Report • 14.08.2020

Delivery services: consumer and climate benefits

Sustainable logistics solutions for last mile delivery

Bike courier, in green jacket on yellow bike and with helmet...
Sustainability is symbolized by delivery staff using bicycles, among other things.
Source: ©David Fuentes - stock.adobe.com

Convenient, fast, and affordable. By now, "sustainable" has also been added to the list of what makes for the perfect online ordering process. That’s why retailers and delivery services must rethink their strategies.

 The last mile of delivery is the most complex and resource-intense section of the entire logistics chain, prompting an increasing focus on "green commerce".

German courier, express shipping and delivery services shipped more than 3.6 billion parcels and small packages in 2019. The German Parcel and Express Logistics Association (Bundesverband Paket und Expresslogistik, BIEK e.V.) forecasts 4.15 billion units in 2021. In the United States, the US Postal Service handled 6.2 billion parcels, packages and first-class mail items just in the last year alone. These stats highlight a tremendous growth in online shopping and the trend continues.

According to the DPD’s “2019 E-Shopper Barometer”, 66 percent of shoppers prefer retailers and brands that implement eco-friendly practices. This trend also affects the logistics industry. Last mile delivery plays a critical role in the booming e-commerce market. Consumer buying behavior is changing: “Fast, convenient, and affordable delivery is still an important issue for consumers but they also increasingly value sustainable concepts. Fast delivery alone isn’t enough. Retailers are also tasked with reducing traffic volumes and decreasing CO2 emissions," says Dr. Johannes Plehn, founder and managing director of Seven Senders, a delivery platform for parcel shipping in Europe. Many providers are testing drones and robots to automate deliveries and conserve natural resources. Several concepts and approaches such as the DHL Parcelcopter 4.0 or the humanoid robot "Digit" by the US company Agility Robotics, which was introduced in January at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, are already out there, but these ideas are still mostly in the testing or development phase. It begs the question: How can providers make last mile logistics more sustainable right now?

Sweden hints at a successful approach: Stockholm-based startup Budbee operates a cutting-edge last-mile logistics service and has been committed to minimizing environmental impact since day one with a climate-smart delivery solution for all packages. The company plans to convert its delivery fleet to electric cars and bicycles within five years.

Green and white pickup station in a subway station
For everyone: one of the "Hamburg Boxes" in Halstenbek.
Source: ParcelLock

Seven Senders pursues a similar approach and teams up with carriers across Europe who also use electric cars, cargo bikes, and similar sustainable means of transport. The common perception is that customers have to pay extra if they choose these shipping companies or services. Plehn addresses this rumor and says: "Many would be surprised to learn that [sustainable delivery options] are not - as so often thought - automatically the more expensive choice."

Pick-up points: Easy access for everyone

Besides green vehicles, parcel stations are a great alternative for eco-friendly deliveries to customers. A clear advantage: deliveries are always successful. Drivers don’t have to make several delivery attempts and ring the doorbell in vain. One solution is the ParcelLock package box system for residential areas or parcel stations. What makes it so unique: It is vendor-neutral, which means all delivery services can use the stations, 24/7/365. Hamburg is currently testing the so-called "Hamburg Box". "Unlike other market participants, setups with the universal-access ParcelLock system can be used by all delivery services and facilitate maximum parcel consolidation in a package delivery market that is driven by a drastic increase in online shopping,” says Gunnar Anger, managing director of ParcelLock GmbH. To facilitate more efficient and eco-friendly consolidated shipping, the stations are located at central public transport hubs. The pilot project is a collaboration with Deutsche Bahn (German Railway Company) and Hamburger Hochbahn, comprising 21 locations at S-Bahn (city rapid railway) and U-Bahn (underground) stations in Hamburg and the Hamburg metropolitan region. But why did the partners choose stops and train stations versus supermarket parking lots that are already a popular location for pick-up points? "Sustainable mobility, retail, and smart city logistics naturally intersect at train and subway stations, and permit maximum flexibility in parcel pickup for consumers along their daily commute. It also enables delivery services to consolidate shipments, which saves time and resources, reduces traffic congestion and improves air quality, all providing environmental benefits,” explains Anger. Since January 2020, a similar universal-access station with around-the-clock access has also been set up on the campus of the Graz University of Technology.

The recent steps in last mile logistics show a global mindset shift. Service providers rethink their approaches and aim to deliver a seamless customer experience while becoming more conscious of their environmental responsibility. Flexibility, efficiency, and resource conservation will be mandatory and non-negotiable.

