Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Parcel Advice Group Asks Are Home Delivery Services Greener Than Shopping by Car?

Latest Survey Suggests if You Want to Save the Planet - Go Online
Shipping News Feature
UK – As part of Government's Green GB Week, parcel price comparison site ParcelHero last week launched a new study asking whether home deliveries still carry the crown as the greenest form of shopping. A report in 2009 found home deliveries produced significantly less CO2 emissions than shopping by car. But with increasing concern about the impact of NOx and particulates, the report examines the latest moves in the UK's logistics sector to maintain the position of home deliveries as the greenest option.

The new study reveals that, though such a delivery method creates significantly less CO2 emissions than traditional shopping trips; more work needs to be done to reduce other pollutants such as nitrogen oxide (NOx). It’s a challenge that retailers and couriers looking to innovative new technologies must face if they are to retain their green crown. ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks MILT, says:

“For some years after the emergence of e-commerce the debate raged whether home deliveries or traditional shopping trips by car were greener. A 2009 academic report by Professor Alan McKinnon and his team at Herriot Watt University in Edinburgh finally seemed to settle the matter, finding a dedicated car trip for a specific item generated 4.274 kilogrammes of CO2 per kilometre, but a successful first-time delivery created just 181 grammes of CO2 per kilometre per parcel. In fact, the research found that a customer shopping by car would have to buy 24 non-food items to reduce their equivalent emissions to those of a home delivery.”

ParcelHero’s new study ‘How will home deliveries retain the green crown?’ reveals fast-growing concerns about nitrogen oxide and particulates emissions have moved the home delivery debate on; and that retailers and couriers are now racing to introduce significant new innovations to keep their crown as the greenest form of retail. Jinks continued:

“NOx impacts on respiratory conditions, high levels causing inflammation of the airways. As long ago as 2012 campaigners were arguing that NOx should be considered as being just as important as CO2 emissions. Then came ‘Dieselgate’, the revelation that some VW Group vehicles allegedly emit up to 40 times more NOx in real-world driving than in laboratory tests, which bought the issue to the forefront of public attention.

“The latest Euro 6 diesel vans have now cut Nitrogen oxide by 55% from 180mg/km to just 80mg/km. In contrast, the NOx limit for petrol engines has not been altered from the previous Euro 5 standards. And they also cut down emissions of Sulphur oxide, Carbon monoxide, Hydrocarbon and diesel particulate. However, many of the best-known names in deliveries are actually ahead of the curve in planning to ditch the diesel in urban areas: Royal Mail is introducing a significant fleet of electric vehicles (EVs) from Peugeot and Banbury-based Arrival; and UPS has also ordered 35 of the ultra-lightweight Arrival EVs. It has just fitted its central London depot with extensive new recharging facilities ready for a significant boost to its electric fleet.”

The study reveals Hermes is already running a fleet of 32 EVs in Central London and is considering a large scale roll out of such vehicles in cities throughout the UK; while DHL is not only building its own electric vans but is also now emerging as EV supplier for other companies. Its StreetScooter range is expanding from producing mainly for DHL’s own fleet to now selling EVs to other logistics companies. The new study also shows some couriers and retailers are also now looking back to the future and returning to pedal power to solve some of the challenges of greening the final mile. Jinks added:

“DHL has new cargo bikes in cities across Europe, and innovative companies such as Zedify supply pedal-powered bike and trike delivery services for many local retailers in several cities in the UK. Meanwhile Sainsbury's is trialling a new fleet of electric grocery delivery bikes in south London. And this is one spoke in a whole new hub; the Government has just pledged £2 million in funding for e-cargo bikes grants.

“At the other end of the scale from the humble bike, our study shows how electric autonomous droids and drones are making their first deliveries. For example, Starship Technologies’ robot vehicles are being trialled in Greenwich and with the Co-op in Milton Keynes to deliver groceries there. It is planned 1,000 of these robot vehicles will enter service if trials are successful.”

ParcelHero’s study highlights efforts to reduce redelivery options including deliveries straight to a customer’s car boot, schemes Audi and Volvo are already working on together with DHL and Amazon, as well as deliveries to kitchens when the customer is out, with smart doorbell entry an idea that has clearly chimed with Amazon, and with Waitrose which is already trialling ‘in-home deliveries’ in South London.

Finally, there are the more speculative ventures such as Amazon’s patented ‘flying distribution centres’ for airship deliveries that can be taken wherever they are needed, and vans that produce 3D printed items while on route. Jinks concluded:

“Whatever their final evolution, our study finds home deliveries will continue to be a greener option than traditional shopping trips in the family car, as technology evolves and delivery choices grow ever wider.”