London operator shaves 20% off its road miles after fleet optimisation

Global Service Group (GSG) has shaved 20% off its fleet mileage for a florist delivery contract by using Route Monkey software.

The Middlesex-based company makes more than 1,000 flower deliveries per day in London.

Rob Berringer, MD of GSG, said: “Previously, we used a combination of Microsoft MapPoint and local knowledge to plan deliveries.

“Route Monkey from day one demonstrated a 20% saving in mileage, which is a dramatic difference.”

GSG imports all jobs into Route Monkey’s route optimisation and scheduling software, which then calculates the next day’s deliveries using the least number of vans and lowest cumulative mileage. It also produces an individual daily manifest for each driver.

“In highly congested metropolitan areas like London, routing and scheduling can have a huge impact on productivity, compared to manual planning or relying on drivers’ local knowledge,” said Berringer.


ECO Stars expands as northen cities raise their profile

Growth in towns and cities in the North is prompting both public and private fleet operators to explore schemes such as ECO Stars Fleet Recognition in an effort to boost operational sustainability.

Jim Chappell (pictured), freight and fleet divisional manager at Transport & Travel Research, which heads up the ECO Stars scheme said: “We are seeing a direct correlation between ECO Stars’ expansion and the growth and the rise in profile of cities and wider urban areas in the North.

“As urban centres grow they need schemes such as ECO Stars, which deliver positive interventions to reduce environmental impact and give operators an opportunity to review their operations against industry best practice.”

Chappell will be taking part in a panel debate at next month’s Freight in the City Spring Summit in Manchester that will discuss the importance of collaboration between public and private sectors to drive cleaner, safer, more efficient freight movements across urban areas.

He told Freightinthecity that local authorities could take the lead in driving collaborative fleet efficiency by first analysing their own community fleets and those of their supply chain: “Efficiencies in these areas will always be advantageous to the local authority, the contracted operator, and the wider community.”

Commercial fleet operators would also greatly benefit from working closely with local authorities and establishing a positive relationship with the relevant teams at the council.

Chappell explained: “The greater the co-operation, the greater the holistic benefit. If there is a positive relationship, activities such as those with an infrastructure implication (for example temporary rerouting or installation of electric charging points) can be discussed from a starting point of a positive relationship.

“This also applies to contracts between local authorities and commercial operators where cleaner operations are preferred, as there could be procurement considerations,” he added.

Freight in the City takes place at Manchester Central on 3 March and is a free-to-attend one-day event designed to explore opportunities for sustainable freight as part of the government’s Northern Powerhouse investment strategy. Why not sign up today!

PODFather helps efficiency of central Scotland food waste collections

Commercial food waste firm Keenan Recycling has found PODFather’s route planning and real-time collection management system a key efficiency driver during a period of rapid growth.

The Aberdeenshire-based company has expanded its operation across central Scotland prompted by tougher food waste regulations recently imposed on businesses, which limit the amount of waste sent to landfill.

The PODFather Logistics system was rolled out to help manage more than 20,000 collections a month. It enables contracts to be set up with collection frequencies set according to the amount of waste generated, then automatically scheduled and route optimised on a daily basis.

A back office system then links to in-cab driver handhelds that provide daily route details and capture the waste type and quantity of each collection.

The handhelds provide live tracking location and collection ETAs back in the office, as well as raising an alert should unexpected delays occur.

Workflows on the devices also ensure that if anything unexpected does occur, the handheld will prompt the driver to capture photographs as evidence.

This system includes daily driver vehicle checks at the depot in the morning, with any faults logged and made visible to Keenan transport management staff.

Keenan said it has gained real-time visibility of the collection rounds as they progress throughout the day and reduced the administration associated with processing thousands of paper-based collection notes.

Claire Keenan, business development manager, Keenan Recycling, said: “We were introduced to PODFather by one of our customers who have been using the system for their own office-waste recycling business for a number of years. It was important we could work with a company that understands how waste collection rounds work as we needed the system set up quickly whilst ensuring our duty of care requirements for waste collections were met.”

International partnership aims to halve road freight’s CO2 emissions by 2050

A new international partnership focused on tackling road freight emissions was launched at last month’s COP21 climate change forum in Paris.

Its aim is to explore the “currently untapped and unmapped potential” for reducing emissions through better fleet optimisation and collaboration between road freight operators.

Truck manufacturer Scania, operators Nestlé and UPS and optimisation firm Route Monkey have all signed up to the Low Carbon Technology Partnerships initiative (LCTPi), which aims to help meet a science-based target of a 48% drop in absolute emissions between 2010 and 2050.

The partnership is led by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and will see companies developing a series of emission-reduction programmes during 2016.

This will be followed by real-world testing in 2017 and 2018.

