DHL pilots bicycle ‘City Hub’

Express delivery company DHL Express says that it is piloting a new City Hub concept that should anable the increased use of bicycles for deliveries around inner cities.

Under the concept the ‘City Hub’ is a special trailer that can carry up to four containers for the DHL Cubicycle system. A DHL van delivers the City Hub trailer to the city centre where the containers are loaded onto two Cubicycles for the last mile delivery. The trailer can be reloaded for outbound deliveries as well.

DHL say that each City Hub trailer will be able to replace up to two standard delivery vehicles, saving up to sixteen tonnes of carbon a year and a significant reduction in other emissions such as NO2.

The delivery company has begun piloting the City Hub concept in Frankfurt and in Utrecht in the Netherlands. Utrecht has announced it plans to be climate-neutral by 2030.

“DHL Express has already replaced up to 60% of inner-city vehicle routes in some European countries with cargo bicycles, and we expect that the City Hub and Cubicycle will both help us to accelerate this approach in other markets over the next 3-5 years,” said John Pearson, CEO, DHL Express Europe.

“Bicycles offer a number of advantages in express delivery operations: they can bypass traffic congestion and make up to two times as many stops per hour than a delivery vehicle. The total cost of ownership over their lifetime is less than half of a van. And crucially, they generate zero emissions, which reinforces our own ongoing program to minimize our environmental footprint and supports city governments’ efforts to promote sustainable city living.”

The removable containers are secure and waterproof, and offer a large volume while not impairing the view of other cyclists. They can be equipped with GPS or Internet of Things transmitters, to facilitate real-time shipment tracking and to ensure they can be monitored for security purposes, and they are self-powered through the use of solar panels.  
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