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DHL expands ‘City Hub’ concept in the Netherlands with customised electric vehicles

DHL Express has extended its City Hub concept for environmentally-friendly inner-city deliveries to The Hague, Netherlands with a new pilot involving electric vehicles. This will also see the first deployment of Deutsche Post DHL Group’s StreetScooter electric delivery van in the global DHL Express delivery network.

The City Hub concept was first launched in March 2017 in Utrecht, Netherlands and Frankfurt, Germany. The successful pilots in these cities linked the DHL Cubicycle – cargo bicycles, which can carry a specialised container with a load of up to 125kg – with a customized trailer carrying up to four containers. A DHL van brings the trailer into the city centre, where the containers can be quickly loaded on to Cubicycles for delivery over the last mile.

The latest extension of the project in The Hague will see a modified pickup version of a StreetScooter and a Nissan e-NV200 take on the last-mile delivery of up to three containers each. Combined with larger 7.5-tonne trucks that can bring a higher number of 125kg containers into the city centre, this will make the overall transportation even more operationally and environmentally efficient.

“As one step on our longer-term journey to reduce emissions to zero by 2050, Deutsche Post DHL Group has set a target of operating 70% of first- and last-mile delivery services with clean transport modes by 2025. The City Hub concept is one way in which DHL Express is contributing towards this target,” said John Pearson, CEO, DHL Express Europe.

The standardised containers used in the City Hub concept match the dimensions of a standard shipping pallet and can be transferred more easily and quickly between the different modes of transport within the DHL Express network.

This ensures additional speed and reliability in DHL’s last-mile delivery operations for documents and small packages. The pickup configuration of the StreetScooter and the Nissan e-NV200 also ensures that each of the three containers, which are securely locked, can easily be accessed from the side of the vehicle by the delivery driver.

The electric delivery vehicles will offer a higher range and capacity for deliveries over greater distances within the city. While the initial pilot in The Hague will involve electric vehicles, the company is also planning to add Cubicycles at a later date to support deliveries over shorter distances or routes with heavier congestion.

Each new vehicle or Cubicycle will replace a single standard delivery vehicle on average. Every standard delivery vehicle taken off the road by DHL Express generates an equivalent CO2 saving of over eight tons per year and a significant reduction in other emissions, claims the company.

Image credit: DHL

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