13 jan 21

Amazon to build last mile hub for e-cargo bikes and on-foot deliveries

Amazon has set up a new last mile logistics hub in the heart of London, from where deliveries will be on foot or by e-cargo bikes. Similar schemes involving other logistics  companies are already at trial phase in Prague and Berlin. 

The City of London Corporation has granted planning permission for the conversion of an underused public car park to become a distribution hub for Amazon Logistics. The online shopping giant is expected to make all deliveries within a 2km radius of the hub without the need for motorised freight vehicles.

Cutting the impact of freight

The initiative is part of the City Corporation’s commitment to reduce the impact of motorised freight to improve local air quality and meet 2040 net zero carbon emission targets. It plans to create two more last mile logistics hubs by 2022, and to have a total of five by 2025.

Alastair Moss, chair of the Planning and Transportation Committee at the City of London Corporation, said: “The Amazon Last Mile Logistics Hub alone will take up to 85 vehicles off the roads each day, meaning up to 23,000 less vehicle journeys in central London every year.”

Amazon: net zero by 2040

Kerry-Anne Lawlor, country director at Amazon Logistics, said: “Amazon is committed to building a sustainable business for its customers and the planet, and last year co-founded The Climate Pledge – a commitment to be net-zero carbon across its business by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement.”

Prague pilot

In December, a pilot project for a logistics depot for e-cargo bikes opened in Prague. Seven logistics companies - DHL Express, Dachser, PPL, DPD, GLS, CCCB partner MessengerCZ, and Rohlík.cz - will share the facility, with four more due to join this month. The centre, called Depot.Bike, aims to match the city administration’s efforts to relieve public space with rapidly growing volumes of deliveries during the COVID-19 lockdown. 

The city authority has said that if the project proves successful in Prague it will consider introducing restrictions for delivery trucks in the historical centre of the Czech capital.

Berlin's cargo bike trial

In Berlin, a one-year trial of a micro distribution hub shared by the city’s five largest couriers DHL, DPD, Hermes, GLS and UPS, has continued after demonstrating the successful use of cargo and e-cargo bikes. Over a 12-month period the KoMoDo project saw up to 11 bikes operate daily, delivering 160,000 parcels, covering 38,000km with zero emissions, and saving 11 tonnes of CO2. The bikes operated over a range of 3km.

 The success of the project has led Berlin’s Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection to work with city districts and freight hub operator BEHALA to identify more suitable locations for micro-depots in Berlin. 
 Regine Günther, senator for Environment, Transport and Climate Protection, said: “The practical test has impressively shown how modern, environmentally and climate-friendly delivery traffic can work. Micro-depots and cargo bikes can be an efficient solution for the last mile of parcel deliveries."
Authored by: Jonathan Manning