Smart Transport

Royal Mail cuts mileage by a third in last mile delivery trial

Royal Mail has trialled new software from Ford in the Manchester area that has helped cut vehicle mileage by a third (33%).

Royal Mail wanted to examine whether multi-modal delivery using Ford’s routing software could help it increase its foot-based deliveries of larger parcels in urban areas.

The app-based service uses Ford’s Mode:Link multi-modal routing and logistics software to coordinate traditional delivery vans with pedestrian couriers, identifying safe locations for drivers to park within walking distance of multiple delivery addresses.

From there, the final leg of the journey is completed on foot as couriers collect parcels and make deliveries to a mix of high-rise, business and residential buildings.

Tom Thompson, founder of Last Mile Delivery at Ford Mobility, said: “As we enter the busiest and most magical time of year for parcels, we are delighted to see the results of this trial prove the value of delivery on foot and the effectiveness of Ford's software in making city centres cleaner, greener and safer.”

In this latest trial, Ford’s software helped Royal Mail to use fewer vans and enabled several posties to make deliveries with one vehicle supporting them.

Using Ford’s software, Mode:Link, the smartphone app provided the location of the van and showed the most efficient routes to deliver the parcels in specially built parcel trolleys,

The process, says Royal Mail, resulted in fast and efficient deliveries, while maintaining human interaction at the point of delivery.

Van usage for the delivery routes involved decreased by 50%, while daily vehicle mileage decreased by 33%, resulting in a reduction in CO2e emissions per parcel.

The trial took place in the M4 postcode area of the city and is important for the delivery firm given the introduction of Manchester's clean air zone (CAZ) next year, with daily van charges coming into effect from 2023. 

Achim Dunnwald, chief operating officer at Royal Mail, explained that Ford's software had enabled it to reduce van usage and mileage, while still offering a "prompt and reliable" service.

“We are continuously looking at opportunities to reduce our emissions, alongside delivering convenience to our customers,” he added. 

Royal Mail is exploring a range of initiatives, including the use of micro electric vehicles and drones for delivery to remote locations, to use fewer vans in its network.

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