DHL Supply Chain’s urban concept truck boosting quiet delivery potential in cities

When DHL Supply Chain launched its urban concept truck at Quiet Cities in November 2014, it was looking to take the first steps in helping to transform industry efforts to make city deliveries cleaner, safer and quieter.

Alongside the work of Clocs for the construction sector, DHL wanted to show the possibilities available for operators in using the right type of vehicle for urban work, with many manufacturers now rising to the challenge of designing safer city trucks.

The CNG-powered 2-axle rigid Scania P280 is designed to reduce emissions in built-up areas, provides higher visibility for the driver through an additional passenger door window in the low-entry cab, and has an array of 360-degree cameras.

It is also suited to handle out-of-hours deliveries thanks to a combination of: nylon components and pneumatic technologies on the roller shutter of 
the Don-Bur Teardrop trailer to reduce noise levels; a Noise Abatement Society (NAS) and PIEK-certified tail-lift run on a motor operating between 60dB(A) and 65dB(A); and a directed, tonal alarm – where the noise outside the hazard zone dissipates quickly – running at 5dB(A).

Demonstrating potential

Since its launch in late 2014, DHL has been using the truck as a demonstration vehicle in customers’ operations across London to show the possibilities available for urban deliveries. DHL now plans to use it across other cities in the UK, with Manchester next on the list.

“What’s been impressive for customers and residents is the quietness of the vehicle, and that it is very low. Safe and quiet is the strapline of the vehicle, and it does what it says on the tin. We’ve had a number of enquiries off the back of it being used in trials,” said Phil Roe, DHL Supply Chain MD Transport UK and Ireland (pictured at Freight in the City Expo 2015phil roe).

He told Freightinthecity that DHL is looking to add more to its fleet on a customer-by-customer basis.

Part of the trial has included working with manufacturers to help drive down the cost of the concept truck and ensure DHL can get a “good economic business case” for the vehicle. Roe said that tackling the cost challenge is important for all operators exploring new technology and vehicle design, and is key to driving wide-scale adoption of such vehicles.

“When we launched the vehicle at Quiet Cities, there were hardly any urban vehicles created to show what was possible,” he said.

“If you go to the Clocs show, and look in trade publications, lots of people are following that lead. Now low cabs, quiet vehicles and alternative fuels are  becoming more prevalent in the wider economy and I’m proud to say we were right at the start of this,” said Roe.

Keep the noise down

He added the concept truck has significantly raised the profile of quiet out-of-hours deliveries, as did the technology and innovation award DHL Supply Chain received last year from the Noise Abatement Society.

Following on from its work on the TfL-led quiet delivery trials during the London 2012 Olympics, DHL continued to develop this side of its operations with customers on an individual basis. “It’s always a case-by-case process for doing out-of-hours deliveries,” said Roe. “It is largely driven by the lack of an accepted quiet standard that would speed up the adoption of out-of-hours deliveries.”

DHL has been working closely with the NAS to help urban businesses understand the benefits for all stakeholders associated with out-of-hours deliveries. For example, the collaboration has seen them visit a large retail store in south London, as well as a retailer located on Charing Cross Road and demonstrate a balanced approach towards considering all parties involved in out-of-hours deliveries.

Roe wants to see the method developed into an accepted standard that could be incorporated into some existing urban schemes to help drive wider adoption of out-of-hours deliveries.

“Businesses would see there is an easier way of doing it. At the moment they see it as quite a long and arduous process. Getting a standard the same as Clocs, a quiet standard that is adopted and accepted in urban areas, is probably the most important part of moving this agenda forward,” he said.

Don’t reinvent the wheel

Devolution of UK cities is a positive move allowing local areas to reflect their individual needs, believes Roe.

However, he urges city councils to not introduce more urban compliance standards for the freight sector, which might result in unintended consequences for operators.

“We’ve got some great standards and schemes out there and we don’t need to reinvent them. If we do, the industry might say ‘hang on a minute, I’m not quite sure which one I should be following’. I think collaboration is the key,” he added.


Martin Brower picks Daf CF Silents for out-of-hours deliveries

Operator Martin Brower has ordered five Daf CF ‘Silent’ rigids to enable out-of-hours urban deliveries for burger chain giant McDonald’s.

