Check out the latest speakers signed up to Freight in the City Birmingham on 1 March

More than 300 visitors have now registered to attend Freight in the City Spring Summit ‘Improving the last mile’ on 1 March in Birmingham.

The seminar programme is now confirmed with a strong line-up of speakers bringing together city officials and the logistics sector to promote sustainable urban freight movements.

Latest speakers joining the programme include RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding, presenting brand-new research investigating whether the surge in van traffic is the result of the online-shopping boom.

The research asks whether e-commerce is adding to congestion or actually reducing it as people do their buying from the comfort of their sofas rather than driving to the store?

Carrier Transicold’s Scott Dargan will examine the legislative changes related to the urban distribution of perishable produce and how transport refrigeration system manufacturers are rising to this challenge.

This will include insight into some of the latest and next-generation technologies which will help to minimise environmental impact, including the use of refrigerants with a lower global warming potential, alternative-fuel-powered refrigeration systems and engineless solutions.

You’ll also hear from Transport Systems Catapult about the importance of keeping pace with the latest data and technology developments bringing more efficiency to urban logistics.

“When we speak of the future innovations in freight logistics for urban areas, we mean the next few months rather than years; change is happening now, today,” said Andrew Traill, principal technologist, Transport Systems Catapult.

“If we want to prosper economically and if we want to resolve the challenges of urban growth and development, we have to embrace this change; and not just embrace and follow but, where we have expertise, we should also lead the way.”

Freight in the City Spring Summit is an ideal opportunity to network with your peers and make important new business connections, so why not take a look through the variety of organisations already registered to take part.

There will also be an exhibition of the latest equipment and services to make your city logistics operation run smoothly, as well as a small outdoor urban vehicle display area.

The event takes place on 1 March at Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham. Make sure you reserve your free place to attend today!

Electric-powered cycle or foot trailer to be trialled for last-mile deliveries

Trials are to take place of a new electric-powered trailer that will enable cycle or foot couriers to deliver large quantities of parcels in urban areas.

Technology being deployed on the trailer is termed ‘net neutral’, so the weight of the trailer is not felt by the handler, allowing for increased volumes of last-mile deliveries by foot or cycling.

The project team said use of such trailers would decrease van usage in urban areas, thereby reducing both emissions and congestion.

It could also lead to increased parcel drop rates and more flexibility in delivery routes.

Six trailers can be dropped into a busy city centre by a single van, allowing the trailer system to cover a large urban area.

The trailer is to be developed through the Low Impact City Logistics project, which is part of a £10m research investment by Innovate UK for collaborative R&D to improve end-to-end people and freight journeys.

A consortium led by development consultancy Fernhay, will partner with tech firm Skotkonung and the University of Huddersfield to develop the prototype, which will be tested in Cambridge by cycle logistics operator Outspoken Delivery.

Robin Haycock, director of Fernhay, said: “Delivering increasing volumes of parcels to people in dense urban environments, whilst minimising the environmental effects and saving money, is the solution that we hope to deliver with our trailer system.”

Rob King, MD at Outspoken Delivery, added: “We have over 10 years experience in cycle-based delivery and have seen huge leaps in innovation in the last few years which has contributed to cycle-based delivery being seen as a demonstrable solution to the environmental problems associated with deliveries in urban areas.”

Following successful operation of the prototype, live trials will be carried out by UPS this spring in London’s Mayfair, one of the densest delivery areas in the capital.

Peter Harris, UPS director of sustainability EMEA, said: “UPS has always prided itself on its market-leading sustainability schemes, and the Low Impact City Logistics project is no different. The UK is one of UPS’s leading markets in terms of environmental initiatives, and is a natural fit for the trial of this exciting venture.”

  • UPS director of sustainability, EMEA, Peter Harris and Outspoken Delivery will both be speaking at ‘Freight in the City Spring Summit: Improving the last mile’ on 1 March in Birmingham. Register now for your free place to attend.