Ideas being explored include improving the accessibility of the latest fleet optimisation tools to SME operators, co-optimisation of multiple fleet movements through a common ICT platform, and the sharing of assets such as distribution centres and fleet vehicles.

Scania said enhancements in vehicle connectivity and the digitalisation of fleets would play a key role in improving future road freight efficiencies.

“Digitalisation will provide road haulage and transport buyers with a strong tool to take control of the entire logistic chain in order to optimise transport flows,” said Urban Wästljung, senior adviser at Scania.

“Connectivity in combination with new vehicle technology and renewable energy is a game changer in the transition to a sustainable transport system,” he said.

He added that in addition to optimised route and load planning, connectivity can also help reduce CO2 emissions through boosting fuel efficiency and improving driver performance.

Colin Ferguson, CEO of Route Monkey, said: “Route Monkey’s optimisation already today cuts carbon emissions and overheads by up to 20% for more than 400 fleet customers.

“By combining selected fleets through this WBCSD initiative, we will from next year enable additional efficiency improvements of 15% with diesel, and up to 60% with alternative fuels.”

Alan Gershenhorn, executive vice president and chief commercial officer for UPS, added: “With a recent International Transport Forum study projecting that freight volumes could quadruple by 2050, the initiative is an important catalyst to spearhead solutions to help manage and mitigate transport sector emissions.”

The WBCSD said the transport sector produces around 23% of total energy-related CO2 emissions.

Greenhouse gas emissions from transport are one of the fastest growing sectors, while emissions from freight transport have been growing even more rapidly than those from passenger transport.

This is expected to continue to be the case, particularly in emerging and developing economies.



FTA welcomes TfL’s east London river-crossing plans to tackle congestion

The FTA has welcomed TfL’s plans to improve cross-river connectivity across east London, which will help relieve congestion hotspots for freight operators such as the Blackwall Tunnel.

TfL’s Connecting the Capital vision proposes 13 new bridges and tunnels, which will boost the number of river crossings between Imperial Wharf and Dartford by more than a third.

They are to be built to support the predicted population rise in London from 8.6 million to 10 million by 2030 and relieve pinch points on existing infrastructure.

The majority of new river crossings will be in east London, where population growth is predicted to be highest. There are currently just three road crossings in the 23km between Tower Bridge and the M25.

A consultation was launched yesterday on two of the proposed crossings to improve connections between east and south-east London: Gallions Reach to link Thamesmead and Beckton; and Belvedere, linking Belvedere to Rainham.

It follows a previous consultation, now closed, on a new crossing at Silvertown, which would connect Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Docks.

Natalie Chapman, FTA head of policy for London, said she welcomed the proposals as cross-river connectivity in east London is “extremely poor” in comparison to west London.

At present, the alternative crossing in east London is the Blackwall Tunnel, with its 4m (13.1ft) height limit restricting access for taller lorries and leading to lengthy detours to the M25 to cross the Thames.

Chapman added:  “The Blackwall Tunnel is a key pinch point on the capital’s network, it is unreliable and the regular congestion around it means the local area suffers particularly from poor air quality.  FTA fully supports the proposals for a new crossing at Silvertown and today’s announcement of plans for additional crossings further east is good news for business.”

TfL added that each crossing could cost up to £1bn, with costs partly funded by a charge for vehicles to use them, which it said would also help manage demand.  No decisions have yet been made on costs.

London Assembly calls for rush-hour HGV ban in capital

London Assembly members have unanimously agreed a motion to ban HGVs in the capital during rush hour.

The call formed part of a package of measures the assembly would like to see implemented by the mayor, the government and the freight sector to reduce the number of HGV-related cyclist fatalities.

During a plenary session at City Hall yesterday (4 November), assembly member Darren Johnson, who proposed the motion, said: “Far too many people have died under the wheels of an HGV in London. We know the safety measures which would make cyclists safer and there is a growing cross-party determination that we need to end the unnecessary deaths and injuries on our roads.”

He added that new, segregated Cycle Superhighways will separate cyclists on some roads in the capital, but that action is now needed to protect them on the rest of London’s roads by having HGVs travel at different times of the day.

Seconding the motion, Andrew Boff, added: “Seven out of the eight cycling deaths this year have been caused by collisions with an HGV. This is a shocking statistic and a clear indication that action is needed.”

Boff said it was now essential that a full impact assessment was conducted to ensure that banning lorries during peak hours would not simply displace collisions to another time of the day, and to prove to the mayor that it would not impact businesses too greatly.

Other proposals in the assembly’s motion included the adoption of Clocs standards across the entire construction sector, including direct vision lorry cabs, with the mayor called upon to make this compulsory by the end of his term of office on all Greater London Authority contracts.

Also, the roll-out of a confidential reporting system to enable HGV drivers to flag up bad practice, irrespective of whether their employer wants to take part in the scheme. Such a system is already in place across the railway industry and London Underground, as well as being recently introduced across London’s bus sector.