The new trucks will be powered by biodiesel made from recycled cooking oil (UCO), which Martin Brower and McDonald’s have been using since 2007 to reduce carbon emissions.

“We are always looking at ways of reducing our environmental impact,” said Tony Winterbottom, general manager operational support at Martin Brower, “and have already completed significant work on reducing both noise and engine emissions”.

He said the Daf CF Silent Mode was chosen as part of the operator’s environmental protection strategy and will now be included on specification for all future truck acquisitions.

Silent Mode is an engine software function that reduces noise levels to less than 72 dB(A) and complies with PIEK-certification requirements on vehicle noise limits to enable quiet out-of-hours deliveries.

Daf was also picked due to its capability on running on biodiesel, the operator said, which runs all of its McDonald’s distribution trucks on UCO.

“Clean engine technology is fundamental to our environmental strategy,” explained Winterbottom. “Our significant reduction in our Co2 emissions is a result of the collaboration between McDonald’s and Martin Brower over several years.”

The five rear-steers will join an all-Daf fleet based at the company’s Hemel Hempstead and Dublin locations, including 117 tractors and 40 rigids, plus 153 trailers.

Four of the new trucks are already in operation out of Hemel Hemstead, with the fifth being prepared for this week’s Clocs progress event at London’s ExCeL on 23 March.


Iveco: ‘make urban emission standards consistent’

Martin Flach, product director at Iveco – manufacturer of the Eurocargo – has called on legislators across Europe to standardise urban emission and safety standards and incentivise OEMs to improve their offerings.

“In legislative terms the next major thing to hit the truck industry will be when we have to start declaring emissions,” said Flach. “How much that will drive the buying cycle remains to be seen. I don’t know of many operators who will buy on an emissions level. I may be wrong. And certainly in the car market this has had a wider effect.”

Speaking just days before Liberal Democrat London mayoral candidate Caroline Pidgeon called for a peak-time ban on HGVs, he said: “There is a certain naivety in people who say they want to ban trucks from London for example, because I would give them three days until they can’t buy a cup of coffee or a sandwich or hospitals run out of oxygen and clearly it would be seen as an over-reaction. What is required is to address the issues and not do a knee-jerk reaction.

“Similar to the debate on Clocs, where London thinks it can go it alone, there is a risk of London, Birmingham and Manchester all doing things differently. So as a manufacturer we would struggle to justify the investment to have a different product for every city. One of the key things is not just to have national requirements, but international requirements,” he insisted.

“Across Europe all sorts of cities have all sorts of problems and if you are going to have low-emission zones in cities, for example, at least let them be consistent. Then as manufacturers we can invest in the technology that will achieve and improve on those requirements.”

The Eurocargo was crowned International Truck of the Year 2016 and Iveco has dubbed it the “truck the city likes” but Flach is not sitting on his laurels and outlined several key areas where trucks of the future could go.

“When we look at the city we have got to focus on several different criteria. Top of the pops at the moment is air quality. Major cities are struggling with air quality that is outside of the reasonable requirement. There is the challenge there to improve air quality,” he said.

The Iveco Eurocargo at the Freight in the City Expo in London, October 2015.
The Iveco Eurocargo at the Freight in the City Expo in London, October 2015.

Flach is also an advocate for out-of-hours deliveries: “Then we have a second challenge in terms of congestion in the city and what to do to effectively reduce the level of congestion during peak hours. The idea of banning trucks during the rush hour is easy to do but it doesn’t actually solve the problem. Then that brings you on to the whole debate of how to reduce the number of vehicles in the city, which means we are looking at things like night-time deliveries. There is a huge opportunity there and let’s not underestimate the challenges around it. But if you use a quiet vehicle – and we have quiet vehicles – all the technology, be it gas; hybrid or electric for the final mile just means that all you need is a quiet driver.

“Fundamentally the idea of doing more night-time deliveries takes congestion out of the city during peak hours. And this improves air quality because driving at night means less congestion, which means the amount of emissions coming out of that vehicle will be less. It is one of the obvious ones, that politically is not easy to do. There has been successful work done in this area and we need to follow that up,” he said, alluding to the late 2007 three-month night-time delivery trial in Wandsworth for Sainsbury’s – which involved rescheduling two early morning deliveries to the south-west London store to 1.30am and 3.30am respectively, using a vehicle with a variety of noise-reducing measures.

