4 alternatives that reduce parcel deliveries and cut pollution

Pieter Kinds

Pieter Kinds

October 18, 2016 - 16:30

The booming E-commerce market is not showing any sign of slowing down. Interesting for manufacturers, retailers, and web-shops, but what about the parcel delivery industry and the corresponding C02 emissions?

How are we buying nowadays?

Consumers around the world are fundamentally disrupting the retail industry. Online sales in the UK, US, Germany and China will grow by £320bn between now and 2018, expanding the size of the online market to £645bn, according to research from OC&C Strategy Consultants, PayPal, and Google.

Breaking the numbers down into percentages gives an even better picture of the substantial growth of online sales. According to the Total Retail Survey 2016 ( 23,000 shoppers surveyed in 25 countries), 54% of the consumers nowadays buy products online on a weekly or monthly basis. 34% of this group stated that their mobile phone is becoming their number one purchase tool in the foreseeable future.

Small Parcel Audit: Why every company can save moneyOmnichannel: What Logistics Management should knowSmall parcel audit: invoice mistakes you can expect as a shipper

The increasing stream of packages / parcel deliveries on the road on their way home to the end-consumer are having a negative effect on the CO2 footprint of parcel shipments globally. in America for example, in 2016 consumers realized for the first time more of their purchases on the web than in stores, this according to an annual survey of more than 5,000 online shoppers by United Parcel Service Inc.

The industry is therefore forced to develop cleaner ways of delivering goods, bringing down CO2 emissions.

 CO2 neutral delivery

 We have gathered 4 great developments on the road to CO2 neutral delivery, starting with electrical vehicles. 

1. Shift towards an Electric Delivery Fleet

What if would replace all our diesel vans and trucks for a full Electric delivery fleet? This is of course not realistic, but nevertheless, it is the future. For now, there are mainly two factors holding the development back. The full shift towards electric vehicles will require large investment from delivery companies. Secondly, the issues with battery lifetime are questionable, are shippers able to use their electrical van during the complete workday?

Despite the few cons of electric vehicles, many large parcel delivery companies are investing in them. UPS recently added 200 brand-new hybrid electric delivery trucks to their fleet. UPS are one of the leading companies worldwide in the race towards an alternative fuel fleet. 

The implementation of electric vehicles appears to be, on short-term, the most relevant investment for (large) parcel delivery companies.  

UPS: 50% of business is now retail e-commerce

2. Use other, alternative delivery systems

While media are heavily speculating about robots and drones being the answer to home deliveries in the future, many companies are already investing in drones and robots. German retailing and delivery powerhouse Hermes are currently testing out the use of a new delivery robot, developed by Estonian-British company Starship. The robot will soon be used by electronics chain Media Markt in the district of Grafenberg in Düsseldorf. The German retailer will use the robots to deliver packages right up to the door of customers within a five-kilometre radius, starting Q4 of 2016.

Drugs via Drone Delivery – A Viable Solution?E-commerce in Europe: Parcel delivery Prices

3. Cargo sharing

In the logistics industry, there are currently many start-ups experimenting with solutions that reduce CO2-emmisions. One of these initiatives comes from The Netherlands, where Trunkrs is trying to develop a cargo sharing approach. 

The idea is pretty simple and perhaps just as effective: People commuting pick up a pre-selected amount of parcels at a gas station on their way home. These packages are then delivered to people on the regular route. The challenge of cargo sharing lies in managing the big amount of individuals involved in commuter traffic, but the idea is there.

 

4. Increase pick-up points 

Consumers have the option of picking up their order at so-called pickup points. We see that more and more companies are making use of central points in cities where they place special parcel lockers (for example UPS access points).

Pick-up points show great potential. The lockers have improved delivery fulfillment processes for retailers and consumers. It has made last-mile fulfillment a more pleasant experience for the end-customer, especially when looking at same day delivery. Same-day delivery enables you to order a package from work in the morning and return home to find it waiting for you in the evening. No one who chooses same-day delivery wants to come home to find the office is closed and their package cannot be retrieved. With the locker you have full flexibility and control. You order when you want, you pick up when you can.

A good example of a well-functioning pickup system is the collaboration of Dutch supermarket Albert Heijn and webshop Bol.com. Both companies are owned by Ahold, and Dutch consumers are able to order online (Bol.com), and pick up their products in one of the Albert Heijn branches, right after the grocery shopping is done. Effective, fast and very, very sustainable!

About ControlPay Global Freight Audit & Payment
 
ControlPay is Europe's largest freight audit and payment company, active over 13 years in the industry. Our head office is based in The Netherlands. Next to our EMEA and global freight invoice auditing solutions, we offer a cloud-based Freight tendering tool, Rate Calculator, and extensive Business Intelligence suite to get the most our of your logistics data. If you have any remarks, questions, please do not hesitate to contact us via the Contact page on our website. We hope you enjoyed our blog. For more logistics insights, join our global Linkedin group, or subscribe to our logistics content hub!

We leave you with three interesting E-commerce reports, straight from our hub.

Parcel Delivery - The future of last mile - 2016E-Commerce and the future of Global LogisticsGermany Mobile Retail Trends 2015