This is the greenest way to get packages home

You see them more and more in your street because of corona: vans from DHL, PostNL, DPD, UPS and all those other parcel deliverers. Sometimes several at the same time and often you see exactly the same vans again in the evening. How sustainable is home delivery? Well, home delivery is in most cases more sustainable than going to the store. The whole process can only be much more efficient and greener.

One van can stop about a hundred times a day to deliver packages. That is considerably greener than when a hundred customers go to a store to buy these products or to a parcel shop to pick up these packages. Some will go by bike, but many will also go by train, bus or car. In addition, the stores must also be stocked. The 'MIT real estate innovation lab' has investigated these emissions and last January they published their conclusion: online shopping and home delivery emit an average of 36 percent less CO2 than physical shopping. But despite the fact that home delivery appears to be the most sustainable option, all those delivery vans are still in the street. That must be smarter, right? That's right, it can.

Win in last kilometers

When we look at the complete journey from a product to the consumer, it is noticeable that the start of that journey is organized quite efficiently. Manufacturers transport products in bulk in a fully loaded truck to a distribution center in the region. There is little CO . in this part of the process2- to make a profit. That profit lies precisely in the last kilometer that the product travels to the consumer. And according to the World Economic Forum, that last kilometer currently accounts for 53 percent of the total emissions – and costs – of the entire transport.

System built for stores

To understand the shortcoming of the last kilometer, we look back in time. The entire transport ecosystem has evolved around delivering to stores. The most practical way to supply them is from a distribution center, which due to their size are typically located in a remote industrial estate. From there, roll containers or pallets full of goods are delivered to the store. An efficient process. For deliveries to stores.

Inefficient in many ways

When the demand arose to supply directly to consumers, it was organized exactly like this: in large warehouses on remote industrial estates. There the orders – a set of wrenches, a shirt, a bottle of perfume – are packed individually in boxes. After that, delivery services take the packages with them. The boxes are unloaded, sorted and taken to another sorting center. There they are sorted again, loaded back into smaller vans and the delivery services drive back and forth to the consumer, sometimes several times a day to the same address. And competing delivery services do exactly the same, even driving to the same street and address.

Smarter: last kilometer by bike

The complete transport becomes a model of efficiency by deploying local, small storage points close to the consumer, as centrally located as shops. Manufacturers and parcel services can efficiently supply these points – for example with roll containers. A bicycle courier delivers goods to your home from such a local storage point. It is almost impossible to be more sustainable and more Dutch. In addition, the supply security increases, because there are fewer links in the process, such as intermediate stops at sorting centers and parcel deliverers. As a result, the entire transport process can also be completed faster. Delivery within an hour, the same day, evening, etc. or a bundling of packages from different carriers. The bicycle courier can come at a suitable time and will never again be in front of a closed door. Delivery to the neighbors is therefore a thing of the past. A win on many fronts, but above all for the climate. Because now we can say goodbye to the many vans in the street. And a lot of packaging material, because because the many intermediate links are missing, nothing extra needs to be packed in boxes, the factory packaging is sufficient.

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