Finally, Flach said that the introduction of Euro-6 as the mandatory emission standard for commercial vehicles above 3.5t GVW on 1 January 2014 was already delivering results in urban environments: “If we come back to air quality, all of the evidence seems to show – and it is early days – that Euro-6 in the city environment is delivering what the legislators were looking for. It has had a significant effect reducing emissions in the environment. There were limitations on the test cycles in urban areas as established by the European Union for Euro-5, but Euro-6 has addressed that and is doing what it says on the tin. If we go beyond that natural gas goes beyond Euro-6 in terms of NoX but particularly in terms of NO2.”

Iveco launches New Daily Electric for urban operations

Iveco has launched the New Daily Electric in Italy this week, which features reduced energy use, higher payload and longer battery life.

With an extended range of up to 280km, the manufacturer said its 100% electric, zero-emission van is particularly suited to urban distribution work.

Compared with its predecessor, New Daily Electric sees a reduction in energy consumption due to high-efficiency, low-weight electric auxiliaries, in addition to a 20% increase in battery life. It also features an increased payload capacity of around 100kg.

In addition, the vehicle’s flexible charging modes allow operators to recharge the van in public or private infrastructure, by connecting to a fast-charging station for an average charge time of just two hours.

The vehicle allows the driver to choose between two driving modes: Eco and Power. In Eco mode, the engine torque is moderated to minimise energy consumption, without imposing any limits on the maximum speed of the vehicle. In Power mode, the driver can enjoy the full performance of the electric drive motor.

Regenerative braking is another major new feature of the New Daily Electric, allowing the driver to decide which braking method to use while driving.

The vehicle’s nearly-silent running characteristics contribute to a reduction in noise pollution, said Iveco, and enable night-time deliveries in urban areas. In addition, it is equipped with a pedestrian acoustic alert system as standard, which is activated automatically when driving at speeds of 0-30km/h.

Iveco said the vehicle’s power and robustness are guaranteed by its C-profile frame. Formed in high-strength steel, the C-profile frame ensures maximum durability over time and flexibility of use.

Inside, the New Daily Electric is equipped with a 7’’ detachable tablet and an electronic dashboard for vehicle data management, navigation technology designed by TomTom® Bridge for Iveco. A semi-integrated dashboard dock delivers the comfort of a built-in system and the flexibility of a detachable device.

Quiet & Efficient seminars draw the crowds at Freight in the City Expo

Last week’s Freight in the City Expo in London held a series of seminars exploring how urban logistics operations would need to evolve to service cities of the future, and looked at initiatives in place today that are already helping to drive this change.

David Beeton, MD of Urban Foresight, highlighted that London sees 280,000 freight journeys every day, compared with just 25,000 van deliveries a day in Amsterdam. “Companies need to create integrated urban platforms” – such as shared user consolidation hubs – to reduce the volume of freight, he said.

Gloria Elliot (pictured), chief executive of the Noise Abatement Society, discussed quiet vehicle technology and said that delivery vehicles so quiet that no one can hear them are “not so far away”. Quieter engines and roll cages were among the technologies she listed as already changing the face of night-time deliveries. However, she added, the country needs more government incentives to encourage and further this work.

In a session on rethinking traditional deliveries, the FTA’s head of urban logistics Christopher Snelling discussed the threat of a London lorry ban. “Needless to say,” he told delegates, “the FTA is opposed to the idea.” He added that while there is “no magic fix” for the pressing issue of cyclist and HGV collisions in the capital, a switch to vans could prove just as dangerous, if not more so to cyclists because of the increased number of vehicles this would put on the roads.

Freddie Talberg, chief executive of Pie Mapping, discussed how restrictions on freight in London can cause confusion and, subsequently, ineffective route planning. He cited an example in which operator Wincanton had been using a 25-mile route around the city to reach a second delivery point that was just a couple of miles away.