UK cities face food and drink “logistics crisis”

London and other major UK cities face a looming food and drink “logistics crisis” unless operators and planning authorities take steps to address the problems facing the delivery sector, according to a new report commissioned by the UK Warehousing Association (UKWA).

‘Feeding London 2030’ warns that, if not addressed now, the issues raised could even lead to a shortage of essential food supplies on the shelves of grocery retailers and at other food outlets.

UKWA chief executive Peter Ward said: “What we have today is not sustainable. The last time bread disappeared from the shelves was during the tanker drivers’ strike [in 2000] and then we were not far from anarchy.”

London in particular is facing significant population growth, from its present 9 million to a predicted 11 million by 2050, putting increasing pressure on the logistics industry to deliver essential supplies.

“Things are becoming stretched across London’s food and drink supply chains and current logistics thinking is no longer fit for purpose,” warned Andrew Morgan, a director of research firm Global 78 and the report’s lead author.

“Supplying food and drink that is both safe and delivered on time to London’s retail and food service outlets at an appropriate cost will become increasingly difficult unless steps are taken to address the issues highlighted in the report. At the moment we are managing, but it is difficult to see how it can carry on – especially if we are to meet the mayor’s policies on congestion and air quality.”

  • ‘Feeding London 2030’ is available from UKWA price £790 for non-UKWA members and £395 for members.

Geodis UK extends out-of-hours delivery service to cities in south of England

Geodis UK has introduced out-of-hours deliveries to 33 more city centre stores in the south of England, following success of a similar operation in Scotland.

The company first began night-time deliveries early 2016 for a large fashion retailer customer with stores in Stirling, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen.

It rolled out the operation in the UK by drawing on the experience of its French parent company, which already runs an established out-of-hours service across France to meet the needs of  retailers in city centres.

The extension of the service in the South sees night-time deliveries being extended from stores stretching from London to Devon.

Kevin Huskie, sales director at Geodis UK said night-time deliveries offer many advantages to retailers in city centres as they are efficient, quicker, alleviate congestion and frees up store staff to concentrate on customers during the daytime.

“Our drivers deliver direct onto the shop floor so when staff arrive to start the day there’s no mess, no fuss and no distractions later on from day-time deliveries, “ he said.

“The benefits of in-night delivery are clear and we anticipate that many more retailers will switch their operations over to it.”

Geodis said out-of-hours deliveries require careful planning to ensure the goods are safely in the customers’ stores before 7am, so effective route planning and prioritisation are crucial.

In advance of any deliveries, the company liaises with security and store staff in order to make sure its two-person delivery crews know exactly how to enter the building and where to leave the stock.

Crews can unload pallets and remove packaging, leaving goods ready to put out on the shop floor.

Night-time delivery crews can also collect returns, an important factor in fast-moving retail sectors such as fashion.

Pictured: The Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent is one of the new destinations in the south for the Geodis in-night delivery service.

Registration open for Freight in the City Birmingham on 1 March

Registrations have now opened for the ‘Freight in the City Spring Summit: Improving the last mile’ on 1 March at Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham.

This free-to-attend summit will focus on the need to think differently about how cities, businesses and operators approach last-mile deliveries to reduce freight’s impact on urban areas.

You’ll hear from major cities such as Birmingham, Manchester and Southampton about the challenges they’ve faced to mitigate the impact of essential goods deliveries to businesses and residents in urban areas.

These include mandated clean air zones that need to be in place by 2020, as well as a need to reduce conflict between goods vehicles and vulnerable users, and finding ways to tackle congestion on key routes into and around cities.

Leading researcher Laetitia Dablanc will share urban logistics best practice across Europe, complemented by seminars from major operators such as UPS and Meachers Global Logistics on their work to make inner city deliveries more sustainable.

Delegates will also take a look at some of the latest technology and delivery methods emerging to the marketplace, as well as the potential of modal switch to water, rail or bicycle for relieving pressure on the roads network.

