Most haulage companies understand the importance of flexibility. On top of the standard pressures businesses face, like keeping costs low, the transport sector also deals with a fast-changing regulatory environment, spurred on by ecological concerns.
There are few places where this is more evident than in London. Over the next few years, the UK capital aims to bring in some game changing measures. But, don’t worry, it’s not all doom and gloom. Top delivery firm DPD is already working well with Transport for London (TfL), pointing a way forwards for the logistics industry.
London is fast approaching ‘megacity’ status, with its population climbing towards ten million. At the same time, growing worries over pollution and health issues are leading city authorities to seek to make major changes.
They are aiming to meet the challenge with the ambitious Freight and Services Action Plan, which they hope will pave a way for haulage companies to meet logistics needs while still decreasing the number of freight vehicles entering the city centre by 10% over the next six years.
Reducing emissions in the centre through the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ)
Expanding click and collect sites and establishing new distribution centres
Encouraging residents to use more sustainable delivery options
Happily, many haulage companies have signalled their readiness to embrace these changes. DPD’s chief operating officer Justin Pegg, for instance, was clear about this, saying ‘we fully support the plans outlined by the Mayor and TfL’ and noting that his company’s fleet already meets the ULEZ standard.
In October 2018, DPD also opened the country’s first all-electric parcel depot in Westminster, using two 7.5-tonne electric FUSO eCanters and a fleet of electric vans and small vehicles to ensure emission-free deliveries over a two square-mile radius.
The company has already invested £500,000 in the site, and Pegg stressed that DPD is ‘looking to go further’, with measures, including an all electric fleet and further micro-depots around the city. Another has already opened in Shoreditch.
Of course, there are still plenty of challenges to be overcome, with Pegg noting ‘infrastructure upgrades, site availability’ and ‘getting enough vehicles fast enough’ to cover all of Central London as major issues.
Still, the progress already made should be encouraging to UK haulage companies. Indeed, Pegg was optimistic about the future, noting that ‘by working in partnership with TFL, landlords and the other major stakeholders, we are well on the way to making deliveries more sustainable and safer.’
Crucially, DPD wants to do more than meet minimum standards, with Pegg saying the reforms were about making every aspect of their core business ‘more sustainable’.
Challenges are significant, then, but the industry can take heart from DPD’s example and prepare to work well with TfL and other city authorities moving forwards.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage companies with jobs in road transport and haulage work, and is now the fastest growing Freight Exchange in the UK.
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