Wednesday May 22, 2024

DPD UK fast tracks all-electric city delivery initiative by two years

DPD UK delivers by electric cargo bike
DPD UK delivers by electric cargo bike

DPD UK is accelerating plans for all-electric delivery in 25 of the largest towns and cities in the UK by two years and has revealed it will roll out lockers for delivery by the end of 2022.

The announcements were made by CEO Elaine Kerr at The Delivery Conference 2022 (TDC 2022), which was held yesterday (February 8) in a virtual format. The Metapack event brought together around 1,500 people from 70 countries to discuss the future of e-commerce delivery.

“Sustainable delivery leader”

DPD UK originally announced its plans for 25 all-electric cities by 2025 at the end of 2020. The company will now achieve this goal by 2023 – a full two years ahead of schedule, as it continues to work toward being “the UK leader in sustainable delivery”.

The plans are part of a drive by DPDgroup involving low emission delivery in 225 urban areas across Europe by 2025. The initiative, called Vision 25, was implemented following trials with all-electric micro depots in London, which were first introduced in 2018.

Speaking during the ‘Pathways to Sustainable Delivery’ session at TDC 2022, Kerr said: “We have already launched nine all-electric cities in the UK. Oxford became our first all-electric city in July 2021 and now we plan to accelerate this initiative to be all-electric in 25 cities by 2023. We know how important sustainable delivery is for both our customers and consumers and that is why we have brought these ambitious plans forward by a full two years.”

Kerr noted that nine more cities, including Liverpool and Leeds, will be all-electric by the end of this year, with the remaining seven going electric by the end of 2023. At this point 40% of DPD UK’s fleet will be electric.

Going all-electric

In 2021, DPD UK delivered 17 million parcels using its all-electric fleet and has so far delivered more than 1.8 million parcels using EVs in 2022. DPD UK plans to have more than 5,000 EVs on fleet by the end of 2023.

In Oxford, the carrier’s first all-electric city, all parcel deliveries are made from DPD’s 60,000 sq ft Bicester eco-depot, which is the company’s first ‘net zero carbon in construction building’, as regulated by the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC). The depot has a fleet of 40 electric vehicles, which deliver over 15,000 parcels a week across the city.

Once fully rolled out, the 25 cities by 2023 plan will deliver 42,000 tons of CO2 savings for the UK, or the equivalent of planting 170,000 trees. For DPD in Europe, once all 225 cities transition to all-electric delivery, more than 260 million parcels or 17% of the group’s volumes will be delivered by zero or low-emission vehicles by the end of 2025, with CO2 emissions decreasing by 89% and pollutants by 80%, compared to 2020 in the targeted towns and cities.

The news follows DPD UK’s acquisition of same-day distribution company, CitySprint, which like DPD has ambitious sustainability targets. CitySprint is investing heavily in zero emission vehicles, including cargo bikes and electric vans, to hit the company target of being carbon-neutral by the end of 2023.    

Lockers for Out-of-home delivery

Kerr also announced at TDC 2022 that DPD UK plans to roll out locker deliveries this year as it aims to give consumers “more choice on where they have their parcels delivered to”. However, she did not provide any further details about the scale of the rollout or which locker company DPD would partner with.

Expanding its out-of-home delivery options has been a big focus for DPD UK over the past few years. In August last year, for example, the company announced a historic deal as the first private parcel carrier to offer a Post Office ‘click & collect’ service alongside Royal Mail. The click and collect partnership with the Post Office expands DPD UK’s DPD Pickup network, which now has around 6,000 locations in the UK.

Speaking during TDC 2022, Kerr said: “UK consumers are still very much demanding home delivery, but as more focus is put on sustainability this is shifting. Therefore, we need to offer delivery choices and introduce greener ways to deliver. We see out-of-home delivery being a key part of our green strategy.”

Consumer demand for sustainability

According to Metapack’s Ecommerce Delivery Benchmark Report 2022, which was released during TDC 2022, around three quarters (74.4%) of online shoppers would consider measures to make deliveries more sustainable, however few are willing to pay for it (9.2%). When thinking about making online deliveries more sustainable, these shoppers are in favour of accepting longer delivery times and switching to out of home delivery, rather than paying extra to offset emissions.

“We have never charged for sustainable deliveries, and we don’t ever plan to pass that cost on to our customers,” said Kerr. “But we do need to offer choice. We plan to accelerate sustainability and do more in the areas of the electrification of our delivery fleet, the use of alternative power for our line haul fleet and use more renewable energy sources for electricity.

“We aim to be the UK leader in sustainable delivery,” Kerr continued. “We need to act and make changes now and invest for a sustainable future. We are 100% committed as a business to make this happen.”

SourceCEP-Research, DPD UK, Metapack

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