Finally, the LA wants to see comprehensive enforcement to crack down on rogue operators, with regular reporting from the London Freight Enforcement Partnership against an aim to reduce commercial vehicle casualties.

  • The London Assembly is an elected body with a key role of holding the mayor to account on behalf of Londoners by directly questioning his activities, strategies and decisions across all areas of policy. As well as examining the mayor’s actions and decisions, assembly members act as champions for Londoners by investigating issues that are important to the capital. Assembly investigations are carried out by cross-party committees often looking at long-term issues facing London.

Highways England wants feedback on key roads challenges facing logistics operators and customers

Highways England is keen to hear from transport planners, fleet operators and drivers about the best method to interact with them about the latest road network information.

It also wants to find out exactly what facts and intelligence operators need, as well as gain a better understanding of the key roads challenges facing them in their day-to-day activities and the impact on their businesses.

An online survey was launched at last week’s Freight in the City Expo in London by the CILT, on behalf of Highways England, to seek the views of those working in logistics planning, ‘on the road’ planning, operations, drivers and end customers.

CILT said this is a key opportunity for all those involved in road transport operations to voice issues or concerns about the current systems in place for information sharing and communication and to ensure its views are represented to Highways England.

The survey, which closes on Friday 20 November, will take no longer than 10 minutes to complete. Please click here to begin.

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.

Paragon launches London Lorry Control Scheme routing software

A new vehicle routing and scheduling system to help transport planners comply with the London Lorry Control Scheme (LLCS) and other time-sensitive road restrictions has been developed.

Paragon Route Control will enable planners to build compliant routes, cutting the time spent on manual planning, reducing the need for route deviations, minimising the impact of the LLCS and major public events on routing and scheduling, and lowering the risk of incurring penalty fines.

Since the LLCS was first introduced, Paragon said transport offices wanting to optimise their fleet operations in the Greater London area have struggled to create feasible plans that take into account the large number of time-related lorry restrictions.

“When a driver deviates from the prescribed route, fleet monitoring systems flag that journey as an exception, and the transport office has to manually check if it should be recorded as a breach or not,” said Phil Ingham, Paragon’s support director. “With Paragon Route Control, our customers can create rules that apply approved route deviations at specific times of the day, week or month by truck type, reducing the number of manual interventions required by the transport planner.”

Paragon added that the LLCS is not the only source of time-sensitive route constraints. In addition to local authority HGV restrictions, other off-route exceptions include prioritising the safest route over the quickest route, for instance avoiding roads around a school during child drop-off and pick up times. Events can also trigger exceptions, such as regular sports fixtures or concerts.

“We have spent a lot of time talking to our customers about the challenges they face in building realistic routes for their drivers”, added Ingham. “Paragon Route Control provides a means for companies scheduling daily delivery routes into London to automatically create routes that comply with the LLCS, without compromising the overall efficiency of their route optimisation process. And it’s not just for London. Other cities all over the world suffer from similar types of restrictions, which is why we believe Route Control is a game-changer for delivery operations globally.”


ECO Stars joins forces with Route Monkey to boost operators’ fleet efficiency

ECO Stars Fleet Recognition Scheme is partnering with Route Monkey to help freight operators make their fleet operations more efficient and environmentally friendly.

Members of ECO Stars – a voluntary scheme that provides guidance and recognition for operators striving to the reduce fuel consumption and harmful emissions from their fleet vehicles – will now be able to access Route Monkey’s optimisation software, which the company said can shave up to 20% off fleet running costs.

Ann Beddoes of Barnsley Metropolitan Council, the scheme manager for ECO Stars, said: “We are delighted to be working with Route Monkey – a company whose services align perfectly with ECO Stars’ objectives – and we continue to seek out partnerships with organisations to enhance the benefits of the scheme for our members.”

Colin Ferguson, CEO of Route Monkey, said: “ECO Stars is a fantastic initiative that has a fantastic membership of public and private sector fleets. By working closely together with ECO Stars we can deliver even greater efficiency savings for these members.”

ECO Stars was created in 2009 in South Yorkshire and has since expanded to 18 schemes across the UK, with more in the pipeline. It is open to fleets of all sizes and types of operation.

Route Monkey’s optimisation system uses algorithm-based technology capable of making millions of calculations in a relatively short space of time to help eliminate unnecessary fleet mileage and improve vehicle utilisation.

The company has also developed unique algorithms for identifying where and how ultra-low carbon vehicles can be deployed, and has been working with local authorities in Scotland to help them explore if electric vehicles could work in their fleets.

Both Route Monkey and ECO Stars were exhibitors at the Freight in the City Expo, which took place at Alexandra Palace in London on 27 October.