The logistics industry plays a crucial role in delivering goods to consumers and businesses, but it also has a significant impact on the environment. According to a report by the International Transport Forum, freight transport accounts for around 7% of global CO2 emissions. With the rise of e-commerce and the increasing demand for faster and more convenient delivery options, the logistics industry faces the challenge of reducing its emissions while still meeting customer expectations.
At Ryde, we think the solution lies in industry collaboration - all the players must improve collaboration to collectively achieve our sustainability goals and reduce emissions. We are focused on providing compelling solutions to this problem and partnering with companies that are passionate about driving change and making a difference.
Bundling packages to reduce the number of deliveries
One of the main reasons the logistics industry generates so many emissions is the high number of deliveries that need to be made. However, we know this can be reduced by bundling packages and optimising delivery routes.
By grouping multiple parcels destined for the same area or building, logistics companies can reduce the number of vehicles on the road and the distance travelled. This not only reduces emissions but also lowers costs for logistics providers. Using vehicles with larger capacities, such as electric cargo bikes, paired with our route optimisation technology, we realised how valuable bundling packages can be.
Reducing the distance a parcel travels
Another way to reduce emissions is to shorten the distance a parcel travels. This can be achieved by using local warehouses or micro-distribution centres, which are closer to the end customers.
By doing so, logistics providers can reduce the distance travelled by their vehicles, which in turn reduces emissions. Furthermore, this approach can also lead to faster and more efficient deliveries, as parcels don't have to travel far to reach their destinations.
Investing in and using e-vehicles
Investing in electric vehicles (EVs) is one of the most effective ways to reduce emissions in the logistics industry. EVs produce zero emissions and are becoming increasingly cost-effective as battery technology improves. Ryde’s fleet of electric cargo bikes, e-bikes, and e-scooters has proved both popular and extremely efficient. Logistics companies can also benefit from reduced fuel costs and lower maintenance costs from EVs, as they have fewer moving parts than traditional combustion engine vehicles.
While there are upfront costs, like spend on the vehicle and investing in the necessary charging infrastructure, savings come with time. Many of the major logistics players already have the space to support these localised EV fleets, but by working together, and with innovative startups, companies can share infrastructure to accelerate the adoption and effectiveness of EVs.
Collaboration with local Governments and Councils
Collaboration between logistics companies and local government is crucial in achieving sustainable delivery strategies. Together they can work to identify areas of high demand for goods and services and develop location-specific delivery strategies that reduce the distance that packages travel.
It could also involve incentivising or subsidising the use of low-emission vehicles and sustainable delivery methods such as bicycle and electric vehicle deliveries. The implementation of cycling lanes and safe cycling routes could also encourage the adoption of active travel, reducing both emissions and traffic congestion. It’s important for companies to remain close to changing legislation on EVs and monitor how best they can navigate a city, and its rules, safely.
Finding sustainable solutions to deliver more with less
We must work together to find innovative and sustainable solutions to deliver more goods with fewer emissions. Consumer behaviour is only increasing the number of parcels delivered and customers are expecting faster and faster deliveries.
There are many innovative start-ups in the industry developing sustainable solutions. Ryde works with 3PLs to optimise deliveries and provide dynamic workforcing, increasing productivity and reducing cost per drop. We have also invested in a growing fleet of e-vehicles to support last-mile delivery. They are now used by multiple companies, empowering them to complete more deliveries with fewer of those vehicles.
The UK is currently exploring the use of drones and has announced plans to build a 164-mile automated superhighway, known as the Skyway project, to enable drone deliveries. Autonomous vehicles are also being explored for last-mile delivery in urban areas, where traffic congestion and air pollution are significant challenges. Companies can also experiment with new packaging materials that are more environmentally friendly or adopt circular economy principles to reduce waste.
The logistics industry faces significant challenges in reducing its emissions, but there are also opportunities for innovation and collaboration. By working together with progressive start-ups, big players in the industry such as Royal Mail, DPD, and Amazon can achieve their sustainability goals and create a healthier future for all. By bundling packages, reducing the distance travelled, investing in and using e-vehicles, collaborating with governments, and finding sustainable solutions, the logistics industry can deliver more with less.