UPS: The big data revolution will drive logistics efficiency

Rapid advancements in data capability will be a core driver of innovation across the urban logistics sector, delegates to Freight in the City Spring Summit heard yesterday.

“If there’s one thing that’s really driving the opportunity for our industry to march forward in terms of its efficiency capabilities today, it’s the big data revolution,” said Peter Harris, director of sustainability for Europe at UPS.

“The opportunity for technology to enable us to crunch data in a way that wasn’t available just a few years ago,” Harris added.

UPS has been using its Orion (On-Road Integrated Optimisation and Navigation) system since 2014 across its US operation to analyse delivery drivers’ daily multi-stops and optimise the best route to take.

The system has enabled the parcel operator to reduce each driver’s average distance by seven miles per day.

Across the whole of the US driver-force, this has reduced annual journeys by 100 million miles, slashed 100,000 metric tonnes of CO2, and saved 10 million gallons of fuel.

Rolling laboratory

UPS has also been using its scale to enable it to take the lead in trialling the latest vehicle technology and fuels on the market.

Its “rolling laboratory” of more than 8,000 alternative fuel lorries and vans have now travelled more than one billion miles worldwide.

This has enabled the parcel firm to map the technologies it feels are most suited to each of its operations, focusing on duty-specific application of individual fuels.

Its Alternative Technology Vision is a strategy for each of its urban operations, ranging from city-to-hub feeder routes using biomethane trucks, through to a truck-free future in the densest urban areas.

In these central-most zones, the parcel firm revealed a plan to expand out the successful urban logistics model in place across Hamburg.



Noise app could help freight operators build better relationships with local residents

RH Environmental will be hoping to make some noise – though not too much – when it arrives at the Freight in the City Spring Summit in Birmingham next month.

It will be displaying its Noise App technology, which it hopes hauliers and delivery firms will use to foster better relationships with neighbours and city residents and businesses.

Free to download, the Noise App helps the user record instances of noise nuisance on their phone, record a diary of recordings to prove long-term effects and allow the user to report the incidents to local authorities or enforcement agencies.

“The app is transforming how noise problems can be reported and resolved,” said Michael Fennessy, sales & support at RH Environmental. “By cutting the significant costs associated with following up noise complaints, it is being widely adopted in the UK.

He added: “For businesses operating in noise-sensitive inner city environments, the app improves community engagement and helps resolve complaints quickly and efficiently.

“Because it is hassle free, with no expensive or specialist equipment needed, it is popular with residents and the professionals investigating noise problems.”

Since it was launched in 2015, the app has processed more than 50,000 noise reports and is used by 100-plus organisations including police forces, councils, housing associations and construction companies.

“We’ve designed the app using an intelligent case management facility enabling our clients to deploy it easily to filter genuine cases and maintain contact with local residents quickly and efficiently through a secure infrastructure,” said Fennessy.

“By using the app around noise-sensitive sites, businesses and stakeholders can be assured that noise is being reported reliably and that genuine cases are picked up.”

There are no road haulage or freight customers as yet, but Fennessy is confident that will soon change.

“The idea around us being at the Spring Summit is to potentially get delivery companies to take on the app as a direct line to their surrounding resident,” he said.

“So instead of residents complaining straight to the local authorities and having to engage in large investigations, residents can complain directly to the delivery companies and they can offer simpler solutions and police their own noise nuisances.”

Find out more by coming along to the Freight in the City Spring Summit held on 1 March at Edgbaston Stadium. Make sure to reserve your free place today!

By David Craik

Mercedes-Benz all-electric heavy-duty truck will be on city roads this year

The Mercedes-Benz all-electric Urban eTruck is to enter the market this year in small series production following an “outstanding” customer reaction to its debut at IAA in Hannover last year.

Zero-emission, “quiet as a whisper” and with a payload of 12.8 tonnes and a range up to 200km, Mercedes said the Urban eTruck offers an economical, environmentally friendly option for operators.

Stefan Buchner, head of Mercedes-Benz Trucks worldwide, said: “We are currently talking to around 20 potential customers from the disposal, foodstuffs and logistics sectors. With the small series, we are now rapidly taking the next step towards a series product. By 2020 we want to be on the market with the series generation.”

The first few units will go to customers in Germany, followed by additional units elsewhere in Europe.

Mercedes said the aim of the trials was to learn from real-life applications and requirements, coupled with customer feedback, to further optimise the electric truck’s design.

Tests will include use in shift operation, charging times, plus battery and range management.

Buchner added: “When it comes to future technological issues, we have set the standards in the sector, for instance with regard to electric and autonomous driving plus connectivity.

“2017 will now be our year of implementation: step by step we are developing the vehicles and systems to achieve market maturity.”

In order to be able to test the various application possibilities, 18- and 25-tonne models will be equipped with refrigerated, dry box and platform bodies.

Together with a special charger that takes into account the increased demands on a truck, the vehicles will be handed over to the customers to use for a period of 12 months, during which they will be supported by Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ road testing department.

The Urban eTruck is part of a wider electric initiative from Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler Trucks. Its light-duty Fuso eCanter electric truck will be in use in a global small series in 2017: around 150 vehicles will be handed over to selected customers in Europe, Japan and the USA.