In the collaboration session, Mark Fell, divisional manager for sustainable mobility at Transport and Travel Research, explained how a business model could be made around consolidating retail loads to town centres. He said that for it to function as a business model, however, the option should be given to public sector users first and retailers second because they have shorter decision-making chains and are “more into the sustainability agenda”.

Sean Kelly, director of strategic solutions at Wilson James, spoke on what a consolidation centre can offer construction projects. He said the construction industry had an outdated understanding of the logistics industry, and that further understanding and planning would assist construction projects immeasurably.

Paul Davison, principal consultant for sustainable freight and logistics at Aecom, explained how an active freight quality partnership can provide an ideal platform for businesses, operators and authorities to communicate about freight and protect the sustainable movement of goods, adding that they will be instrumental in the government’s Northern Powerhouse agenda.

The final collection of talks addressed final-mile delivery and problems that arise in cities in the final stages of the delivery process.

Rob King from cycle courier Outspoken Deliveries told delegates that cities are set to become increasingly pedestrianised, and put forward bicycle delivery couriers as a way to keep cities moving in this scenario.

Natalie Chapman, head of policy for London from the FTA, gave advice to hauliers on handling parking penalty charge notices (PCNs). She said operators should keep a record of where PCNs have been awarded and use the data to identify their PCN “hot spots”, and tackle the issue from there by looking for alternative times or locations, or contact the local traffic authority.

Freight in the City Expo took place on 27 October at London’s Alexandra Palace.

Daf Trucks to showcase Silent range and Clocs safety truck at Alexandra Palace

Daf Trucks will be heading to next week’s Freight in the City Expo at Alexandra Palace to showcase its latest designs to make urban deliveries safer and quieter.

First of two models on its stand will be the CF 400 FT 4×2 tractor unit equipped with Silent Mode, allowing it to meet low-noise standards for night-time deliveries.

Silent Mode is engaged by the driver by simple activation of a dash-mounted ‘Silent’ button. Beneath the cab, engine software alters performance characteristics to reduce noise levels to less than 72 dB(A).

Already available on both CF and XF models powered by the Euro-6 PACCAR MX-11 engine, Daf recently announced at the RAI Show in Amsterdam that Silent Mode will now be extended to the LF range.

With confirmation of PIEK-certification on PACCAR PX-5 engine variants (150bhp and 180bhp), Daf’s lightweight 4×2 rigid models for early morning and night-time urban operations are now available in the UK.

The manufacturer added that acquisition costs of LF, CF and XF Silent models remain low thanks to conventional driveline technology.

Daf Trucks’ second exhibit, with a focus on vulnerable-road-user protection, is the CF 440 FAD low-height 8×4 rigid tipper.

A Clocs initiative demonstrator, the vehicle is based on the Daf CF low-height haulage chassis, with its cab mounted 150mm lower than its CF Construction 8×4 stablemate, thus greatly improving direct visibility in the vicinity around the cab.

For added driver awareness, the Clocs demonstrator boasts side-scan technology from Brigade Electronics (also exhibiting at Freight in the City). The system warns cyclists when the vehicle is turning left while alerting the driver should a cyclist encroach on the nearside of the vehicle.

This truck also benefits from a VUE camera system. Linked to two monitors, one of which is mounted on the driver’s A-post, VUE provides camera observation along the entire nearside of the vehicle.

Completing the driver’s command of his immediate surroundings, the vehicle is fitted with an additional floor-height window in the passenger door to provide a direct view of cyclists and pedestrians. Daf said the design, developed by Cheshire-based Astra Vehicle Technologies, allows the main passenger door window to open; a key benefit that enables drivers to have a clear view of traffic during poor weather and to allow access to the mirrors from the passenger seat for cleaning purposes.

Astra’s floor-height door window makes its debut at Freight in the City.


TfL urges tomorrow’s designers to create the urban safety truck of the future

Inventive young designers of tomorrow are being invited to create the next-generation of safer, urban trucks in an exciting new competition from Transport for London (TfL).

The Future Truck Design Awards have been developed to explore all aspects of improving the safety and operation of trucks in towns and cities.

With the population of the UK expected to rise to 81 million by 2060, making the UK one of the most densely populated countries in Europe, our towns and cities are getting increasingly busy. This expanding population means rising demand for places to live and work, with increasing expectations of round-the-clock availability of goods and services.

