FREVUE partners seek to boost number of electric freight vehicles and urban consolidation hubs following promising trials

Partners in the European FREVUE project are looking to boost the number of electric vehicles in their fleets and open new urban consolidation centres following promising demonstrator trial results.

FREVUE (Freight Electric Vehicles in Urban Europe), led by the Cross River Partnership (CRP), is an initiative spanning several major European cities that aims to encourage uptake of cleaner, more efficient movement of freight to enhance urban environments for those who live and work there.

The project comprises of 30 European partners concentrated around the cities of Amsterdam, Lisbon, Madrid, Milan, Oslo, Rotterdam, Stockholm and London.

To date, more than 50 vehicles have been procured and delivered across the FREVUE demonstration cities.  Of these, 11 were delivered in London with another six vehicles expected to be operational by October 2015.

Partners taking part in the London trial include Westminster City Council, UPS, UK Power Networks, Imperial College, Transport for London, Arup, the Crown Estate, the Greater London Authority as well as other central London local authorities and Business Improvement Districts.

Based on their positive experience with electric freight vehicles in the project, several partners now want to enlarge their fleets beyond the original target:  in Lisbon, CTT (the Portuguese national postal service) will add another 30 vehicles to their electric freight fleet over the next three years while EMEL (Lisbon’s municipal parking company) will procure six additional vehicles. In Amsterdam, Heineken decided to introduce two more vehicles than originally foreseen.

CRP said these encouraging developments are due to the positive feedback from the electric freight vehicles in operation so far. Overall, the performance of the vehicles is good and most are fully integrated into daily operations. Feedback from drivers remains largely positive with reduced noise levels of the vehicles significantly improving their well-being.

In addition to further vehicles, two new construction consolidation centres (CCCs) are to be developed at large building sites in Stockholm. Both have been inspired by the CCC at the Royal Seaport Area that is part of the FREVUE project.

FREVUE is an urban e-mobility project supported by the European Commission that seeks to demonstrate to industry, consumers and policy-makers how electric vehicles can meet the growing need for sustainable urban logistics.


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,


Making more use of Northern ports could shave up to 156 million HGV miles off UK road network

Many suppliers are considering relocating their operations to cities in the North of England in order to be closer to their customer base, delegates were told at a policy seminar in Westminster yesterday.

According to Frank Rogers, deputy chief executive and director of integrated transport services at Merseytravel, an organisation that provides transport advice to the Liverpool city region, some 91% of imports from India enter the UK through the South East, despite 61% of these goods being used north of the Midlands.

“This gives us the opportunity to do some rebalancing on the networks,” Rogers said at the Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum freight policy seminar this week.  “If we can rebalance the freight that comes into the UK and maximise the use of the Northern ports, there is the potential to take up to 156 million HGV miles a year off the UK road network [and] increase GDP.”

He said the organisation is identifying key sites for development in the Liverpool region as demand to move north increases.

“There is a very clear pattern now where suppliers are moving to the North to be closer to their client base, to be able to meet the requirements of just-in-time deliveries and so on.

“It’s becoming fiction that the golden triangle of previous years is located around the East Midlands. But when you look at warehouse densities, it’s actually somewhere around Hull,” Rogers added.

Paul Strang, senior strategy and planning manager (freight and fleet) at TfL, said London is also seeing a shift in where its warehouses are located for cost reasons. But this increases the strain on the city’s road network.

“As property prices in urban areas increase, warehouses are moving further and further away, which means there is more congestion [going into the city] and the negative stuff associated with that,” said Strang.

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.”


Cleaner freight to play its part in delivering government’s air quality strategy

Cleaner freight deliveries will play an important role in helping the government achieve the aims set out in its draft national air quality strategy launched this week.

A series of national and local measures have been combined to create a UK action plan to bring levels of nitrogen dioxide within EU legal limits by 2020, or by 2025 in Greater London.

Road transport remains the dominant source of pollution in areas where the UK is exceeding European legal NO2 limits, producing around 80% of harmful emissions.

This is despite an average 15% reduction in roadside NO2 emissions since 2010.

However significantly more action is now needed to reach EU air quality compliance, particularly in major cities such as London, Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Southampton and Derby.

Plans released for consultation this week outline how new, green technology can be used to create communities where people want to live and work, boosting the economy and make the UK a world leader in low-emission technology.

Local authorities facing particular challenges are encouraged to explore action such as creating Clean Air Zones, introducing low-emission buses and taxis, and using intelligent data to inform new road layouts and tackle congestion.

Central and local government will also be incentivised through funding and new procurement frameworks to ensure they lead by example and include low-emission vehicles among their own urban fleets and insist on greener vehicles in tender documents.

Freight grants would remain available to encourage modal shift to rail or water where possible, which has so far removed 800,000 lorry journeys from the UK’s roads annually.

Further air quality benefits are also expected as operators continue the move towards Euro V1 vehicles on their fleets, or the retrofitting of clean technology to older vehicles.

In addition, the data continuing to be gathered from the Low Carbon Truck Trial launched in 2010 will help the government understand the environmental benefits of running natural gas and dual-fuel HGVs, as well as establishing a national network of refuelling points.

Further trials specifically into developing a test protocol for measuring the greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions from dual-fuel vehicles (gas/diesel) or dedicated gas HGVs are also planned for 2015/2016.

The government’s 10-year longer semi-trailer trial of 14.6m and 15.65m vehicles will also continue, with revised estimations of carbon emissions saved by the end of the trial now standing at 3,000 tonnes. To date, 1,614 of the allocated 1,800 longer trailers are already on the road.

Finally, to encourage uptake of alternative-fuel vehicles by operators that may have been put off by the weight penalty the technology attracts, the government will now seek to allow an extra one tonne for HGVs using alternative powertrains. It will launch a consultation later this year to extend the new permitted weight levels allowed for international journeys introduced to EU Directive to 96/53/EC in May this year, to domestic operations.

The government will also look to encourage the use of urban consolidation centres and last-mile deliveries on low-emission vehicles in major towns and cities.

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said: “The move towards embracing clean technology – including the government’s ambition that almost every car and van on our roads will be zero emission by 2050 – will be incentivised by at least £200m of government grants for plug-in cars and vans and £50m of support for local authorities and transport operators to convert their taxis and clean up bus fleets. The move will also generate new jobs and significantly boost our growing economy.”

A consultation on the draft air quality strategy will run until 6 November.


Registration now live for free-of-charge Freight in the City Expo in October

Registration is now live for this autumn’s free-to-attend Freight in the City Expo at London’s Alexandra Palace on Tuesday 27 October.

The event comprises a full seminar programme split into three core zones – Clean; Safe; and Quiet & Efficient – as well as a major exhibition area complete with guided tours.

A top line-up of vehicle manufacturers including Mercedes-Benz / FUSO Canter, Daf, Volvo, IsuzuIveco and Dennis Eagle will be showcasing their latest urban vehicle designs, while technology and trailer firms such as Transdek, Paragon and Route Monkey will demonstrate how to enhance existing fleet operations.

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

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

It is a must-attend event for anyone involved in procuring, delivering or receiving freight in an urban location.

Registration is free of charge and you can also sign up to receive fortnightly alerts of the latest urban logistics news.

A full list of exhibitors is available to view, along with a floorplan of the event.

Sign up online today for Freight in the City expo news

Make sure you sign-up today to receive the latest news and information about the inaugural Freight in the City expo this autumn.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cycling Ambition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adopting Fors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cleaner deliveries

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

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

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

Last-mile alternatives

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looking ahead

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For further information contact CRP air quality champion: Uto Patrick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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