Freight operators urged to have their say on London Lorry Control Scheme review

London Councils is calling on freight operators to have their say on the London Lorry Control Scheme review, which it started working on last October.

It has launched a short online survey for freight operators to complete, and will also be running an Operators’ Workshop on Thursday 9 March in central London.

The workshop will allow representatives to discuss the existing London Lorry Control Scheme and the planned review in more detail, and answer any questions operators may have at this stage.

It is free to attend but you must register in advance, with a maximum of two people per company allowed to take part.

The London Lorry Control Scheme review plans to look at routing, signage and hours of operation, as well as enforcement, permissions and exemptions.

London Council also added it planned to take into account technological advancements in HGV design, as well as traffic management and planning techniques.

A steering group, which includes representatives from London Councils, TfL, the Greater London Authority and the London boroughs, is in place to provide a strategic overview of the aims of the review.

Alongside this is a working group, which meets monthly to discuss the current scheme and future options and includes freight trade associations, business federations, residents’ associations and anti-noise campaign groups.

A review of this size has never been conducted during the scheme’s three decades in operation, and the aim is for recommendations to be put to London Councils’ transport and environment committee later this year.



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!

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.

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.




Freight in the City looks at the delivery innovations featured at last week’s expo

Commercial Motor group technical editor Colin Barnett headed to last week’s Freight in the City Expo at Alexandra Palace to check out some of the latest technology on show to facilitate urban deliveries…

There’s nothing like a changing legislative landscape to encourage innovation, and there were plenty of examples of new urban logistics thinking debuting at Freight in the City.

Making its first UK appearance, the full-electric Fuso Canter was represented by a six-tonne E-Cell prototype, along with confirmation that the full production 7.5-tonne version, to be called eCanter, will be available in the UK from Q4 of 2017.
FITC 2016-120
Meanwhile, Daimler says that there now around 75 Canter hybrids on British roads, where operators are reporting fuel savings of around 23% compared with diesel.

Also freshly arrived in the country was Volvo’s fully type-approved CNG-powered FE, with a 320hp Cummins spark ignition engine and Allison transmission.

Volvo acknowledges that the main obstacle to overcome is the limited recharging infrastructure in the UK.

A small but significant change to the Dennis Elite 6 sees it fitted with a longer diff ratio to greatly improve its suitability for general commercial operations.

Dutch company Emoss was on hand with an MAN rigid converted to full electric operation. It reports growing UK interest in fields as diverse as an urban artic, operating as a mobile consolidation hub, to a 7.5-tonner for aircraft toilet emptying.

Essex-based Tevva continues to develop and demonstrate its range-extended electric truck, possibly the most feasible compromise for the current climate. Although the fact that type approval procedures are still not geared to converting new vehicles, the firm will continue to concentrate on retro-fit conversions, with a target of 200 units in the next two years.FITC 2016-129

Lighter newcomers included the Turkish BD full-electric conversion of the Fiat Ducato, the hydrogen fuel cell Renault Kangoo from Arcola Energy, and a fully Clocs compliant Renault Trucks Master panel van.

The big story in the trailer world was the first sight of Cartwright’s Streetwise. This new concept in urban deliveries is loaded via a conventional fixed dock. However, unloading is carried out at street level through central side-loading doors.

Cartwright’s target market is multi-temperature multi-drop deliveries such as town centre convenience stores, fast food outlets and pubs.

The TransDEK Duet Urban also loads, and unloads, through the rear, but through a novel sash door system, which provides good security on the roadside. The trailer, which complies with the stringent Dutch PIEK noise requirements, can carry 29 UK pallets weighing 12-13 tonnes within a 10.6m length.1685

Stoneridge Electronics showed a Swedish Volvo FH equipped with its new camera-based mirror replacement system, MirrorEye. This uses up to six cameras and a range of interior display options to replace traditional mirrors and give a clear view all around the vehicle, even when turning and at night.

The compact system eliminates blind spots and improves fuel economy, and is going through EU type approval as an acceptable alternative to conventional mirrors.

DHL’s Roe: ‘Amazing’ industry response in developing cleaner, safer, quieter delivery vehicles

DHL’s MD of transport Phil Roe has praised the industry’s “amazing” response to working towards achieving safer, cleaner and quieter delivery movements.

Only two years ago, when DHL launched its urban concept truck at the Quiet Cities global summit, Roe said there was little on the market to help operators achieve more sustainable city logistics.

In just two years, this has completely changed he believes, with an array of new vehicles and technology available for operators: DHL itself even manufactures its own electric vehicles for its German post office operation.

Speaking to delegates at last week’s Freight in the City Expo in London about alternative delivery patterns, such as retiming out of peak hours and consolidation models, Roe said there were some “fantastic islands of best practice”.

“But for all those deliveries being retimed, there are thousands of deliveries not being retimed,” he added.

“When I talk to my customers, they are interested, but want the confidence to know the trend will last.”

Adopting a common national standard that defines and recognises an acceptable ‘quiet delivery’ could hold the key, he believes.