope with increasing demand for home deliveries and the growing convenience store trend. Consolidation, last-mile deliveries by low-emission vehicles and out-of-hours operations are likely to increase, but find out which one will work best for your city.

The Freight in the City Expo takes place on 27 October at London’s Alexandra Palace. Register now to receive updates and the latest urban freight news.

Viewpoint: InPost UK’s Ian Caminsky on how locker boxes can reduce number of parcel deliveries in towns

Ian Caminsky, CEO of InPost UK, explains why he believes automated, click and collect locker boxes could be an effective way to reduce the amount of delivery vehicles in city centres as the online sales sector continues to expand.

“The fast-growing trend towards online flash sales such as Amazon’s Prime Day is clearly good news for consumers from a price perspective, in this case promising larger discounts than Black Friday. However, this increase in online sales and orders as a result of the surge in demand has in the past presented a series of logistical challenges for carriers.

“One obvious solution to this problem is for retailers to offer shoppers a full range of delivery and click and collect options. Rather than couriers having to deliver to a number of home addresses, emerging delivery solutions such as automated click and collect lockers help to make the delivery experience overall more convenient by providing one parcel drop-off point rather than several.

“Fewer drop-off points can make a big difference as they allow couriers to be more time, fuel and cost-efficient while shoppers get their hands on their purchases at a time to suit them. Retailers also benefit from helping to reduce delivery chain pressures and from minimising the impact on customer services and reputation more generally when packages are not delivered as promised.

“The retail industry has an opportunity to adopt solutions that help make services easier and more efficient for both consumers and courier services, particularly during peak delivery times. In doing so, couriers, retailers and consumers alike can benefit from a more reliable and convenient delivery experience, ensuring that consumers not only receive great discounts on days such as Amazon’s Prime Day but also receive their packages quickly and at their own convenience.”

  • InPost was founded in 2006, by Rafal Brzoska in Poland and has become one of Europe’s largest private postal operators.Its UK operation launched in early 2013 and now comprises more than 1,000 lockers nationwide offering 24/7 automated access at locations such as supermarkets, train stations, Transport for London sites and outside retailers’ stores.

Low-Emission Commercial Vehicle plan to stimulate uptake of greener fleets in London

Transport for London (TfL) yesterday (22 July) announced a series of measures for freight operators, businesses, manufactuers and local authorities to boost uptake of low-emission goods vehicles in the capital.

In its Ultra Low Emission Vehicle Delivery Plan, TfL said it aimed to overcome the challenges and explore opportunities for stimulating greener technology and refuelling infrastructure in the commercial vehicle sector.

A Low-Emission Commercial Vehicle Programme would be launched this summer to co-ordinate these actions.

TfL noted that there was an enormous variation in the types of vehicle in this market, ranging from those with large depot-based fleets, through to sole traders with vehicles also used as private vehicles.

There were also issues with the vehicles themselves, with the additional weight from batteries impacting on the available payload and the higher up-front costs for van operators.

However, as commercial vehicle investment decisions are made on whole-life costs, TfL believed ULEVs could be attractive to fleet managers and business owners responsible for reducing fuel costs.

TfL said it would look to build on the relationships with the freight industry it had already established through the Construction Logistics and Cyclist Safety programme and the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme to help operators and receivers of goods minimise the impact of their deliveries on air quality.

It planned to lead by example by including environmental standards within its procurement requirements; inform and support fleet operators, boroughs, vehicle manufacturers and cleaner fuel suppliers to increase availability and uptake of low-emission CVs and their fuel needs; and prepare the frieght sector fot the launch of the Ultra Low Emission Zone in 2020.

Local boroughs should look to use local policy measures such as priority loading and micro-consolidation that uses ULEVs for last-mile deliveries to incentivise uptake among businesses and freight operators, as well as requiring their own suppliers’ vehicle to meet environmental standards.

Industry was urged to invest on the development of cost-competitive commercial ULEVs, while the government was called on to review the regulations on payload to help solve the issue of battery load taking payload over 3.5 tonnes in some instances.



UK cities can adopt viable last-mile delivery schemes for no cost by tapping into existing research

A series of last-mile logistics schemes trialled successfully across north-west Europe can be shared and rolled out across UK cities with little or no adaption cost, according to researchers.

The LaMiLo project – which stands for last-mile logistics – was launched as a means to boost efficiency in the final leg of a freight journey into city centres.

It wanted to find feasible options for reducing the amount of individual, small deliveries made in separate vehicles into city centres – a result of the increase in e-commerce that has seen many logistics firms extend their supply chains down to the end user. This has led to additional vehicles on the roads, more congestion, air and noise pollution, as well as proving inefficient when customers are not at home.

“LaMiLo wants to show new possibilities for city logistics over the last mile by understanding and influencing the actions of all those involved – those of private companies, the public sector and customers,” says PTV project manager Philipp Lenz.

The first objective was to isolate the challenges and the barriers that have hindered the adoption of a common course of action in city logistics until now, he added.

In the process, it became clear how important it is for the public sector to address the problems in urban commercial traffic, working in cooperation with both companies and suppliers. This can be done, for example, by creating unloading zones specially designed for the needs of consolidated deliveries, or by setting up a common platform for all parties involved to promote co-operation and provide a clear overview of costs. Cost transparency alone can help many companies to quickly understand the benefits.

Trials involved in LaMiLo included:

The LaMiLo project now hopes other cities will be able to roll-out similar schemes by using the accumulated knowledge from the trials to apply the last-mile models at little cost.

An awareness of logistics and of the environmental and social impacts of freight transport should become a higher priority for cities, urged researchers, because where local governments lead, others will follow.

The LaMiLo project is an INTERREG IVB North-West Europe project partly financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), in which 13 partners from seven north-west European countries took part. Organisers and researchers from the public and private sectors worked together to make the last mile sustainable and more efficient.



Freight in the City Expo attracts big name exhibitors

The inaugural Freight in the City Expo is already attracting major industry manufacturers looking to demonstrate how fleets can be made, cleaner, safer and more efficient in their urban delivery operations.

Daf, Volvo, Isuzu and Iveco will be bringing along their latest urban delivery vehicles for visitors to explore, while technology giants such as Brigade, Tachodisc, Fuel Defend, Backwatch and Exeros will show you how to improve efficiency of your existing vehicles.

Representatives from the Eco Stars scheme will also be on hand to provide guidance to fleet operators on ways to drive down carbon emissions and make efficiency gains in fuel usage.

With more exhibitors signing up every day to take part in the expo, make sure you register today on to receive regular urban logistics news and event updates as they happen.

The Freight in the City Expo will be held on 27 October at London’s Alexandra Palace and comprise an exhibition and demonstration zone, alongside a comprehensive programme of seminars, panel debates and roundtables with industry experts.