Hermes and Ford explore van micro-hub concept

Delivery company Hermes UK and Ford are to extend their pilot looking at improving the sustainability of the courier’s deliveries.

The partnership uses Ford’s MoDe:Link routing and logistics software to determine where delivery vans can park so more deliveries can safely be made on foot with the van an effective micro-hub. Couriers then use a smartphone app to determine the most economical routes and itinerary for the final mile deliveries. It also updates Hermes real-time parcel tracking systems.

The pilot is currently being done in Central London but is to be extended to new areas and regions. “Being smarter about how we deliver parcels in the future will enable carriers to operate more sustainably and efficiently – while delivering a better experience for customers,” said Tom Thompson, project lead, Ford Mobility. “Our trials with Hermes have shown how multi-modal deliveries can be scalable and effective, even during peak times of the year.”

The pilot started in September 2020 and ran through the peak season. Two vans were deployed with eight delivery personnel working out of the vans, and it emerged that the two vans did the same amount of deliveries that six would on Hermes’ current system.

“We are exploring new delivery initiatives that can reduce emissions for the final-mile delivery as part of our commitment to sustainability, and to also be prepared for further incoming legislation in cities, such as ultra-low emission zones,” said Carl Lyon, COO at Hermes UK.

“In addition, this operating model is easy to scale up to meet the increasing demand for home delivery and opens up the courier work for a whole new workforce who no longer need to drive or own a vehicle.”