DHL has begun shipping parcels in London using the river Thames, bringing a sustainability idea pioneered in Amsterdam and Venice to the UK.
Operated by Thames Clippers, the service will see parcels loaded from electric vehicles onto the riverboat at Wandsworth Riverside Quarter Pier.
The boat will then ferry the parcels to Bankside Pier in central London, from where DHL couriers on bicycles will deliver them to customers’ homes. The service will run every day at 7.30.
Ian Wilson, chief executive for UK and Ireland, DHL Express said: “With heavy traffic and poor air quality becoming an increasing problem in urban areas like London, we’re committed to finding a better blend of transport. This new and unique service, combining electric vehicles, riverboat and last-mile bikes creates fast and efficient access across the capital.”
Sean Collins, CEO of Thames Clippers said: “The river is a widely under-used natural source of transportation and as we have demonstrated over the last 21 years with our passenger services, the river has opportunity to innovate and evolve – this new high-speed parcel delivery service is a great example of this. As a business we strive to maximise the uses of the river as a mode of transport and will continue to reduce congestion on London’s roads.”
A similar service is already operational in the Netherlands’ Amsterdam and Italy’s Venice, both of which are built around canal networks.
DHL wants to solve the challenge of increasing numbers of people living in cities and ordering more and more online. As this increases pressure on traffic levels in the city and increases pollution, regulators have been looking at introducing low emission zones and other initiatives to try and curb the environmental impact.
The company wants to achieve a reduction of all logistics-related emissions to zero by the year 2050 as part of its GoGreen initiative.