Retiming deliveries outside of peak hours to cope with a “rapidly changing London” was tackled at a TfL conference this morning held in the capital.
Operators, businesses and local authorities were brought together to discuss the practicalities of shifting deliveries outside of the peak hours of 0700-13.00 to cope with London’s burgeoning construction boom and TfL’s £4bn road modernisation scheme works taking place.
TfL said that while not all businesses are able to retime, other options, such as rerouting or consolidating deliveries, can provide similar benefits.
London’s population is set to grow from 8.6 million people today to more than 10 million by 2030, and TfL said this demands careful planning for the safe and efficient movement of increasing volumes of goods on the capital’s roads – currently valued at £200bn each year.
Sir Peter Hendy CBE, London’s transport commissioner, said: “Never has the need to adapt been more pressing. We must build on all the work we did together during the London 2012 Games to make further progress on retiming outside the busiest times, rerouting and consolidating deliveries. This will mean less congestion, improved road safety and reduced costs for the industry and businesses.”
Fruit and Vegetable distributor Reynolds said it had been delivering to customers outside of normal business hours for many years now, often late at night or during the early hours, with customers benefitting from both convenience and fresher produce straight from its Herts NDC.
“There are logistical benefits for Reynolds too,” said Martin Ward, head of distribution at Reynolds, “which ultimately means the prices we charge our customers can be more competitive. Because roads are far less congested, especially in central London, larger vehicles can be deployed and more drops achieved on each route. What’s more, often we can utilise the same vehicle twice in a day, which makes great financial sense.”
Tim Slater, MD of Transport UK & Ireland at DHL, said sharing of best practice and technology, such as DHL’s gas-powered concept vehicle laucnhed at Quiet Cities last year (pictured, right), would facilitate retiming of deliveries, “ensuring reliability, easing congestion and improving road safety”.
TfL is publishing postcode data of planned disruption for route-planning systems and communicating with 11,000 operators in the weekly Freight Bulletin. TfL is also providing tools such as a matchmaking service which allows operators and business to gain the support of all stakeholders at any location for retimed deliveries.