E-commerce deliveries make UK road traffic numbers surge

More vehicles than ever are using the UK’s roads, and much of this has been due to the rapid growth in delivery vehicles on e-commerce delivery runs.

The Department for Transport (DfT) announced yesterday: “The provisional figure of 317.8bn vehicle miles travelled on GB roads in 2015 is the highest rolling annual total ever and 1.1% higher than the pre-recession peak in the year ending September 2007. Rolling annual motor vehicle traffic has increased for the eleventh quarter in succession.”

The DfT added: “Van traffic continued to rise faster than any other vehicle type, increasing by 6.1% to a new peak of 47.7bn vehicle miles.”

One of the ways of tackling this growth may well be by encouraging click & collect services but so far few politicians have got beyond calling for it – no government action seems to even have been thought of let alone proposed. The new figures suggest that congestion may lead to ideas of the kind being suggested soon, something all delivery companies would wish to avoid.

Luke Davids, the CEO of e-commerce platform Parcel for Me, said that the growth in traffic illustrate the need to take advantage of solutions to reduce the strain on the country’s infrastructure brought about by e-commerce. “The growing number of orders placed online have to be fulfilled but that process has enormous consequences for consumers, parcel firms, the retailers they serve and, of course, the environment – both in terms of the volume of delivery traffic and the carbon footprint which that generates,” said Davids.

“It underlines the importance of capitalising on alternative methods to alleviate the impact of single package home deliveries which aren’t being delivered on the first attempt, due to the consumer not being able to be in control of the type of delivery they need.

“The varied ‘click and collect’ infrastructure now available provides a more flexible collection than consignments shipped directly to people’s homes and is more efficient for the carriers, especially when it comes to failed or ‘carded’ deliveries, which account for as much as one-eighth of all their deliveries.

“Having carriers able to make consolidated deliveries to pick-up and drop-off points, for instance, saves a tremendous amount of time and effort and limits the number of miles needing to be travelled.

“Allowing retailers to put a broad array of such services before their customers to complement home deliveries is one of the key elements of Parcel for Me’s appeal and is one reason why so many businesses – large and small – have expressed interest in the short time since we launched.”

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