The freight industry must feed the urban economy and, with more traffic than ever sharing crowded streets, making these large goods vehicles as safe as possible for other road users is vital.

Launching at next week’s Freight in the City Expo at London’s Alexandra Palace, the awards will ask students to create radical and game-changing ideas that could be incorporated into the trucks and freight operations of the future.

TfL said this opportunity is more than a theoretical exercise and the chance to win a £1,000 cash prize – the safer vehicle designs and systems of operation developed for these awards could save lives.

Road safety is a particularly high-profile issue in cities due to the number of accidents involving vulnerable road users, such as cyclists, and the increasing popularity of active travel.

The TfL document ‘Delivering a Road Freight Legacy’ states that: “Ensuring the safety and security of all users, including cyclists, pedestrians, drivers and vehicles, should be the highest priority for anyone who uses or manages London’s roads. It is the single greatest challenge facing any major city with a growing population and a changing profile of road users.”

Through engagement with schools, colleges and universities, the awards aim to raise the profile and awareness of commercial vehicle safety through an active media campaign and design competition.

Closely aligned with TfL’s Safer Trucks Programme, the competition will: seek out innovative new ideas that can help inform future vehicle design; identify sources of new talent; accelerate the development of safer urban trucks; and showcase the programme of work undertaken by TfL to protect vulnerable road users.

There will be three categories for students to enter, all of which must be for vehicles over 3.5 tonnes:

  • Whole vehicle design: All age groups eligible to enter. Entries will produce designs covering the whole of the vehicle and will be expected to have designed safety features into the overall vehicle package;
  • Safety feature innovation: Open to the 16-to-18 and 18-plus age groups only, entries will produce ideas for new safety features which could be added to the vehicle to improve safety;
  • System of operation: Open to the 16-to-18 and 18-plus age groups only, entries will produce ideas for innovation in urban freight deliveries which would have a significant impact on safety in operation.

Hints and tips for students on making the most of their entries, prize details and full eligibility criteria can be found at

The competition will be officially launched at Freight in the City Expo on 27 October and open for entries on 1 January 2016. The closing date will be 11 March 2016, with a shortlist – chosen by a panel of expert industry judges – announced on 4 April 2016. Awards will be presented at a ceremony on 26 April.

  • Freight in the City Expo is a free-to-attend, one-day event focusing on the challenges of delivering into city centres. A top line-up of industry speakers, as well as an exhibition of the latest urban vehicles and equipment, make this an event not to be missed. Register today and join more than 700 of your industry peers at Alexandra Palace on 27 October.

West London Boroughs collaborate to create new sustainable freight strategy

Development of a new freight strategy to improve the safety, efficiency and sustainability of goods movements across west London is underway.

The West London Freight Strategy is being devised by transport consultancy Aecom on behalf of the WestTrans Partnership, which is formed of the six west London Boroughs of Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon and Hounslow.

The purpose of the freight strategy is to create a series of measures to boost efficiency and drive down freight miles across the boroughs by tackling key challenges:

  • Improve air quality
  • Improve road safety
  • Reduce congestion
  • Support economic growth, but manage freight transport demand
  • Improve vehicle energy efficiency
  • Increase business efficiency

A series of workshops have been held to bring together the boroughs, businesses and freight operators to discuss the challenges.

The latest was held last month at Palletline’s Perivale depot, which enabled all parties to experience a tour of a logistics depot and hear about the issues affecting operators in the local area.

Workshop attendees also learned about a number of efficiency measures that could be implemented into their freight operations, such as computerised routing and scheduling, driver training, alternative modes to road transport, aerodynamics, telematics and retiming deliveries.

An emphasis was also placed on how zero-emission vehicle technology could be used in urban areas to improve air quality, with final-mile specialist Gnewt Cargo demonstrating how electric vans and cargo trikes could be used to make cleaner deliveries to residents and businesses in city centres.

Paul Davison, principal consultant for sustainable freight and logistics, Aecom, said the event received a very positive reaction and provided a good insight into how cleaner technology and more efficient practices could be incorporated into logistics operations.