There will also be the opportunity to ask questions via a lively panel debate on the challenge of persuading consumers to accept more sustainable methods of receiving their online purchases.

“This really is a must-attend event for local authorities, businesses and freight operators to learn from their peers about more sustainable ways to handle last-mile deliveries, demonstrating how cities and industry have worked collaboratively to ensure freight journeys are cleaner, safer and quieter,” said Hayley Pink, Freight in the City editor.

The spring summit is supported by the Urban Transport Group (UTG) and Transport for West Midlands.

Jonathan Bray, UTG director, said: “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.”

  • Reserve your place now and browse through the speakers and exhibitors taking part, or to check out the organisations already signed up to attend.

Viewpoint: the potential of rail freight in addressing urban air quality and congestion

Philippa Edmunds, manager at Freight on Rail, Campaign for Better Transport and vice-president at Transport & Environment, Brussels, tells Freight in the City why rail should play an integral role in bringing goods into the UK’s urban conurbations.

Changes in urban logistics policy as a result of air pollution violations, road congestion, the growing awareness of cycling safety as well as devolution, favour rail.  philippaedmundsfreightonrail


Because rail offers the safer, more sustainable long-distance trunk haulage element of the journey between conurbations and ports, which reduces road congestion.

Consumer goods can then be transhipped into low-emission vehicles, as long as consolidation centres and terminals are rail connected.

Already, a quarter of containers imported into England are transported long distance by rail with constant demand for more services from shippers.

Rail currently brings in 40% of London’s aggregates and could bring in more construction materials if there were more terminals in London, for example; each train can carry enough materials to build 30 houses.

Both Crossrail and the Olympic Committee used rail freight to bring in materials and remove industrial spoil.

Two night-time trials bringing freight trains into Euston showed passenger rail terminals could and should be used to bring in trainloads of freight into the heart of cities at night for onward transportation in low-emission vehicles; each of these consumer trains can remove 77 HGVs.

Why do we need to transfer freight to rail?

Because rail produces 90% less particulates and 15 times less NOX than trucks, which are key contributors to air pollution.

Rail freight additionally produces 76% less CO2 emissions than the equivalent HGV journey.

And rail freight is safer; HGVs have been six times more likely than cars to be involved in fatal collisions on urban roads over the past three years (based on the percentage of miles they represent).

Road and rail complement each other, with rail offering a low-emission, safer alternative to HGVs that helps alleviate road congestion – so each mode should play to their strengths as part of integrated freight policy.

Therefore city and local authorities, such as TfL and Transport for Greater Manchester, need to promote and support rail freight in their transport strategies by safeguarding suitable sites for intermodal terminals so that road/rail transfer stations get planning permission.

Edmunds manages the Freight on Rail campaign, a partnership between the rail freight industry, the transport trade unions and Campaign for Better Transport, working to promote the socio-economic benefits of rail freight to national, devolved and local government as well as European institutions.



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.




New hydraulic refrigeration units promise cleaner, quieter city deliveries

A Swedish range of hydraulically driven refrigeration units for trucks are now on sale in the UK.

The new Hulsteins units are claimed to drive down emissions, noise and operational costs for urban deliveries. (Pictured main image at Freight in the City Expo 2016 fitted to a new Volvo FE CNG)

They run via a hydraulic pump directly from the truck engine and claim to provide constant, even, cooling power regardless of whether the truck is on tick-over or full revs.

Units have the same output power as traditional diesel alternatives, yet are more environmentally friendly and economical to run, according to the Swedish manufacturer.

The company said the hydraulic units can reduce C02 by more than 98%, reduce fuel by 62%, service costs by 50% and are PIEK approved for quiet city deliveries.

Their flat-fronted design, mounted externally on the frontwall between the driver’s cab and truck body, is also said to help with height restrictions and improve aerodynamic options.