Author: Katja Laska

related articles:

popular articles:

Thumbnail-Photo: Cross-Border Commerce Europe launches blue paper on green supply chains...
04.02.2022   #online trading #e-commerce

Cross-Border Commerce Europe launches blue paper on green supply chains

Leading C-Level executives from global retailers contributed to report

Cross-Border Commerce Europe, the platform driving cross-border e-commerce in Europe, publishes its latest blue paper summarising the learnings of seven knowledge and brainstorming sessions between C-Level executives from leading global retailers ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Home pickup for convenient ecommerce returns...
16.03.2022   #customer satisfaction #services

Home pickup for convenient ecommerce returns

Narvar service available in ten major metros in the U.S. including San Francisco, NY, LA and Chicago

Narvar announced the rollout of its Home Pickup service, a carrier-agnostic returns service that allows shoppers to schedule a courier to pick up return packages at their homes. More than 70 retailers, including DSW and Ann Taylor, piloted the ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Last mile delivery with autonomous driving
31.01.2022   #Tech in Retail #delivery

Last mile delivery with autonomous driving

Pix-E offers a clean, bright and re-imagined future for the high street

With the home delivery season peaking last month as more households than ever elected to Christmas shop from home, researchers, think tanks and civic authorities agree that systemic change is required to enable the benefits of these ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Walmart to expand in home delivery
17.01.2022   #brick and mortar retail #delivery

Walmart to expand in home delivery

Retailer to hire more than 3,000 associate delivery drivers, establish all-electric fleet of delivery vehicles

It’s a new year and Walmart is resolving to bring the convenience of InHome delivery to even more customers in 2022. Today, the retailer is announcing plans to scale the service, going from InHome being available to 6 million households ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Sam’s Club relies on new automation
02.02.2022   #Tech in Retail #logistic solutions

Sam’s Club relies on new automation

Sam’s Club starts national deployment of automated inventory analytics robots

Sam’s Club, a division of Walmart Inc. and a leading membership warehouse club, today announced the national, chain-wide roll out of Inventory Scan that will be added to their existing fleet of robotic scrubbers in partnership with Brain Corp ...

Thumbnail-Photo: The iXtenso editorial team was hungry ...
28.02.2022   #delivery #online food retailing

The iXtenso editorial team was hungry ...

... and tested the Gorillas and Flink delivery services

Food delivery services in city centers are picking up speed. Drivers with oversized backpacks on their backs are increasingly common, sometimes even late at night. Popular services promise to deliver the groceries ordered via app to your doorstep ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Paving the way for supply chains of the future...
15.12.2021   #digitization #data warehouse management

Paving the way for supply chains of the future

First UPS Supply Chain Solutions (SCS) Asia Pacific innovation centre: digital revolution and future-proof supply chains

Supply Chain Solutions (UPS SCS) officially opened its first innovation centre globally, connecting businesses in Asia with emerging technologies in logistics. Located in Singapore, the UPS SCS Asia Pacific Innovation Centre will see UPS ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Efficient and networked operations in e-commerce warehouses...
24.01.2022   #e-commerce #data analysis

Efficient and networked operations in e-commerce warehouses

Proactively preparing for seasonal peaks using big data

Digital shopping round the clock means particular service requirements for e-commerce retailers, e.g. providing maximum availability and meeting very short delivery deadlines. Due to the increasing complexity of processes related to warehousing and ...

Thumbnail-Photo: 7-Eleven launches first commercial autonomous delivery service in...
14.12.2021   #Tech in Retail #delivery

7-Eleven launches first commercial autonomous delivery service in California

7-Eleven and Nuro partnership

7‑Eleven, Inc. is bringing a futuristic innovation to Mountain View, CA, customers by piloting autonomous delivery with Nuro, a robotics company transforming local commerce with autonomous vehicles.In collaboration with Nuro, 7‑Eleven is ...

Thumbnail-Photo: One in five will buy groceries online in 2024...
20.12.2021   #food retail #Tech in Retail

One in five will buy groceries online in 2024

Report highlights need for grocers to improve online experiences

Spryker Systems has launched its U.S. Online Grocery Report 2022. The research finds that almost half (47 percent) of Americans buy at least some of their groceries online. The research surveyed 2,500 consumers from across the U.S. on their ...

Supplier

Rhenus SE & Co. KG
Rhenus SE & Co. KG
Rhenus-Platz 1
59439 Holzwickede