It also opened up discussions on how local authorities could provide incentives to encourage uptake of new technology and helped break down misconceptions over range, vehicle reliability and charging points.

One final workshop will take place at the end of this month/early November, with any interested businesses or freight operators encouraged to take part. The completed strategy is expected to be delivered by the end of this year. For more information please contact Tim Forrester on

WestTrans Partnership is also carrying out a range of projects across the six boroughs, including the use of Delivery and Service Plans to slash congestion and an Air Quality Cluster Group to develop mapping routes.

  • Aecom’s Paul Davison will be speaking about the important role that freight quality partnerships can play in bringing together local authorities and operators to make goods movements more sustainable at the Freight in the City Expo this month. Book your free place today!


Cross River Partnership wins funding for initiatives to improve city logistics across Europe

Cross River Partnership (CRP) has been awarded more than €90,000 to develop improvements in city logistics across a number of European cities over the next six months.

The ‘Freight TAILS’ (tailored approaches implementing lasting solutions) project will address the challenges posed by increasing freight movements within an urban environment.

Project aims are to establish whether different approaches to issues surrounding the delivery and servicing activity in urban areas are required for different areas within cities, to achieve continuous real improvements in greenhouse gas emissions and therefore air quality and traffic management.

Action plans will be established to develop sustainable urban logistics approaches – such as micro/consolidation, SME co-ordination, retiming deliveries, efficient road space allocation – in specific urban areas. These could include areas of high multi-tenanted office blocks and high street retail areas; areas dominated by single user activity, such as a university campus or public sector administration; and historic central areas.

Business cases for different approaches, data on greenhouse gas emissions and traffic improvements, and recommendations for implementation will be key elements of the action plans.

The CRP is keen to hear from any city that has an interest in this topic, in particular cities from less developed regions experiencing issues in relation to delivery and servicing activities.

Funding was awarded under the URBACT III programme and will support the development of a larger bid (up to €750,000) for the project to be implemented 2016 – 2018.

Freight TAILS Phase 1 is led by CRP in partnership with Maastricht (The Netherlands), Parma (Italy), Plascencia (Spain), and Suceava (Romania). Over the course of the next six months, it aims to expand the partnership to total up to 12 European cities for the full Phase 2 application.

For more information on Freight TAILS please contact Charlotte Knell, CRP project manager,


Transport for London explores options to boost road capacity through more strategic freight journeys

Transport for London (TfL) hopes to increase capacity on London’s road network by encouraging the use of freight consolidation centres and urging the retiming of deliveries to commercial and domestic premises.

Paul Strang, TfL’s senior strategy and planning manager (freight and fleet), told delegates at this week’s Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum UK freight policy seminar that TfL is looking at ways of reducing the freight sector’s demand for the road network as the city’s population grows.

Strang said 90% of goods being moved in the capital are done so using the road network, with few operators taking advantage of rail and water.

“Almost a third, 29%, of central London morning traffic relates to goods vehicles, so HGVs or vans, which disproportionally peaks in the morning when the roads are perhaps least able to cope with it,” he said. “When you look at the whole day [freight’s share of the traffic] becomes around 16- 17%.”

Like most cities across the UK, London has seen an increase in the number of vans on its roads and Strang expects this to continue over the next decade. HGV numbers, however, are not expected to grow.

Strang suggested there was an opportunity to better utilise the rail and river networks, but said reducing the “frustration” of missed deliveries was at the other end of the spectrum.

He added: “Maybe the solution is specifying larger sizes of letterboxes and retiming deliveries to domestic premises.

“It’s not about reducing the amount of stuff we buy, but how we can get that same amount of stuff delivered in fewer road kilometres.”

Strang added that the capital’s existing consolidation centres had been a success in taking goods vehicle traffic off the road. However, he questioned how TfL would be able to develop enough of them to take the necessary amount of road trips out of the network.

He said: “London’s a rapidly growing city…it will grow by a further 1.7m people by 2030. In terms of scale, that’s equivalent to adding cities the size of Birmingham and Leeds to what is already London’s biggest population.

“We want our freight strategy to balance these two things off. We need to look at how we get goods and services delivered in the city at a fair cost to consumers.”