“The best thing is they do not cost the earth and have a better ROI than a diesel units over five years,” added Simon Wood, UK sales and operations manager at Hulsteins.

“We have been very successful in Sweden and across Europe, but we are new to the UK. I have spent the last few months on the road talking with end users, body builders and truck manufacturers trying to raise the awareness and try and get some of our units in operation,” he added.

hulsteins---scaniaThe company is offering packages to end users on new builds that will be fitted free of charge for a six-month trial. After that period, if the operator is happy, they will pay for the unit and keep it.

Wood said he is currently in talks with some large UK supermarkets and operators over the trials, and is keen to hear from other UK operators interested in running the hydraulic units.

Hulsteins has also been working with truck OEMs on projects in Sweden (pictured on a Scania hybrid, left) aiming to achieve significant reductions in fuel usage, emissions and CO2, as well as to enable more out-of-hours deliveries through quieter equipment.

The hydraulic refrigeration units have been manufactured and operated across Sweden for more than 40 years.



New trials aim to boost use of electric delivery vehicles for chilled goods

Government-funded trials aiming to be “a game-changer” in the ability to use all-electric vans and trucks for chilled goods home deliveries are underway.

Using EVs for chilled goods can be challenging, due to the need for the battery to power both the vehicle and the fridge unit: either a bigger battery pack is needed, which compromises payload, or range is lost when using a standard-sized battery.

However, a new combination of technologies is being tested that aims to decouple the power requirements of the fridge unit and the drive train.

The first trial will see operator Iceland Foods operating a modified Paneltex all-electric truck on a 5.5-tonne Isuzu chassis (pictured). It will be fitted with Sunamp’s cold storage technology, with Route Monkey providing EV optimisation algorithms.

Project leader Sunamp will invert its Heat Batteries to create a new cold storage technology that can maintain the required ambient temperature in the vehicle’s cargo area.

The company claimed the system has a better power to weight ratio and is more efficient than using Li-Ion batteries, helping to increase the vehicle’s payload capabilities by reducing the size of the traction battery pack.

This trial builds on Sunamp’s R&D under previous Innovate UK funding of Heat Batteries, for heating and air conditioning in electric cars and buses, which it said showed “huge benefits” in extending the useful range of these EVs at low cost.

Route Monkey’s software will be used to optimises EV range by calculating factors such as route topography and scheduling deliveries of heavier loads at the beginning of the day. It will also plan the demo vehicle’s deliveries in accordance with Iceland’s two-hour customer time windows.

For this trial, Route Monkey’s optimisation of the demonstrator will include the capabilities to react to traffic congestion, factor in weather conditions, and – in case of emergency – schedule a top-up charge of the batteries and cold storage Heat Batteries at the nearest available charging point.

Andrew Bissell, CEO of Sunamp said: “The partnership’s combined technology has the potential to be a genuine game-changer. If it proves as successful as we expect, it will have far-reaching applications in refrigerated vehicles and beyond.”

The Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership will co-ordinate dissemination of the results.

The project is part of a £38m initiative funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and Innovate UK.

More fleets are encouraged to take part in the trials and should email

Joloda to demonstrate Vanloda system at Freight in the City Expo

Joloda International will be demonstrating the benefits of its Vanloda system for urban deliveries at next month’s Freight in the City Expo.

It is a full-length roller bed for vans, which is portable and installed by a driver in five minutes without the use of any specialist tools or experience.

Suitable for medium and long-wheelbased transporter vans, Joloda said the system enables the safe and easy loading and unloading of three or four pallets up to 1,000kg.

The roller bed is powered by a 12v low-current compressor, fitted internally within the roller bed dimensions and connected via the cigarette lighter socket of the van.

Joloda said Vanloda is ideal for city deliveries of palletised goods in paper, print, parcels, office equipment and food and drinks sectors.

Vanloda will be fitted to a VW Transporter van at Freight in the City Expo on 2 November at London’s Alexandra Palace. Book your free place today!